Jessica Hofheimer: Running With Music Has A Time And Place

The treadmill is about the only place Jessica Hofheimer will run with music. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

I LOVE music. All kinds—everything from the latest top 40 to country to bluegrass to reggae and heavy metal. Taylor Swift and Katy Perry are all over my playlists, alongside Coldplay, Eminem, The Lumineers, The Smiths and more. In my car, I love to drive with the windows down and sing my heart out when I’m alone or with my kids. Music makes me happy. One of my favorite things to do with my family is to sing and dance in our kitchen after dinner—it’s an expression and an outlet and something fun we do together. It just feels so good.

I have mixed feelings about running with music, though. As with everything, there is a time and a place.

Usually I find that the best music on a run for me is the sound of my footsteps and my breathing, with the birds singing along the trail in the early morning as the sun is rising. I love those peaceful moments; they calm my mind and soothe my soul and allow me to meditate and connect inside myself. Music can be a distraction and an escape for me on a run or in a race. I think sometimes this is a good thing and that at other times … it isn’t. It feels like a crutch, a way for me to numb what’s on my mind or in my heart, as well as a way to escape physical or emotional pain. I feel stronger when I don’t run with it. I do not run with music when I am racing because I want to focus on what is happening within and around me.

The one place I almost ALWAYS run with music is when I am running on a treadmill. Treadmill running can be extremely boring and music makes all the difference in the world for me when I have to run indoors! If I am doing a speed workout on the treadmill I love to listen to songs with a lot of energy that motivate me. Lately I discovered I can watch movies or shows on my iPad while on the treadmill too, so I am mixing it up with that.

Safety is really important on the trail and being aware of your surroundings is paramount to that, so on the occasions when I run with music outside alone I always keep the volume low or wear only one headphone.

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