Sound vs Silence

To run with music or without? Join the debate

381 to 400 of 523 messages
25/06/2008 at 23:35
Is this a pointless debate?

UK Athletic Rules ban MP3 players at races due to the fact you cannot hear the marshals or fellow runners.

They are dangerous and have no place at races.

26/06/2008 at 09:26


I have just been skim-reading the 198 page UKA Rulebook and couldn't see any reference to mp3, what section is it under?

26/06/2008 at 09:38

Windmiler - I thought it was still under discussion?

Chestfield  - if they have decided it won't be in the edition of the rulebook you have, because it's only been very recently (ie since I've been out of touch with Athletics Weeky).

26/06/2008 at 14:04
I can't see Nike bringing out the Nike+ system to fit our iPods if they thought there was a chance that they may be banned at races. I love the fact that I can track my runs, get Lance Armstrong's dulcet tones in my ears and listen to Queen if I like to. I am running it is my choice. There are always those ignorant runners who cut you up or stop dead in front of you - ipods don't cause that.

I usually run with one ear in so I can hear what is going on, and have the volume gentle. But even if I don't take the headphones (like on club runs with friends) I always take my ipod and my Nike+ so that I can track my run and upload it to Nike's website. I find the positive boost that gives me to see that I have run alost 500 miles since September is amazing and an incredible motivator.

26/06/2008 at 15:05
I guess there are so many conflicting views and strong presentations of such because many people are so competitive and focused that they really will represent their views strongly and perhaps single mindedly.

I used to be in the army and did a lot of running, usually to the dulcet tones of PTI busters. I hated it, but it was part of the "job". No IPOD but plenty of loud bangs that were motivators!!!!

Having got to mid life with a vast waist, lethargy and deep self conscious issues, I started training on a X trainer. i Bought an IPOD to take away the boredom and used to close my eyes and go for it. I fell off once but that was when the retaining bolt on the stand broke!

After getting fit enough to undertake a running regime I bought the Nike Plus attachments and the marketing hype worked as I also bought the Nike Plus compatible Triax shoes.

I went out running. Not fast, not a long distance. Now a year later I go a long distance but not fast, last run was 12.5 miles. Do I find the IPOD a help, goodness yes. For ME, and MY style of getting fit and running to do so, I find I can almost meditate whilst running. I don't enjoy the sound of my inhaling/exhaling breath, but have the volume sufficiently low to hear birds, dogs and the greetings of people as I run around. But loud enough to just make the words out and the tune and to hit the "meditation" threshold where the stresses and strains drain from my overweight carcass as it trundles around. I am not fast, did not set out to be, but I enjoy the running, listening to stuff that I have not heard for a while, etc etc.

For others who need to assess their progress and be highly interactive to the immediate environment around them, then dont use headphones and go for what works for you.

But if we take the many comments about safety that I have read, put it into perpsective. Most of us will have music in the car, F1 drivers don't. Why....... because they are driving in a different way and that is the great thing about running, do two people have exactly the same training regime, well not really, we are all different and respond to stimulus differently as our goals are also so different??!!

However if it gets a fat bloke like me out there, running 12.5 miles in one go now and aiming for a half marathon, how can it be bad to use an IPOD?

Bear in mind too, sight is a sense used for safety and not just guidance..... we don't kjust rely on our ears when out running do we? I continued to run in winter dominantly on a grass track in the dark with the IPOD....... I would not have done that running on the road, as fortunately I can judge and adapt to conditions.

I really fail to see the downside of the IPOD if it suits your needs, and I think the safety element is appropriate in context, but many of the posts I read are out of such context.

26/06/2008 at 16:16


Do you run in races or just train to keep fit, lose weight etc. The reason I ask is that I always had music when running solo, but found the atmosphere, talking to other runners etc during a race meant I did not need an ipod then. 

26/06/2008 at 22:30
Hi Bill,

I initially started running simply to keep fit but have recently entered and completed a 10k, have another one lined up and a half marathon. That said, I wont be doing that many as it was not why I started the running, but thoroughly enjoyed the first one.

I could not really have spoken to anyone during the race due to breathing etc!!!! Well possibly untrue but only slightly!!

I can understand the point though and if it works for you got to be a good thing. I am quite focused and almost anti social when I train, confidence issue funnily enough, I think I am a nice guy and like company, but the running is for ME, and so I kind of skulk away quietly.

What is good for me is the time reminders on the Ipod helps me gauge efforts etc. I do have a Garmin 305 but use that for post run data.

