Sound vs Silence

To run with music or without? Join the debate

101 to 120 of 525 messages
03/06/2008 at 15:26

I've noticed a strange thing. Races are full of people with headphones, music blaring, barging into others, unable to hear marshals and race directors, meandering from side to side, completely unaware of what's around them. Yet the forum is full of people who only use one headphone, have the music down quiet, can hear everything said to them and retain full and unimpaired spatial awareness.

What can this mean?

03/06/2008 at 15:28
that the aforementioned wired up runners don't read RW?
03/06/2008 at 15:43
FF has music blaring in both ears most of the time mutley.
03/06/2008 at 15:48

most of the people that have contributed to this disscution, have well considered points, the people mentioned above don't really consider anyone, regardless of headphones or not, also they might not have learnt race etiquette yet, its not as if its written down.

03/06/2008 at 15:59

I do wonder if the divide 'for' and 'against' connects with people's attitude to running, racing and how they've been 'coached' or whatever? Music was always thought to be a disassociative tool, whereas 'real' athletes are supposed to run in an associative state - feed on the pain or whatever. Which, obviously given the times of some ipod-using runner needs more testing! Are ipoders still seen as less authentic runners, from a stereotypical perspective?

After all, comments suggest that many of them barge, blare their music and run around oblivious!

Someone said above - Peter Crisp, I think:

Is it just me that doesnt actually want to have a in depth conversation when Im racing? When I have raced without music no one talks anyway, everyones trying too hard, and when theres someone I know near me how difficult is it for me to turn it off for a few mins, not very. So this argument is rubbish, ban stupid watches that beep all the time to set your pace, I dont want to listen to your beep every second, or the random people who wear a bean bag on their shoe so they can hear their pace. Now this is annoying.

 I have noticed the Forerunner bleep, in fact I often leech onto runners in races who I believe are running similar intervals to myself. And I have an Ironman watch that has a very long alarm for interval notification...But surely running in a race means running with others. And surely that means playing with others. If you want solitariness - be it with music or without - the perhaps races aren't for you?

This obviously excludes the whole safety side of things!

Personally, I go through phases; currently I'm in an ipod phase. But once the weather picks up again I'll go back to lung music. And I do sometimes have the music up too high.....

Edited: 03/06/2008 at 15:59
03/06/2008 at 16:19

Bunny, I said this earlier. There seems to be a mindset (certainly amongst some the "anti" music lot) that runners who wear i-pods or such like are not "pure" athletes.

I recently ran a sub-3 hour marathon wearing earphones, down low, but loud enough for me to hear the music when I need a boost.  Does wearing earphones make me any less of an "athlete"? I think not, as my times will testify. However, it's interesting to note that I'm classed as a "jogger" because I wear earphones on my solo training runs, and my races above a half-marathon distance.

As long as you are aware of your surroundings & those around you, then why not listen to music? If it helps with your running & regulating your breathing (as in my case), then by all means go for it.

03/06/2008 at 16:29

Let me just clarify 1 thing about volume - I am talking about being able to hear things that give me that extra sensory edge over being able to see alone. I am talking about being able to hear the feintest sound of a car aproaching 1/4 or so a mile ahead or behind - round blind corners and the like. Or the breath of a runner behind me when racing alerting me that now is not the best time to suddenly change direction or, worse still, stop abruptly. 

 And as for being able to hear cyclists behind me - whilst running and cycling I've been amazed by how quiet a solo time trial bike is coming from behind you at 25mph +. I'm sorry but put headphones on with music or the like at a volume which can be clearly heard then you cannot hear the examples above. Your brain is not designed to cope.

 Gym Addict Wrinkly Smurf and the like. The point I was trying to make is that there seems to be a contradiction between the generally accepted view that listening to music /  books / speech etc through earphones whilst running helps with motivation / etc. through distracting the mind from what it is putting itself through, yet, at the same time, according to some, it in no way hinders the attention they should be giving to their surroundings, which could have safety implications for themselves and others. Either music / speech etc. is a distraction or it is not.

cougie    pirate
03/06/2008 at 16:39
I've been out on my bike many times and been surprised by bikes catching me in complete silence. And thats without any earphones.

On one memorable occasion the shadow of a double decker loomed up on us going uphill - no noise from the bugger at all - I think he'd floored it and coasted up to us..

