Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Sound of Silence

My standard pre-run prep is pretty ingrained in my at this point. Fill my water bottles, clip my keys into my pack, pick my music for my run and then hit the road. But today, I decided I was going to do something a little different. Unprecedented for my training, in fact.

I ran in silence.

I have to tell you, it was oddly peaceful. It is nice to have some good tunes to take your mind off of things, but the silence added a whole new dimension to my time on the path. It was windy here today, and I listened to the waves of the lake crashing against the breakers. I was acutely aware of when bikers or runners were coming up behind me. And when it began to rain (which it certainly did), I was able to enjoy the sound of the rainfall as much as one can while getting rained on.

I found I didn't miss the music too much. In fact, I found myself singing a song in my head that matched my cadence, and that seemed to work just fine. I'm not sure why I decided to leave the iphone home today, but I went for it.

However, this idea of running without music has been on my mind for the last few days. I just finished reading a chapter in my book about the thrill of the first marathon, and the author comments that when he asks lots of first time, big city marathoners, many say they train with music but never run with it on race day. There's to much to see, hear, and take in, and some of the experience is lost if you can't use all your senses.

This is probably a good plan overall, since I'll have a running buddy that will no doubt want to talk to me now and then... and it's impossible to have a conversation with my headphones in.

I know that many parts of the course will be bustling, but not all. I've talked to a few people who have run this in the past, and state that there a few less interesting stretches, but overall I anticipate the streets being lined with well-wishers and cheerleaders, and I'm sure I'll be eager for any support I can get circa mile 20.

I'm not sure I'm totally sold on running without music... I still need to ponder it a bit. But I have to say, there was something oddly calming about just running quietly with nothing but my own thoughts. We rarely get time in our days that is solely for ourselves, and it was nice to grab 50 minutes of peaceful silence.

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