Hi, my name is Sean and I’m addicted to my headphones.
I’ve been running with headphones for almost three years. Music pumping, beats thumping, it carries me to a different place while I run. I love it when the 30 Seconds to Mars’ song Kings and Queens comes on my playlist and charges me up. If I’m alone, I will sing out loud. Sometimes I even forget that I’m not alone and you’ll hear me hum a tune!
I couldn’t live without my headphones!
Or so I thought.
After training and competing in the Redman Half Ironman last year, I realized that I wanted to be much more involved in triathlon. And for the sake of safety, triathlons do not allow headphones, earbuds, or music of any kind during competition.
I’m not here to argue that point. I totally agree with them. Triathlons are dangerous and allowing a racer to wear earbuds while riding a bike at 40+ mph is downright reckless.
I use my headphones to help me with my cadence while running. I set up a playlist that contains the beats per minute I want to achieve. As I stride along, I can rely on the music to keep me at pace.
But all of this changed on January 1st when I dumped the headphones, and I’m so much happier I did.
The addiction was real. There was separation anxiety, depression, nausea. It all led to loss of appetite and experimentation with controlled substances.
Ok, I kid! But seriously, the addiction was quite real, and it was tough to overcome. I had to come up with new ways to handle my rhythm and cadence. Since breathing correctly is so important in long distance running, I’m having to work at it very hard and come up with creative ways to stay on track.
There are many reasons I dumped those headphones, the main reason being triathlon. But running without them has many benefits that just outweigh the need to wear them. I can now hold a conversation with my running partner. Before, I was alone in my own little world where I would escape. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but running on a busy road or trail while daydreaming about the song blasting in your ears can be dangerous.
When I was in the military, I started to realize why the drill sergeant would call cadence. It wasn’t just so we would all stay in formation at the same pace. Calling cadence helped our breathing; chatting with your running partner has the same benefit. Yes it’s tiring. Yes you will find it difficult. But so what? There’s benefit and that’s all that matters.
My advice? Dump the headphones.
Make the change slowly. I think you’ll eventually get to the point where you’ll love it. And the best benefit is that I can now hear that car….or dog….creeping up behind me!