I’d forgotten something about running. Something kind of big. Something that after my first year really drew me out into the world for a good run, no matter how much my thighs felt like Jell-o, or my head hurt from a long day of staring at a computer screen. I had forgotten how much an artfully crafted playlist was able to take away lethargic leg syndrome and block out ambivalent thoughts about a run.
In the last year, I have sincerely become a podcast runner. Synch me up to This American Life, The Story, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Radio Lab, or Studio 360, and I’m ready to rock and roll. Except…not. There is rarely rocking and never rolling when I’m NPR-ing it up. Don’t get me wrong; I have gleefully heard some amazing tales, laughed out loud as I caught up on this week’s news, and teared up in residential neighborhoods in ways music might not ever allow me to do.
But music is prominently powerful in its own light, and simultaneously allows a runner to escape into their thoughts and feel the peaks and valleys of song. The music I listen to often sets a tone for my mood, or enhances how I’m already feeling, and it always sucks me out the door and into the great wide running world.
Interestingly, there are actually tips out there in the great wide internet about how to listen to music safely while you run outdoors:
Wake Up and Pay Attention!
It’s easy to be more engrossed in your playlist than you would be in a John Grisham novel, but this tends to leave you lacking attention to the terrain around you. Make sure you know your route well, and are paying attention to cracks in the sidewalk, curbs, and oncoming traffic!
Just Loud Enough
Running with earbuds means that you’re blocking out some of the commonplace outdoor white noise that is actually really important to an outdoor exerciser; make sure you can hear sirens, voices, and other tell-tale signs of what is happening around you.
Two Earbuds, Please
Studies show that using only one earbud instead of two does not keep you safer; in fact, it can confuddle your brain, and might be worse than simply listening with both ears.
Okay, I feel better after doing a safety dance with you all!
Listening to music keeps me sane, which in the midst of an anxious day I always seem to forget. But not only does music calm and heal, it also brightens and offers new ways of seeing the world. So even though I’m always waxing glowing-reviewishly about the latest episode of This American Life, I’m going to try to intersperse more tunes, too.