The sound of silence

[Originally posted on Bristol Running Resource, 17/10/10]

Are you the type of person who distracts themselves with music on the run? Or someone who prefers the company of their own thoughts when on the move? I love listening to music in all sorts of situations – at work, on the train, in the house – but never on the run. I’m not quite sure why, but when running I’ve always preferred listening to whatever is going on around me. Even if that’s the sound of silence.

I only ask because it seems to me that music on the run can be a mixed blessing.

I was out on Friday evening at about 8pm for a 5 miler which took in part of the Downs. I ran past two or three lone female runners who were listening to music. I wasn’t running fast; they were running 10 minute miles at most. In one case I got within half a metre without the young woman even registering my presence. In another case the runner was so busy fiddling with her playlist a herd of wildebeest could probably have a stampeded up to her unnoticed.

Of course I just headed on past and on my way. But someone with more malign intent could very easily have caused some serious trouble in that situation.

I’m not generally an alarmist, but this doesn’t seem like a sensible position to put yourself in.

So if you’re running in the dark in a location with few other people around, maybe it would be worth enjoying the sound of silence – and as a byproduct not put yourself in quite such a vulnerable position.

Even better, why not find a running companion and enjoy some company on the way round? But that’s a topic for another day.

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