Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I run naked.

I wonder how many people are reading this wondering if I'm actually running nude? If you are, please stop being a perv. By naked I mean without technology. Sans iPod. Sans watch. Just enjoying the scenery without musical enhancement. I am a naked runner, and I can't imagine it any other way.

I don't run with my iPod outside (only on a treadmill out of boredom), and although I've tried it a few times I'm not a fan. I like the sounds that accompany running - dogs barking, kids playing, the sound of fall leaves crunching under my feet. When I have music on I feel insulated from the world, and it feels lonely. It also feels slightly unsafe. Sometimes in the morning when I still feel half asleep I worry that someone is going to attack me from behind. If I was listening to music I'd never hear them coming.

This time of year it's a real challenge to stay motivated. It's dark when I get up, and it's dark when I get home from work. Here in Michigan the streets and sidewalks get icy, and they won't thaw entirely until spring. There's always a surprise patch of ice waiting to trip you up. My runs outside are a little slower, a lot more cautious, and they require all of my attention. Running with music just feels unsafe this time of year.

Sometimes I'll run on the treadmill, but I really REALLY hate it. I pretty much only do it when it's extremely icy or there is heavy snow or rain. Otherwise I tough it out - just me and the road with no music. 

A number of races discourage runners from listening to music, and I totally agree. I've been running behind runners in a crowded field who are listening to music and stop right in front of you without knowing you're behind them. There's a lack of awareness of the course, and it can be very frustrating. For me there's an atmosphere to race day - the magic of the start, spectators, enjoying the scenery and being in the moment. Music takes that away for me.

I know so many people who run with music and tied to their watch. We all have to do what works for us. But for me, it's definitely running naked.

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