The Pro's and con's to running with music, why you should, why you shouldn't and what I do

The Pro’s & Con’s of Running With Music

Should I run with music? here are the arguments for and against, safety concerns and where i stand on the whole thing
Photo credit: Ed Yourdon via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

There has been a lot of debate in the running community about whether or not to run with music. It seems to depend on the person. I am categorically pro music (for now), I cannot run any other way and I feel like people who run without music are made of stronger stuff than me! The only time I can stand it, is if I have a running partner and only because I am trying to put on a “look how strong I am” front!

Here are my list of pro’s and con’s for running – I’ve tried not to be biased (I swear!) so you can decide weather YOU should run with music…

Pro’s of Music

  • Motivation – When you are near the end of a long run and your JAM comes on! you can get yourself to push through the pain (even if it is only three minutes)
  • Distraction – I am a heavy breather and the sound of my own panting makes me feel like things are harder than they are! so music detracts from the aches and pains associated with a run.
  • Keeps Focus – Everyone has busy lives and sometimes I struggle to “switch off”, I won’t be running my best because my brain is buzzing with other things. Music helps me to shut off and focus on being in the moment and what I am doing.
  • Helps set your pace – I have tried this a couple of times and used the tempo of the music to time my feet/ running rhythm to “settle in” to my run. You can also use the BPM (beats per minute) of a song to help you set a pace. Runningmusicmix.com is a website that can help you choose songs by BPM

Con’s of Music

the pro's and con's to running with music
Photo credit: Chris Hunkeler via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA
  • Safety Concerns
    • Hearing – Having the music too loud can damage your hearing – (not a problem for me since I am hearing impaired but you should take note :p)
    • Traffic – You can’t hear traffic when crossing the roads, or potential upcoming traffic hazards.
    • Distracting – Yes this is a negative too because it can stop you from paying attention to the potential dangers around you e.g. passers by, dogs etc
  • Body Cues – Running without music allows you to pay more attention to how your body reacts and helps you get more in tune with your running gait.

What do you think of my pro’s and con’s ? do you think you should run with music? let me know in the comments section 🙂

*See my “Motivational 10k Race playlist” for an idea of my running music*

You may also be interested in the Running Pinterest Board for tips, tricks, motivation and more expert advice!

Is running with music for you? Here are the pro's and con's so you can decide for yourself

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Written by Charlotte

Founder at The Mummy Toolbox

43 Comments

  • […] you might be missing with your headphones in. I hate going music-less but I wrote a post about the Pro’s and Con’s of running with music which should be able to help you out here but running in the dark is a lot different so you need to […]

  • Kathleen - Bloggers Lifestyle (#)
    October 14th, 2016

    I have often wondered what the pros and cons are to music. I like to get in the zone, that is when I am thinking and don’t even notice that I came up the hill. I am not sure if that is good or not but it gets me home again.
    Kathleen

  • Wendy (#)
    October 11th, 2016

    I always listen to something as I’m walking/running, either music or a podcast. The one thing I have to be careful of is slowing down while I listen. Yes, I’m pretty easily distracted. 😉

  • Sinziana Romanescu (#)
    October 11th, 2016

    I do not run, at least at this moment, but I think is much easier and fun with music.

  • sue (#)
    October 11th, 2016

    This is a well thought out argument for both sides Charlotte. I don’t listen to music as I use my running time to think but I know that it can be motivating and keep you going especially on a longer run.

  • michele (#)
    October 10th, 2016

    I am definitely in the pro music camp, music helps everything!

  • Victor (#)
    October 5th, 2016

    Excellent written. I have found out that running w music made a big difference to improve. I keep the pace of my tracks that are about 180 bpms. When I, for some other external factor cannot run w music get tired faster and do not enjoy as much. I know it is in my mind but I prefer tu run w music. Not loud though!!!

    • Charlotte (#)
      October 5th, 2016

      I totally agree! Thanks so much for commenting 🙂

  • CourtneyLynne (#)
    March 8th, 2016

    I’m all about having a playlist for anything! Especially running and working out. Makes the time go way faster when your jamming to your favorite songs!

  • Stacey (#)
    March 4th, 2016

    I need my music to run and train. but on race day events – the people and adrenaline keep me going.

  • Brittany (#)
    March 3rd, 2016

    I love running with music! I need to make more time for exercising.

    Southern Soul

  • Hannah Budding Smiles (#)
    March 3rd, 2016

    Music distracts me when I’m running, it puts me off my pace and I’m yet to find anything that keeps my pace. I tend to draft blog posts in my head as I run haha Saddo that I am! Definitely agree with rhe safety aspects too xx

  • Kim at www.fitdisneymom.com (#)
    March 3rd, 2016

    I’ve enjoyed both running with & without music. Great post- shared to Twitter!

  • Donna (#)
    March 2nd, 2016

    I am a big fan of running with music, its the only way I can run. But lately we have had a string of weirdos in our area targeting running women (normally a very safe area), and I think it has become too dangerous to kind of switch off and listen to music. Which us super annoying!!

    • Charlotte (#)
      March 2nd, 2016

      oh no that’s terrible! in that case music would be a definite no! x stay safe!

  • karissa (#)
    March 2nd, 2016

    I am not a big fan of running but wish I was. Maybe I just need to find the right music.

