DQ’d for headphones? Why you should practice running with no music.

Happy Monday to ya! I trust y’all had a fabulous weekend and were able to get outside and play for a bit. We had to do most of our playing on Sunday since it rained again on Saturday. The rain has been insufferable this year but it came to a head when our roof started leaking. I seriously almost lost my shit. The rain and the roof coupled with having to cut my run short on Saturday almost sent me over the edge.

im going crazy

No, no more, I can’t take anymore!

In case you’re wondering why it is that I had to cut my run short on Saturday, it wasn’t because I was running outside. I had to cut my run short because MacGyver was tinkering. We recently replaced the belt on my treadmill after I shredded the old one and MacGyver hasn’t quit messing with it since that time.


No MacGyver, it is not! Step away from the treadmill or you will die!

Do you know how hard it is to run on a treadmill while your husband is adjusting the belt directly behind you? No? Well, let me put it to you this way, IT SUCKS!  Anyway, I did manage to get in 6 pretty slow and comfortable miles on Sunday so it was all good and the weekend wasn’t a wash.

I woke up this morning determined to get in the 5 miles that I had planned. I am trying to slowly build up my weekly mileage and I’m close to picking some races for the fall and winter, so I’m sucking it up and getting it done. No excuses. Of course what happened this morning the second I stepped on the treadmill? My iPod would not turn on! Dammit!

running without music
Bet you think I took a rest day, but I didn’t. I just ran with no music, no big deal. But it got me thinking about all the times when I wouldn’t run because I didn’t have music. Yep, that happened. Up until 3 or 4 years ago, if I didn’t have music, I just could not run. Wouldn’t do it, period.

A funny thing happens when you unplug, you realize that you like it. The sound of your breathing that used to irritate you becomes sort of soothing, sort of. Being able to hear everything going on around you is good too, especially if someone is yelling at you because you’re about to run in front of a car, that’s always nice to be able to hear. So are the wild animal warnings and the ‘coming up on your left’ warning of the bikers on the running path, actually most of the time, that’s the same warning….I kid, I kid.

I actually started running without music when I signed up for a marathon and headphones were strictly banned, meaning, if you wore them, you’d be disqualified. You may think that the rule is stupid, or you may not, but the reality of it is, it happens to be in the rules of a lot of marathon and half marathons.

It didn’t make sense to me to put in months of training only to risk disqualification so I decided to learn how to run without music.  And if you think the rule is never enforced, you’d be wrong. The Napa Valley Marathon is one in which they WILL disqualify you if you wear headphones and they have done it.  Just google dq’d for running with headphones and you’ll see.

There are my tips for running without music:

Brainstorm. When I run without music I like to think about ideas for blog post. I try to get into the moment of the run and notice everything that is happening around me which helps me come up with ideas for my posts. Where do you think this one came from?

Think of solutions to problems. I once spent 2 hours thinking of a solution to a certain issue I was having with a client. I had 6 miles on my agenda and I ended up running just over 12! I had absolutely no idea that I ran that far or that my pace was as good as it was. I will always remember that long run as one of my favorites and I came up with a solution to my problem.

Not the solitary type? Run with a friend. Running with someone else is fun and it’s always nice to have someone to talk to. And the benefit of going on a long run with a friend is that you’ll be forced to run at a conversation pace and that’s what you should do on a long run.

Focus on your running. I use the no music runs to work on my cadence and my form. It helps to have nothing to distract me and I find it extremely helpful.

Distract yourself. If focusing on your run or trying to solve problems doesn’t work for you, distract yourself. Think about your environment and all the things in it. I play games like ‘what does he do for a living’ where I try to guess a person’s job as I pass them, unless it’s a construction worker or a policeman because that would be cheating. I also play ‘how many people will I pass’ were I try to guess the amount of people I will pass in total during my run or the ‘how many dogs will I see’ guessing game. I’m sure you get the point, just have fun with it.

Well, that’s all I got for the day. I need to get to work. I’ve got myself an assistant today and he’s making it real easy to sit in my chair and get some work done, at least until he gets ready for another walk.

Mommy and Hankers

Shhhh, baby sleeping.

Do you like to run without music?
Do you have any tips for running without music?
Have you or someone you know ever been disqualified for running with headphones?

16 thoughts on “DQ’d for headphones? Why you should practice running with no music.

  1. When I moved to California, headphones were banned from all the races I ran, so i gave it up cold turkey. Now I live in MA and everyone thinks I’m crazy. For reals though, now running provides a perfect opportunity for me to think, sort, organize, problem solve, and reflect.

  2. I definitely prefer to run with music or podcasts. It’s funny because when my husband runs with me, he’s usually out on a long run with me (18 or more miles) so I don’t have my headphones in. Unfortunately, as married people who see each other on a regular basis, we don’t have a whole lot to talk about and there is a lot of silence!! Not quite the same as running with my friends. I love that he runs with me, but he needs to learn how to make chit chat 🙂

    • Yes, men are pretty bad at chit chatting. I go for bike rides with my husband sometimes, (he doesn’t run), but if I want to talk to him I have to catch him and he rides like a bat out of hell. I’m just not that ambitious on the bike ergo silence. LOL

  3. I can’t run without music. I hate hearing my breathing or my feet hitting the pavement. I need the music to zone out
    If I were to run with someone I could not listen to music.

  4. It has been a long time since I used to run religiously (bad knees, etc), but it was in the day when music required a huge cd player so I ran without. I used to find a catchy mantra or poem that talked to me and had a good rhythm and try to memorize it as I went. Read a bit before and just repeat the bits I remembered until adding on the next time. Probably sounds weird but really worked for me. The one that spoke to me the most & helped get in the zone was a 14th century Samurai piece http://www.stuartwilde.com/2013/03/a-warriors-creed/

    • It’s not weird at all, I think it’s genius and holy heck do I love that Samurai piece. Thanks for sharing, now I know what I’ll be adding to my running this week. 🙂

  5. I never run with music – mostly because I need to listen for bears and moose while I’m out there! But I find that it gets me more excited to run in nature because I can hear the creek or the ocean, I can hear myself breathing, and I can hear wildlife around me. It’s so relaxing and helps me unplug after a tough day at work! I like your game ideas and might need to try some of those out on my next run!

  6. When I’m running outside with the girls in the stroller I don’t wear headphones, but I usually still have music playing. I’ve only ran without music a handful of times and I actually enjoy it. It’s peaceful, but my mind is brainstorming and I wish I had pen and paper to write down some thoughts. lol

    • That’s me too, I need to write stuff down. One time I scribbled green sharpie notes all up and down my arm. (I actually found it in my rain jacket.) Unfortunately because it was in my rain jacket, it was also raining, and I looked like I tried to give myself a green tan by the time I got home. Yeah, it’s better for me if I hyper focus on one thing, it solves all sorts of problems. P.S. A mixture of hydrogen peroxide, vinegar and blue dawn will remove anything, including green sharpie! LOL

  7. I run probably half my runs with head phones and the other half without. I always have head phones on at the gym, because well at 5:00am I am anti-social and all the old guys want to talk, and frankly I don’t care to! I’ve even left them in my ears without music going until I am out of their sight just to avoid talking. Anti-social, maybe…just a b*itch, probably! lol

  8. Interesting. I’ve never run with headphone mainly because I’m terrified of either getting run over or getting kidnapped. There’s a local race here on trails that really needs to disqualify headphones. Every year at least one person gets lost because they were too focused on the music to pay attention!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *