Friday, March 26, 2010

iPod Dillema

On Monday my iPod died 2 miles into a 5 mile run. I started freaking out because I'm usually super dependent on music to push me through so I felt like a scuba diver who's oxygen tank just got ripped off their back. I let my mind go into panic mode, thinking of the big hills ahead and wishing I had been thinking and actually charged the dang thing before I left the house.

Part of me wanted to just stop but I was already 2 miles out, and even if I DID stop I still had to go 2 more miles to get back home! So I gathered my thoughts, focused on my breathing, and plodded ahead. As I settled into the relative silence I began to notice the beautiful nature all around me. I heard the birds singing, the wind blowing through the trees, water dripping into a puddle. Every little sound seemed amplified. This new and natural soundtrack had an unexpected effect on me, it made me run faster! All along I thought it was my music that made me run fast ( and I still think that's true for certain songs) But overall, being able to connect with my surroundings and listen to my breathing and my footsteps and the way I was running, it made the run go by faster and feel less labored.

When a fast song comes on with a heavy beat it makes me work harder, and I feel more tired. Without the music dictating the ebb and flow of my pace, my speed was actually more consistent and came more easily. I finished the 5 miles in 45:03, almost exactly a 9 minute pace (9:00:06 to be exact.) And I felt great!

Still, I didn't trust myself without music. So I plugged my iPod into our new computer to charge it up. Since it's a new computer it asked me something about erasing and syncing my music, I absentmindedly clicked "yes" and my entire song collection vanished. When I tried to put music back on, it wouldn't let me! So, Wednesday and Thursday's runs were also sans music. Amazingly though, it was fine! Wednesday I logged 3 miles in 26:25 min, 8:48 min/mile pace, and yesterday I did 5 miles in 44:35 min, 8:55 min/mile pace.

So this week I've had a positive experience running without music, but I'm still a little torn as to whether I should race with my iPod next week or not. I'm trying to fix it and I will probably at least bring it as a back up in case I need some extra "juice" to kick it into the finish. I don't know though, I ran my first half marathon without music (accidentally left the iPod at home) and had a great experience and a great finishing time. So yeah, it's a dilemma, not sure how it will all work out.


  1. Personal are an extremely social being and I think you might do just fine w/out it at the race! Who knows, maybe you'll be inspired to beat certain people or pace with others, and its always good for the mind to take in a little nature.

    I find that I also am faster without my music because I start to pay attention to my breathing and my footsteps. I run at an even pace instead of speeding up and slowing down to the rhythm of my music.

    Bring the ipod as a backup but if it doesn't work...YOU"LL STILL DO GREAT!

  2. Great post Becca. I run without music...mostly because I have a big clunky video iPod that I don't want to carry. I don't mind much though because it is enjoyable to be in nature, hear the sounds, hear breathing and pace, etc. If I had a super small one then I'd probably bring it in my water belt to have the music as an option.

    It looks like your paces are fast and solid though without music so it is a tough decision :)

  3. I generally run without an iPod when I have a partner and with one when I don't. However, I've had battery failure sometimes as well, and I think it works out fine.

    With my marathons I went sans iPod for the first 10 to 13 miles and then I can use it more for a needed "pick me up". There was a point at National though when I thought maybe I should turn off my music because I felt like the beats were slowing me down, but I was too scared to hear my breathing! Looking back, I probably should have given it a shot (I don't think I was breathing that heavily), because I always could have turned it back on.

    I always have my iPod though since it's my phone and I always take a phone. I don't always have headphones, but one time I did just turn it on without headphones during a run with Jonelle. I just needed something to keep me motivated after 10 miles on a 16-miler (or whatever it was).

    So, yah, it's nice to have the option if it's easy to carry. Try starting without it though and use it if you need a motivator.