Do You Music?

I am not just irreligious in my tendencies, but also areligious. I want to change my mind all the time to reflect my growing experience, to open myself to the possibility of being wrong, maybe even very wrong. The sorts of strictures and dogma that go along with religions, by definition, don’t really jibe with how I’m trying to be.

For example, I don’t think you should listen to music while you run in the woods. The purist in me can almost get angry about this, but you know I love music. When John wrote about cranking up the heavy riffs and heading into the woods the other day, I could see (hear?) the appeal.

I think I maintain the view that the woods can’t subsume me in quite the way I like them to if I’m not tuned into both the sights and the sounds. The trail isn’t a place for digital distraction.

Am I wrong?

If I ride the trainer in the basement, sitting there in one place, cranking out the watts, I like music. I like very loud, very chaotic music. Somewhere, there in the miasma of sound, I can find a peaceful, even meditative place. It’s counter-intuitive, probably, but maybe it’s like ritalin for the hyperactive. My mind needs to be overloaded in some way to become clear.

I don’t need this in the woods. In the woods, there’s plenty to think about. The trail demands a lot of attention.

On the road, that’s another story. Road running is like purgatory. You’re just there, alone with the work, very little to distract you from getting tired or straining against a long, straight hill. I’d advocate music for road running.

But I don’t want to get religious about anything. What do you think? Do you music? When? Where?

4 thoughts on “Do You Music?

Add yours

  1. I music from my head. Sometimes, I hear a riff over and over. It may be an earworm planted by the radio or one of the kids. It may be a tune I’m trying to find enough of to identify so I can listen to it properly when I’ve gotten back to external sources. Sometimes, I make up the rhythms and beats myself. I may even audibilize them. (I think I invented that word.)

    But, I think I only music from my head in two circumstances. The first is when I’m going ‘easy’ and need additional distraction. The second is when I’m on the verge of flow, but not there yet. On the verge, I think I’m probably getting a little anxious and I know what’s about to happen so I distract ‘safe’ me so I can get there. Once I’m there, though, the head music fades. It’s road/trail/breath music from then on.


  2. You can music or not music. No teams necessary. Sometimes one feels the urge to music and other times not. Sometimes music is more “useful” than the sneakers on your feet. Sometimes music is annoying bc you have to carry headphones and your stupid phone. I think, however, when you music in the woods you just do a different thing: not bad, just different. Sometimes I like plain lays potato chips. Sometimes I like kettle cooked mesquite bbq chips. Both chips are awesome, yet they are qualitatively different.


  3. I do not music. Not even on road runs. I find running to be really meditative, and a blank brain is as much the experience as tired muscles are for me. When I was running big mileage – 3-ish hours, I was always astounded how fast the time went. I could probably get angry about it too, but instead I’ll just try to evangelize a little.


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