Rock My Run Blog

Exercise, Music, Data and the Awesome Combination of the Three

10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

I’m fed up with people that hate on those of us who enjoy running with music.

So, I created a manifesto for the music listening runner. A set of beliefs that those of us who enjoy our music while running share and governs our behavior.

Just so you know where I’m coming from, my discovery of the this dislike for us began as a result of a lot of the research I did as one of the founders of Rock My Run into what makes runners tick and what running music would best help them perform.  Between hours and hours of interviews and extensive online research, one of the things I discovered is what many of you probably already know: There is a split between those who listen to music while they run and those who don’t.

What came to light is that there seems to be some harshly negative views of those that like or even love music while they run. I’ve heard people condemn runners that listen to music as disrespectful, clueless and even question their dedication to the sport.

I’ll admit that this frustrates and annoys me.  While we have all dealt with clueless people on a race course or out running in the streets, I don’t believe that this is related to whether or not they are listening to music. I believe that there are clueless people independent of their music listening habits.  I believe that those that are rude on a course don’t represent me and my ability to run with headphones.

Once I started thinking about all this I realized that us runners that listen to music need a manifesto; a set of beliefs and principles that define us as a community and can help dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about who we are, why we love our music, and our ability to perform.

From there the idea of being a “Run Rocker” started.  However I realized that “rocking a run” meant more than just the combination of running and music – it was about passion, excitement and enjoyment.  It’s about the joy that comes from completing a goal, from performing well and overcoming obstacles.

So with that said here is my first stab at a manifesto for Run Rockers everywhere.  See if you agree with me.

Music listening runners, unite!

  • I can run with music and still be considered an excellent runner
  • I will at times unabashedly pump my fist to the beat of the music while I’m running if I’m really feeling a song. After all we’re supposed to have a good time with this, right?
  • I can run with music and still pay attention to my surroundings. Not only am I’m talented like that, I’m also smart enough not to crank my volume in the wrong surroundings. Sometimes I will run only with one earphone in if that’s what the situation calls for.
  • I am not ashamed to admit music can affect me emotionally.  The right song at the right time can make me happy, nostalgic, help me power through a hill or focus on maintaining my pace
  • Believe it or not, it is absolutely possible to listen to my body AND my music at the same time.  I can rock to a hot mix and determine if that soreness in my hamstrings is an injury or just some lactic acid I need to work through
  • I believe that “rocking a run” means not just listening to music while running but giving my best effort during every workout, every training run and every race.
  • I believe that while I enjoy running with music, it is not my crutch.  If my iPod dies during a workout or if a race bans music players I can still compete and give it my best.  I just may not like the sound of my own panting.
  • I believe that talking during long runs is ok, but don’t get offended if I turn on my music for a bit.  Sometimes I just want to zone out and rock with my tunes.
  • Treadmills are bad enough as they are.  My music helps me tune out that person next to me talking on their cell phone at the gym (note: there is no “Cellphone Run Talkers” manifesto for good reason :))
  • I am proud to be a run rocker because it means I am taking on new challenges, stretching myself and becoming a better me.

What about you? Are there other beliefs that should be added to this list or taken away? What do you think?

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5 thoughts on “10 Beliefs About Running with Music – A Manifesto

  1. Usually when I’m on the road, especially where I live, I do like running without music because I love the sound of my heart pounding in my ears, my feet hitting the deck, and the sounds of possible crazy drivers approaching a stop sign intersection. Haha. All kidding aside, I just don’t like carrying my headphones around, just the feeling of extra baggage out in the open bothers me. However, I LOVE blasting music in my house on the treadmill. Set up the Bose system, and blast my way through a tempo workout on the treadmill. Totally enhanced run indoors 8 D.

  2. I’m with you CharTruth – you have to be careful when running with music on the roads! Sometimes I’ll just use one headphone so I can make sure I’m rocking with one ear but listening for squealing brakes with the other 🙂

    I will say for me it’s all about getting the right headphones. Once I found a solid pair, it’s made things much much easier for me. I’m thinking about taking the plunge and getting some wireless/bluetooth ones so then there’s no cord to worry about!

    You’ll have to let us know how some of these mixes sound on a sweet Bose system 🙂

  3. Just My Though on said:

    In last month’s Air Force marathon, a walker didn’t move although I warned her I was coming up. We bumped just a little bit, nothing out of the ordinary. I could hear her music clearly as I passed. She was wearing both headphones. Not only did she yell at me, she continued to yell and me and then topped it off by telling me that I needed to slow down. Granted, she was an idiot with or without the headphones, but the whole thing could have been averted if her music wasn’t so loud that she couldn’t hear me. That’s what gives headphones a bad rap. I run without and don’t like the distraction of the music. At a race, I love the spectators. If you want music, that’s fine with me. But if you can’t hear anything, you present a possible danger to yourself or others.

  4. MelissaB on said:

    I am a professional Ballerina. Music helps inspires me. I’ve choreographed my best masterpieces on runs. Hooray for Run Rockers

  5. I have ‘background music, so i can hear it, hear the world, even have a conversation, but the beat is still there, When trail running I turn it up, but then some times I’ll turn it off and listen to the ‘Earth Song’ as the country side first thing sounds nice and chilling

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