I am definitely one of those running who has to listen to music when running. I also pop in the earbuds when cleaning or painting when I need a serious distraction and break up any monotony.

I’ve read a ton of blog posts and websites that recommend only listening to music when training but leave the mp3 player at home the day of the race. The reasons are twofold.

  1. You’ll enjoy the race more and take it all in if you have your eyes AND ears open. Music is motivating to some people but having 100’s of people cheering you on is a pretty awesome motivator too.
  2. If someone wants to pass you and you can’t hear them because your tunes are turned up too loud, there is risk of a collision and nobody wants that.

HOWEVER, when envisioning races ahead of time I get super anxious. My cross country coach in college used to have us close our eyes and “see” ourselves running races with great form and pace… feeling strong. Of course, when I tried that I came close to vomiting on the teammate seated next to me. Running while listening to music creates a distraction. I’d much rather be oblivious to my surroundings and just concentrate on my form and breathing. Concentrate on relaxing all the muscles in my body except my arms and legs. Even though this is a completely fun/voluntary run, I can’t get that feeling of competitive racing out of my head.

“you have to pass the runner in front of you. go faster. open your stride.harness your inner Prefontaine. don’t go too fast. drive into the hill.”

I’m trying to put the fun back into my run. So for my first race, I think I’ll bring the music and either wear just one earbud or have it on a bit lower so I’m still pretty aware of my surroundings (aware enough not to take a wrong turn and end up trekking through the reflecting pool) and any speedy gonzaleses yelling “ON YOUR LEFT!”

I’ve already started collecting songs for the ultimate marathon playlist. Here’s what I’ve got so far.

Marathon Playlist

This playlist will last a bit more than an hour so I’m looking for more suggestions. What song gets your blood pumping in a good way? That feeling when you watch Rocky or GI Jane (or am I the only one who does hundreds of crunches after watching it)…. what’s the anthem for the underdog?!