The title already tells you what this about. And I know some of you are going to read this just so you can tell me why I’m wrong… But bear with me for a moment

I don’t run with music. Ever. and I’ve thought about this a bit recently, especially on my run yesterday afternoon (see point 2). So here are the 3 main reasons I don’t run (or bike) with music.

  1. Safety

This is the first point everyone comes to. If we are talking about riding the bike, this is an obvious point. You NEED to hear cars coming up behind you. If you don’t agree with me on the running part, that’s OK. But when it comes to cycling… you’re wrong. Stop listening to music out on the road.

Now for running, this is less of an issue. It actually doesn’t make a difference for me in my neighborhood because there is very little traffic and good sidewalks. But if you are high traffic areas, safety should be your number one concern.

But that is not the ONLY reason you shouldn’t run with music…

          2. It allows your mind to wander

Have you ever wondered why your best ideas always come in the shower? It’s actually that way with a lot of people. It’s even listed in 100 Ways To Be More Creative as a way to break writer’s block.

Why is that?

There’s no distractions. You are forced to be alone with your thoughts. Your mind wanders and that’s when, free of external input, you can have some awesome ideas!

Running works almost as well. Take away the music, and your steady pace, long run become the crucible for some great ideas! This is why I said keep talking about “music” and not just “headphones.” Get alone with your thoughts and sort through that problem or issue you’ve been dealing with. Let your thoughts wander and come up with that great idea you wish you had.

But sometimes you shouldn’t let your thoughts wander. You need to focus!

          3. It makes you focus

This is at the complete opposite side of the spectrum from the last point. Sometimes you just need to focus.

What makes the difference in the last few miles of a marathon? Mental toughness. This can only be developed from training just like physical toughness. Indoor trainer rides develop this too. You need to be able to focus even when you are hurting. You need to maintain the same pace even when you want to stop. That’s a mental thing. You won’t have music on race day (many races will disqualify you for it). You need to learn now to focus and keep going all on your own.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you why you shouldn’t listen to music while you run (or bike… or swim). But maybe you still disagree with me. Either way, I want to hear your thoughts. Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!