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Reasons Why We Should Run Without Music

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Running without music makes the mind stronger and is safer for solo runs. Reasons Why We Should Run Without Music www.runnerclick.com

The birds sing a song into the distance. The crickets chirp as if they were playing violins. The heartbeat is a steady drum. The body is in a dance, mind getting lost in the rhythm. Everything seems so much quieter, and feelings that much louder. This is what it’s like to run without music. And there are actually many reasons why we shouldn’t run with any music more often.

As runners, we know that there is research out there that says music is a huge motivational force and can really help improve performance. But running without music can also make us better and faster runners. That’s because, without music as a distraction and a morale boost, we are left having to feel the run. We must feel our legs getting tired. Runners then have to find another way to block out any negative thoughts about us calling it quits or slowing down.

It’s Safer To Be Able To Hear

The most important reasons runners should leave their headphones at home is for safety. This is true for beginners and seasoned runners alike. It doesn’t matter how many times the runner travels down the same roads or parks. Predators lurk unfortunately anywhere included our go-to routes. It’s extremely important that runners be alert and pay attention to their surroundings.

Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash.

Some opt to run listening to music with only one earbud to be able to hear noise around them. But this might mean the runner misses the crunching of leaves or an animal that is nearby. Save music for when running on the treadmill for safety.

No Music Means Paying Attention To The Body

Not only must we have to listen to our bodies in this way, but also when it comes to specific aspects of the run. This includes when looking to increase cadence or the number of steps the feet takes per minute. The idea is that the faster the cadence, the faster the runner’s speed is. Studies suggest that faster cadence leads to better form and fewer injuries. Running without music allows the runner to hear if their feet as shuffling as it hits the pavement. Shuffling means the legs aren’t lifting, which can be a sign of a slow cadence. Pay attention and kick those feet up.

Another reason why it’s not a good idea to run with music, specifically for beginners, is to be able to master breathing. Focus on deep diaphragm breaths rather than belting out the lyrics to a good song.

It Makes Runners Have A Stronger Mind

Unplugging can do wonders for the mind. We are constantly on our smartphones, watching TV and on our computers for work. During a run is the one time a day we can just let our minds go and not be tapped into technology.

Photo by juan pablo rodriguez on Unsplash.

Running without music also means the runners are working on having a stronger mind. That’s because they have to focus on the run and constantly tell themselves not to quit or to power through a sprint—without having a soundtrack to rely on. Running without music makes the runner stronger since they must face the obstacles head on like tired legs or rolling hills.

No Music Prepares Runners For Race Day

Some races prohibit headphones at their events. This is for the safety of runners so that they can hear instructors from volunteers. This is especially the case for races where roads aren’t closed off. For tighter trail races, running with music means not hearing a runner coming up from behind to pass. This is why it’s a great idea to practice running without music. No one wants to show up on race day and be told they can’t bring their music. Then panic sets in on how they are going to run 13.1 miles without Britney Spears telling them they better work.

Tips To Running Without Music

For those who only run listening to music, putting down their phones or music players can be tough at first. Just remember that it is making you a more resilient runner. A great way to start running without music is to use a shorter run as a practice round. See if you can run a mile or three without any jams. It’s a good idea to choose a scenic route so that the mind is preoccupied looking at the scenery or hear the sounds nearby like crashing waves if near a beach.

Photo by Des Tan on Unsplash.

For longer runs, start without music and see how long the runner can go without pressing play. If needed, turn on a favorite playlist for the middle of the run and finish strong without it.

When on the treadmill, try reading a book or people watch at the gym. Another good way to tackle runs with no music indoors is doing intervals on the treadmill. Jog for a little, sprint for a little and keep going for the duration of the run. The mind will be busy adjusting the treadmill and preparing for the next segment.

Remember that running without music isn’t a punishment, but rather a great way to be more present in the run. Many find it to be freeing and prefer not to run with music at all.


  1. Monica Grater, Should You Listen to Music While Running?, Running Website
  2. Mackenzie Lobby, Running Technique: The Importance of Cadence and Stride, Running Website
  3. Nick Clark, Why You Should Ditch the Tunes While Training, Running Website

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