26/06/2008 at 22:43

Sound defenitely sound, low volume in early morning to hear stalkers and who knows...

speed running at lunch or after 6, full blast crazy nonsense hardcore music

 long runs a mix of jazz, blues, rock, and hardcore music at the end

27/06/2008 at 12:49

It has to be an individual choice and Ipod's help some of us keep going, the thing to remember is that most of us who wear ipods often have the volume low or only one ear in especially on races.  So that kind of discounts all the arguments why they should be banned.

The longer the race/training run the more you may need it, I have my ipod on me plugged in and raring to go, then when the going gets tough and I start to flag I put one ear in, it's immediate my pace increases and it's a wonderful motivation tool.  I still know what's going on around me, can still follow instructions, and still know when my training partner is talking to me cause only one ear is plugged in.

Some of us need this option and just based on these I know at my club the people who are really against ipods are the fastest ones, give us slower ones a fighting chance we need all the help we can get. 

27/06/2008 at 14:00

I'm with Loco!!!

Music style and loudness is altered to suit my mood and training. 

Off to bid good day/cross a busy road/when with company. 

Speed sessions: Loud and manic

Long runs: Mellow with a ploddy tempo

When my husband has annoyed me runs: Music with relevant lyrics ('Shut up' Black eyed Peas, 'Foundations' Kate Nash, 'Bitch' Meridith Brooks)  Also works well with a tempo work-out.

To those of you that hate music in your ears.....I feel sad that you can't experience the ultimate relaxation I achieve when I'm plodding along with my favourite tunes and I'm sure you can't understand that your style of running sounds too much like hard work to me......but at the end of the day we are all different.

27/06/2008 at 19:00

There are natural synergies betweeen music and exercise. We are all individuals and should be able to make our own choices. If we run with music it is our responsibility to be aware of our surroundings and to watch out for marshalls who have given up their time to direct and support us.

I would rather listen to music than to runners who feel the need to share their latest times and running injuries / excuses for poor performance. Let's get a life really................... Music also blocks out the flat footed slap/slap, heavy breathing, snorting and other equally attractive traits that we runners have.

Banning music - what will be next!!?? - Heart Monitors, Deep Heat, Blister plasters, Watches, Energy Gels........

Someone mentioned struggling with their Nike+ I too had problems with mine initially as I don't read instructions properly - now 4 runs later it is the best thing I have purchased - other than my Ipod and Sennheiser ear phones!!

Happy safe running!!

28/06/2008 at 16:08
I have only read the first and last few entries on this thread, and would tend to agree with Shenders entry on 24th june.

I personally use music when I train alone, but would not dream of using one when I am running with others, either training or racing.

There is absolutely no health and safety reason for banning MP3's, and you do not 'need' to hear other people running around you. It is very much up to the individual wearing the headphones to make sure they are aware of what is going on around them, and make sure there is no-one about to overtake them before they stop or move to the right or left, and if the organisers do not feel that they can trust everyone to observe this basic etiquette, then they are entitled to ban MP3s, but as has been pointed out earlier in the thread this should be made clear before people have handed their money over and entered.

As for those people who say they 'cannot' run without music, this is just like Dumbo thinking he couldn't fly without a feather. Everyone can run without music.... how did they manage before MP3s were invented? If you prefer using music just say so, don't act as though your legs suddenly stop working unless you have some headphones plugged in.

Running is one of the few sports where everyone can take part, whatever their ability, but to read some of the comments within this thread it seems that some people would rather this was not the case, I can't believe everyone has had that many problems with people wearing headphones in races, I run regularly and I can't remember a single time when anyone has cut across me.

In summary, lighten up.... let those people who enjoy running with music continue to do so, and those who don't can also enjoy running without it.
28/06/2008 at 16:35
Perhaps the huge interest in running by people of all backgrounds, all shapes and sizes and ages will mean those who make the rules will need to tighten up the rules. A 'fun run' might allow MPS/Ipod/mobile phones/cameras, fancy dress,diving suits,stilts or what have you and a 'race' might be defined without such items. Accessories are becoming a hazard as the user loses awareness of what is happening around them. I would guess that most of those runners' are not racing in the sense of doing the best effort that they can on the day. I am not knocking their efforts or reasons for running and I do accept them as runners'. I do think that charity runners need only name their sponsor on a T-shirt,vest or cap and can join a 'race' anything more should consign them to a 'fun run'.
28/06/2008 at 21:49

That is a very fair point about runners with accesories such as Ostrich outfit, etc etc, but it is still a race and as you say you acccept them as runners, the difference being the motivation is different, i.e. probably not to win but to finish......