I've no problem with people training with them. Thats their business.
But in races ? I dont think they belong.
03/06/2008 at 16:59
I belong to the "live and let live" school of thought.  Having said that, I agree with everyone who thinks ipods should be banned from races.  On Sunday I went out of my way to rearrange my schedule so that I could travel to support a friend who was running a tough 10K.  I planted myself at three different points on the course and cheered wildly for her every time she went past.  She didn't spot me in the crowd, and with music blaring in her ears she didn't hear me either.  I felt totally let down.  I'd gone all that way and got soaked to the skin only to be gazumped by an ipod.
03/06/2008 at 17:06

That's a sad tale indeed, PR.

03/06/2008 at 17:15
A similar point was made in a previous thread, by a race commentator. He said he put a lot of effort into identifying runners from the number lists so he could namecheck them and give them a boost as they approach the finish line ... but many couldn't hear him because of their music.
03/06/2008 at 17:26

I wonder whether people who suddenly stop in the middle of the road/track in a race or weave around do so because they are just a bit thick and very thoughtless rather than because they're wearing headphones.  They'd probably do it with or without headphones.

For  what it's worth, I always go out of the house with an iPod and listen to all sorts - audio books, the radio and music.  Essential for long runs.  Sometimes, if the day's gorgeous and the mood is right I take the headphones out.  Music is great for intervals/speed training - drowns out my breathing.  In my  two marathons this year I've promised myself the treat of my patent marathon music mix at 20M.  In the first marathon I was too kn*ckered to take it out of my pocket but regretted not doing so (I missed my target by 15 seconds - music might just have made all the difference).  In the second one - last week - I started off with headphones in but iPod off so that I was all ready to go at 20M.  It helped SO much.  So for as long as I can - I'll listen to music in long races.

03/06/2008 at 17:51

Not read all the replies as we all know this debate will always rage on!!!

But did read a few of the posts and I like a few others I  USED to listen to my ipod but I kinda got fed up with it and after doing one of my LR's in sunshine with no music I realised how much I enjoyed my own thoughts and the noise of the world around me. So I am a convert and have now done 2 marathons and half marathons with no music aswell. I didn't listen to music to make me run faster I listened to it to pass the time better and it was a comfort and company thing for me too which I have maybe grown out of?  

03/06/2008 at 18:07

I said to myself i wouldn't get involved in this thread, i've dived in on most of the other Ipod threads and felt i'd said what i needed to. (I'm pro Ipod)

However, i totally mirror bungees comments, i listen to music all the time and used to train with my pod on all the time too. I didn't/don't race with one but don't mind other people using them (as one of my previous thread contributions says, i'm more concerned by fancy dressers, flying water bottles and runners starting too far up the field and causing bottlenecks than any one wearing a pod).

I'm still passionate about music but somehow i now much prefer to run without. But if you want to wear yours, then that's fine too

03/06/2008 at 18:15
Artful Hen -- Does this not make an MP3 player a sort of performance-enhancing drug then?
03/06/2008 at 18:16
I ran last years' London marathon in 3 hours 14 mins with no ipod. This year I ran it in 3 hours and 30 seconds with an ipod turned right up so I couldn't hear any marshalls, spectators, or loud airoplanes. I didn't meander around and I didn't collide with anyone. I did knock 14 mins off my previous time.
03/06/2008 at 18:30

I agree with someone said earlier about not actually wanting to chat whilst at a race. In  my job all I do all days is bleeding well talk/shout/projec (teacher)t. Running is where I get to stop talking and listen. I',m asserting my right to not talk and I'm sorry if that seems rude and antisocial. Actually, I'm not sorry. If I wanted to talk during my chosen sport I would join and team or a debating society.

I try very hard to get under foot, not to ruin anybody else's big day and to my knowledge I have never done so

03/06/2008 at 18:36

Trouble is, earphone users just don't appear to notice. I'm sure the people who ran into me on Sunday without acknowledging it are under the impression that they "didn't meander around and didn't collide with anyone".

I'm bowing out of this now. I've said my bit. I don't think iPod users in races will change their behaviour because they genuinely don't see that they are doing anything wrong. As mentioned earlier, we meed to bite the bullet and just make some events OK for headphone users and some not. In that way we can all make the choice, and be happy.

03/06/2008 at 18:40
I don't think we should label all I-Pod users with this same negative personna, I use my headphones now and then, I use a sensible volume level and I always look around to see where everybody else is, to be honest I take more care when I have my headphones on when I run without them.
03/06/2008 at 18:56
I find it hard to believe that anyway can actually physically knock into someone else and not notice it - headphones or not.
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