For a long time, music has carried me through my workouts.
I used to never take off for a run without my three essentials: Garmin watch, iPhone and headphones. As I cycled through my running playlist, the minutes ticked away. I began to think of running less in terms of miles and more in terms of music. An hour-long run equaled 16-18 songs. That meant 16-18 songs to keep my legs rolling and arms pumping until my Garmin signaled the end.
Music both distracts me and motivates me. When the beat drops, a burst of energy and adrenaline hits my system and I pick up the pace, never looking back.
But recently I’ve changed my running routine.
I’ve started leaving behind my phone and earbuds as I take off for my daily runs.
Everybody has their workout preferences. Some can’t live without pump-up tunes, whether they’re out for a jog or at the gym. EDM, rap, hip-hop, upbeat pop, contemporary R&B, classic rock…music is motivation for many.
For a long time, my Spotify workout playlist and earbuds have kept me company during my solo runs. I’ve tailored my ‘Run’ playlist to perfection so that each song keeps my legs turning over.
Even on the toughest days – when my body feels sluggish and all I can think about is binge-eating chocolate – my playlist makes me feel sanguine and empowered. The music keeps me going. Many of the songs trigger fond memories related to running – state championship races, half marathons, and long training runs through the woods.
Others prefer working out without the hassle of their phones. It’s an opportunity to unplug from the world for a brief moment. A complete escape and outlet. A time to focus solely on your mind, your body and your breathing.
It’s an opportunity to think – really think – about anything and everything. I think about my family, friends, conversations, running, schoolwork, career goals, travel…the list goes on. It feels like the faster my legs turn over, the faster I cycle through new thoughts, ideas and dreams.
In this day and age, it can feel incriminating leaving your phone behind. What if I miss a call? A text? An email? How can I possibly get through a workout without Beyoncé’s voice ringing in my ears?
Sure, there will be some days when I need Beyoncé or Odesza to give me a boost, but I feel a sense of relief and release knowing I don’t have to rely on Spotify to carry me through my solo runs anymore.
It wasn’t until I had issues with my iPhone’s headphone jack that I began to appreciate clear-headed, music-less runs. I’m able to actually listen and pay attention to what’s going on around me.
Now I can hear the stream that flows along a running path I frequent. The stream went unnoticed for years because it’s covered by a row of trees and my headphones blocked out the sound of the water.
Now I can hear people say “good morning” or “hello” in passing, instead of just seeing their lips move and slipping them a quick smile.
Now I can hear the sound of dogs barking, cars zooming by, people whistling as they walk and conversations among passersby.
Now I can hear my feet hit the pavement with each forward step.
That is music to my ears.
What I’m Listening To
Lovesick (feat. Felix Snow) – Caroline Pennell
Human Touch – Betty Who
The Mack – Nevada
Big Rings – Drake
Move Your Body – Sia