I could see those intent on pitching themselves as "intent on winning" could be disadvantaged by the outfits and the like. However, never seen anyone at the Olympic marathon in a Gorilla suit.....!!

Maybe semantics and event oriented but I think you raised a fair point in general terms, if your pitching up to a race, the organisers should make it clear what is permissible, you can then make your mind up about taking part, but it should still be a race in my view.

I sincerely believe on the music side, if it helps YOU, then have it!Be sensible and risk aware, have the volume appropriately set and you will be fine. There are just as many people so focused that they will not be receptive to much sound around them anyway, music or not!


28/06/2008 at 22:50
I am pleased that you saw some merit in my comments as I do in your thoughts and others' comments on this subject.
I don't think I have ever noticed much of a problem up to 10K. Competitors in major city half marathons and marathons which tend to have large entries are meeting problems. Nothing worse than somebody stopping in front of you to take a photo or take/make a telephone call!
One point of view might be to avoid the big city events and have a better chance of a pb at a smaller event.
Your own view I can happily read both ways such as Flora London Marathon organisers say anything goes so the more serious runners' need to make up their mind about taking part. If FLM adopted a more safety concious code it would be for 'fun runners' to make up their minds if they still felt it worth while running without certain accessories.
I think running is excellent sport for general fitness and nobody is obliged to take part in a race.
28/06/2008 at 23:17
actually .. i'd like to add another thing to all us ipod "fans".. for us over 40yr olds.. just ocassionally it like being back at a disco again.. you know... being 18 years old again... i dont think thre's many teensthat would aprove of a 43 year old joining them on the dance floor!

so but for the "oldies" amongst us (double quotes!!!) ... give us a all a break!

otherwise we may be joining you youngsters
29/06/2008 at 11:56
Can I just say, being young and all. I belive that although I-pods can be helpful before races, I do think that they can hinder your performance, as you are running to the beat of the music, rather than focusing on the race or appreciating the surroundings you are in.

Running can help to sort out your thoughts and clear your head, surely to fill it with songs is creating more stress than needed. The music is an external thing that isn't needed, it takes away the natural feeling of running that takes us back to an ancestral feeling, where no music can take us. The feeling of a run is greater when you know that you have completed it with no external help.
29/06/2008 at 21:37

I have to say Jeremy that you are saying 'us' as if your experience of running is uniform to all.....I personally find that music helps me to distract from the thoughts that bombard my head all day and truly relax and 'switch off'......

....obviously my reason to run is different to yours.

29/06/2008 at 21:51

Feel compelled to add my two pennorth.

I can get a great high listening to music, and a great high running, but when the two coincide, it's something else and the outdoor environment just makes it better. Maybe some people have a stronger focus on one element of the running experience, while for me there's lots of things mixing together.

Sometimes I run with music, sometimes not, and that's including runs up to 20 miles long - the only time I struggle without music is on a treadmill because it's just sooo boring. I think people's experience of running, music and combining the two is hugely varied. Although I have a background in musicology (I did a PhD a few years back), I think I listen to harmony more than rhythm. I certainly don't run in time to most of my MP3 playlist, although there's a couple that will power me along a bit if I tally the beat with footfall (Politik by Coldplay and a thing in 5/8 time by Radiohead, title escapes me, no I don't have 5 legs but it just works!).

Safety wise - you don't always hear cars without an MP3, and certainly often don't hear bicycles, so having to look more carefully when you have an MP3 on is probably a good thing. I would never listen to music in a race because it's one of the few times I get to chat to other runners.

30/06/2008 at 14:10

Excellent quote from Pearl Izumi's we are not joggers website.

Runners don't want to escape the fact that they are running.

These days you'll see a lot of people out there with MP3 players. Blasting some indie rock to make the miles go by a little bit faster. Every one of these people are joggers. Because runners actually like to run. And they're generally a little sad when it's over. They don't want to be tuned into some dumb guitar solo. They want to be tuned into every facet of their run experience. The cadence of their footfalls. The rhythm of their breathing. The sounds of the world around them, car horns or wind moving through pine needles. Sure, runners dig music, but they know that it makes them lose touch with their environment, and lose kinesthetic awareness of their bodies, and that is something they simply cannot have.

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