The Everyman: Can You Hear Me?

Why run with music when it's perfectly fine not to? Photo: www.shutterstock.com

If you can’t, then you’re probably running with your music too loud.

It’s a debate that will probably go on forever: Running with music vs. running without it. Both sides have solid arguments and I’m not here to say anyone is wrong.

But what I am going to do is fire off a warning to those that run with music: Turn it down.

I’m lucky enough to live close to a paved biking/running trail that stretches for roughly 45 miles. It’s connected to other paths as it heads east to Washington, D.C., making it possible to easily ride my bike (or go for an epic ultrarun, which I’ll never do) to the nation’s capital from where I live.

Being a triathlete, I’m outside 4-5 times a week for a ride or a run. Often I find myself on the trail, which is flat but is a great way to get in some mileage. It’s also a good connecting route to take before heading out on the roads to do some climbing on the bike.

Some days I’ll pass more than a hundred runners on the trail. Almost all of them are plugged in, listening to music as they pound the pavement. And nearly every time, my warning of “On your left!” as I cruise past them on my bike doesn’t get through the sounds of Jay-Z or Kid Rock or, in my case if I were to use music on a run, Alan Jackson (don’t judge).

That’s what I call a dangerous situation.

RELATED: Real Runners Don’t Run With Music

I used to be a card-carrying member of the listening-to-music-during-a-run club, but I’ve abandoned the practice for a variety of reasons. I’ve grown to enjoy hearing my footfalls in rhythmic fashion. It’s like my own personal metronome, although it’s typically set to shuffle (cadence? Yeah, I’m working on that).

It sounds corny and silly and cliché, but I like being outside and enjoying my run for what it is. Music doesn’t fall into that bucket.

Safety is another factor — I live on a secondary road where cars whiz by in excess of 40 mph, so it’s nice to be able to at least hear them coming.

It doesn’t matter to me if you run with headphones, run while playing a guitar or a tuba, or run with a giant marching band drum strapped to your chest. All I ask is that you keep the volume low enough so that if someone (or something, in the case of a car) is passing, you can hear.

But do yourself a favor and try running without music.

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