19 December 2014


I struggle to run without music. Swimming, weights, cycling - all 100% I can do without music. But running? That's where I struggle. Quite a bit in fact. As soon as I even think about heading out the door for a run I need to know where my headphones are.

The truth is that I love running to music. It can help me keep pace, know how long I've been running for, and my biggest reason? I find it very motivating for me. Certain songs can really help me keep going, speed up and get me up the tough hills. But, for my big challenge next year I can't use music.  Not even one. tiny. song. (Although I think I may find myself singing at one point)... It'll just be me, my environment and my brain together. A mental battle which I'm preparing myself to dive into.

Not only do I need to get used to running without music due to not being able to race with it but also to learn about my breathing and working on my pace with it. Sometimes running with music can have a negative effect. If you listen to a high tempo song, yes it can increase your pace and motivate you but, it can also affect your heart rate and equally your breathing. This quickened heart rate means your breaths can soon speed up making you breathe quicker and shallower. Sometimes deeper breaths can really help you keep going for longer and also mean you're not panic breathing to bring oxygen in. So getting rid of the upbeat music can help maintain a more balanced and steady pace of breathing. Without the music it also means you have the ability to listen to you breaths and react accordingly, perhaps slowing it down if it's too quick. Much like when I swim I can count my breaths to my strides focusing on my pace.

Personally, I find I have to mix my workout playlists up a lot or change the order around, especially for long runs. Otherwise, halfway through a playlist I suddenly realise how much longer I've got to go and it can either motivated me if I'm having a good run or can also become rapidly demotivating as I think of how much further I have left to go. Turning off the music also makes you more aware of your surroundings. You're awakening your senses with the stimuli that are around you, those of which may have been previously blocked out by the music in your ears.

I'm hoping to get a GPS sports watch in the next couple of months. I've got my eye on a couple of different ones including the TomTom Multisport GPS watch as well as the Suunto Ambit 3 - both of which look great for triathlon training. I think this will definitely help me to just get out the door and run without worrying about my music as the watch records my workout, rather than my phone (which I use both for music & record keeping with the Nike+ Running App). I'm looking forward to simply putting my trainers on and heading out the door with just my watch. And one extra bonus of no music? No tangled headphones or ear buds falling out on me!

If anyone has any recommendations on sports watches or any reviews let me know @afloralcrown on Twitter. Also, what are your thoughts on running/working out without music? Do you find yourself relying on it too much or are you better off working out without that motivation in your ears?

I'm posting everyday as part of my 24 days of Christmas Fitness. Make sure to check back each day for a new post all the way up until Christmas Day !