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The Pros of Running without Music

According to a Runner’s World survey back in 2016, as many as 61% of runners listen to music on the go, a fact that we can almost guarantee has increased since as more of us have invested in smartphones that provide music libraries we can take anywhere. 

Girl with headphones on

Unfortunately, the jury is still out on whether or not music and running are a good pair, especially as the majority of pros find that they’re better able to tap into the benefits of running when they ditch the headphones. To uncover the mystery of why that is, we’re going to take a quick look at just a few of the benefits that runners quickly feel when they leave music at home.

Less risk of injury

At the very least, high volume music played through earphones for extended periods (i.e. on your daily hour-long run) has been proven to cause damage to our hearing. Meanwhile, the inability to hear what’s going on around us can leave us at risk when running on roads or even isolated areas. Unfortunately, having to take time out to either read up on hearing test faqs prior to an appointment or wait for an accident-based injury to heal, can leave us off our legs for far longer than most of us would like. This will largely take training back to square one, and is something that we can at least try to avoid by leaving the earphones at home at least some of the time.

More impactful mindfulness

Far from being a mere tool with which to reach your fitness goals, the mindfulness of running offers a whole load of benefits that make it a fantastic way to keep mental health in check. Of course, there is an argument that getting stuck into your favorite tracks can provide the escape that you’re looking for, but filling even this peaceful time with noise can also hinder the true benefits on offer. The fact that mindful running should especially center around an awareness of our surroundings and a better understanding of our bodies especially highlights the need to scrap the music mask and instead enter a calmer mindset every time we head out.

Keeping resources where you need them

When we run, we draw on a whole load of bodily resources, including breathing, pacing, and so on. While music might make you feel like you’ve got more of a spring in your step, it runs the risk of confusing a lot of those resources to keep their benefits off the table. Breathing, for instance, can run all over the place if your mind’s elsewhere thinking about the memories you associate with a song while pacing that changes with the beat of every track is guaranteed to leave you struggling. This, in turn, can result in less effective sessions that harm rather than help your stamina overall.

To test whether music is running away with you, put these theories under the magnifying glass by leaving the music at home for your next run. You might just be surprised by the results. 


Carola Jain

Wednesday 3rd of August 2022

While music helps us stay engaged in what we do, I can definitely see why running without music can be of help. Great insight.