  • Heather lawrence (#)
    March 2nd, 2016

    I love working out with music…I need something to distract me!
    I used to have an shuffle but I lost the charging cord and now it doesn’t work 🙁

  • Sarah (#)
    March 2nd, 2016

    Having music can definitely make things more complicated outside, which I think is why I prefer the treadmill, but sometimes it is so much nicer to do your workout outside in the sunshine and fresh air!

  • Idaintyit (#)
    March 2nd, 2016

    I am not a runner myself but I would definitely have to have music on if I was. My husband runs and always has music

  • laura londergan (#)
    March 2nd, 2016

    you are right. when I used to run I was always afraid to listen to music for fear of traffic, a dog chasing me, whatever – it inhibits your surroundings unfortunately.

  • tp keane (#)
    March 2nd, 2016

    I’m trying to work out more, and I find I need to occupy my brain. It’s just so boring, I have to do something else. Sometimes I’d strap my kindle to the treadmill and watch something.

  • Caro | The Twinkle Diaries (#)
    March 2nd, 2016

    I’ve tried but I just can’t run with music!!! I get cross at having to hold my iPod or get cross when it falls out of it’s holder — plus I get really distracted too!!! How do you keep your MP3 player stable enough to run, without it bothering you? xx

    • Charlotte (#)
      March 2nd, 2016

      I have a running pouch that clips around my waist to hold all of my necessary bits, I have also used the back pocket on my lycra trousers before (i can’t get on with the army holder ones though! nightmare)

  • Michaela Britton (#)
    March 2nd, 2016

    I must admit that I do prefer to run with the music on because it does give me motivation but totally understand re. what you say about safety which is why I only ever have one earpiece in and not on really loud x

  • Roxanne (#)
    March 2nd, 2016

    The only way I can run is with music. It helps me find a rhythm. Otherwise I run like a slug. LOL

  • Kara (#)
    March 2nd, 2016

    I swim and wish I could listen to music as I do it. I think music gives you a bit of extra motivation

    • Charlotte (#)
      March 2nd, 2016

      You can! you can get headphones that attach to your goggles and work by transfering music through the bones in your ears rather than actually in your ears! they are great my husband has them!

  • Kizzy (#)
    March 2nd, 2016

    I so wish I could run. My issue is safety where listening to music whilst out and about.

  • Candace (#)
    March 2nd, 2016

    I can see the benefits of running with music. For me, running really isn’t an option with my duisabilities

  • Claire (#)
    March 2nd, 2016

    I love running with music but since I usually have my kids in the stroller with me I don’t because it’s safer not to!

  • Debra (#)
    March 2nd, 2016

    I usually only run with music when I am running on the treadmill. I am always scared I am not going to hear something I need to when I am outside.

  • Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories (#)
    March 1st, 2016

    I’m pro music or audiobook when I walk. Though I don’t put it on loud enough where I can’t hear cars. I agree it’s a good distraction from how far/long I’ve been exercising and I need that!

  • Ness (#)
    March 1st, 2016

    I’ve never been keen on running or cycling to music. I feel it dictates the pace for me and makes it harder work.

  • Ana De- Jesus (#)
    March 1st, 2016

    I find that music helps and gives me the motivation but then again when it is warmer weather it can be peaceful to have some time out from reality. Great food for thought!

  • Fatima (#)
    March 1st, 2016

    I’ve always wondered whether or not it’s safe to run with headphones in. I used to it at the gym, but I never tried it out on the street. Never felt comfortable with the plugs in my ears.

  • Shelly @ Behind Blue Eyes (#)
    March 1st, 2016

    I for sure need music when I run. I like to listen to very upbeat music while running because I find myself running to a pace of the music. I cannot run without music…for every reason you listed as a pro.

  • Robin Masshole Mommy (#)
    March 1st, 2016

    I don’t like running, but if I do it, I have to do it with music. It helps get me through the misery 🙂

  • Amanda Love (#)
    March 1st, 2016

    I’ve found that I run a lot better with music but don’t play my music too loudly. I already have a mild hearing loss and would prefer to keep the little bit of hearing that I do have.

  • Carly Markham (#)
    March 1st, 2016

    I started running last year and really enjoyed it but I did find I had so much running through my mind. I stopped while it was winter but want to start again now and have asked for an ipod for my birthday next month to see if it helps me at all!

  • […] I’ve done a more in depth post about this aptly called: Should I run with music? […]

  • Emily (#)
    November 10th, 2015

    Hi Charlotte, I never realised there was so much to consciously consider about running with or without music! I used to run a lot, but have got out of the habit since having our daughter. When I used to run I mixed between running with and without music. I prefered running with music, but the only thing I ever got concerned about was my safety when running at night time with music and instead used to run without music so that I could hear my surroundings. I think there is a good argument for both, but my preference is still with music! Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays again, great to have you back for another week 🙂 Emily

  • Laura @ Life with Baby Kicks (#)
    November 10th, 2015

    I run a lot better with music, I hate running without as I find I give up a lot quicker there’s none of “just the end of the song” burst of energy. There is also no dodgy “run-dance” moves but hey, they add to the fun. #MarvellousMondays

  • Beth (#)
    November 9th, 2015

    When I used to go walking long distances last year I always used to wear headphones but only in one ear and always took it out at the roads. It helped me stay motivated x

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