Music or Silence: Having got as far as W... - Couch to 5K

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Music or Silence

VeganDave profile image

Having got as far as W8 without using headphones, I see a few runners out there wearing headphones, and I wonder if they’re an advantage or not. I’m happy not listening to music and focus on my surroundings, breathing and pace. What’s the opinion, use headphones or not? I expect this has been asked numerous times.

66 Replies
Instructor57 profile image

I'm guessing you use headphones or earbuds to listen to the app ?I only started to listen to music from week 6 run 3 (the first 25 Min run)

Sometimes I don't listen , and just enjoy the run but still wear my earbuds as I often use the NRC Guided runs

What are the NRC guided runs?

Instructor57 profile image
Instructor57Ambassador in reply to Louise084

NRC = Nike Run Club appWhich has guided runs for various times or distances, lots of motivational runs , 🙂

Voldatort profile image
VoldatortGraduate in reply to Louise084

As instructor 57 explains, it's free and you can overlay your own music. I use them all the time.

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to Instructor57

No headphones or buds, I have my iPhone strapped to my arm so anyone within earshot can hear it.

Instructor57 profile image
Instructor57Ambassador in reply to VeganDave

Ahh ok , I see 👍

Running-rings profile image
Running-ringsGraduate in reply to VeganDave

I've my phone on loud enough to hear from my pocket cause I have teeny ears and find it hard to get buds to fit. I like having the environmental sound from a road safety and nature point of view. I listen to music but if there are cars or lorries going past I can't hear a thing so it wasn't great when trying to hear Laura! I do like the music to keep my pace from jumping around the place, and I find a good song from the ole college years motivational!😁🐦🍃🎶

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to Running-rings

I don’t use buds or headphones, my iPhone is strapped to my upper arm and I just listen to Laura, though I have passed people as Laura starts talking! They probably think I have a personal trainer, which Laura is really. As I run on pavement, and have to cross one road, I like to listen to the traffic for safety’s sake, I don’t want to get to W9R2 and get run over!!

Running-rings profile image
Running-ringsGraduate in reply to VeganDave

I've been pondering getting an arm strap thingy cause my only top with pockets is too warm for this weather and the bumbag waistband thingy is just not working for me! Ya I'm very conscious of potential cars turning at junctions. I usually do a wide curve in so I can look all around just in case!

Bruuuce profile image
Bruuuce in reply to VeganDave

I hold mine in my hand. It has surprised passersby 🤣

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to Bruuuce

I’ve surprised a few people too in passing, mine s strapped to my arm.

Music for me, helps me zone out 😊

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to Dee2609

No headphones for me, I just listen to my aching joints!

I love music, especially fast beat stuff to keep me going

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to Louise084

I did think about buying a pair but probably won’t.

sparky66 profile image

Got to have my music on my runs.. 🎶🎵🎧 Helps my pace, keeps me entertained and makes my longer runs more fun 🏃‍♀️

I started listen to music around week 4 and now can’t run without music. My iPhone sits In my pocket with earphones plugged in, I don’t particularly listen to much music these days other than whilst running. I also usually have c25k on and if doing a 5k run I also have MapMyRun going in the background. Technology hey sometimes it’s good. If I lived in the countryside I’d be tempted to run without music now and again. Hope you find your bliss either way VeganDave

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to PlasticUnitedFan

As an ‘old’ runner I’m happy to run without music, I ran decades ago when all there was, was a transistor radio! I was just interested in what other runners like. Happy running, keep safe.

Hi. I have just finished week 4. I didn’t have music for the first 3 weeks. When I put the music on for week 4, I just felt lifted. But I do have a real love of music. I didn’t have the volume up enough to block out the noise from my surroundings

Rumour profile image

Why not have the best of both worlds. Music and the sounds around you. For about the same price as the ridiculously price Apple buds, you can get top of the range Aftershokz. They are bone inducting so don't block your ears. You can still hear traffic and all around you plus you can hear the music, podcast or instruction. They start at around £67 and go up to £150 for the waterproof top of the range. Still some £45 cheaper than the Apple product.

Yebam profile image
YebamGraduate in reply to Rumour

I was recently given a set of these for my birthday and they are great. I could actually hear what people were saying to me as I ran past them, so I wasn't rude and ignored them as before. You can hear everything around you and if needs be can pause the music with a touch of a button. Personally I listen to podcasts and audio books while out and about as you don't feel you have to keep up with any beat.

Newbie59 profile image
Newbie59Graduate in reply to Rumour

I play music and used to wear ear buds but then got Aftershokz after reading about them on this forum. They are great, I use them around the house all the time to listen to podcasts, so comfortable I forget I've got them on :)

Berkshirebabe profile image
BerkshirebabeGraduate in reply to Rumour

Agreed - went for Aeroplex model and totally happy with them. Nice not to have buds in the ears and still have great sound. And no wires as it’s connected by Bluetooth

MooGreen profile image
MooGreen in reply to Rumour

Ditto from me too. I invested in the Aftershox which you download music onto. Lovely & easy to slip on for early morning runs before I'm properly awake & no phone to worry about. Much easier than earbuds if you feel like stopping for a chat as well or listening to the birds :0)

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to MooGreen

Something to think about after C25K ends next week. 🤔

In the beginning I just listened to nature and my surroundings then started listening to music on the 25 minute run in week 5. I’m converted! I’ve tried long continuous mixes but my current favourite is Motown, very uplifting and I can use the number of songs to roughly monitor my progress. I run in open countryside so don’t have to worry about traffic. If it was in town I’d probably want to pay more attention.

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to Oldbadknees

I like Motown, or anything from the 60’s, but I’ll still run without music.

KJB72 profile image

Out at 6:15am today. No music. Just quiet time. Plenty birdsong 🎶 Lovely 😊

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to KJB72

I agree with you, best without music when nature sings along.

Arrabida profile image

I find the beat helpful to get into a running rhythm. But now I can’t run without music.....

Hi Vegan Dave,I found wearing headphones all I could hear was my heavy breathing, much more comfortable without,

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to Legs10

I agree, I listen to my legs complaining and sometimes I have a chat with someone I know during the cool down walk, not good with headphones.

san_ray70 profile image
san_ray70 in reply to VeganDave

Have you seen what the kids are wearing, blue tooth ear pieces, they are tiny. My grandson bought some the other day from his part time job.

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to san_ray70

Technology in overdrive. I don’t know if I’d be distracted listening to music or podcasts. I don’t think I’ll wear headphones, or other device.

Vanguard12 profile image

I do use headphones, but with only the app running so it’s mostly silence. As others have said, it’s good for hearing traffic coming and nice to engage with nature a bit - birdsong, wind, rain!. Another benefit I’ve found is that if I bump into anyone I know, particularly in the warm up or cool down walks, they are less likely to want to stop for a chat if I’ve got headphones on, so I don’t get the walking interrupted. I guess in the end it’s just a personal thing so experiment with and without and see what you like best.

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to Vanguard12

Good point, I often chat during/after cool down walk.

Newbie59 profile image
Newbie59Graduate in reply to Vanguard12

I agree with that, I once met a neighbour just into my warm up walk on a freezing cold morning. After 5 minutes chat I'd lost all my body heat and it was a terrible run :( but I didn't want to go back home and warm up again.

Sisteract5 profile image

I listen to podcast detective type stuff whilst running - helps me not think about my legs which, invariably, are trying to tell me that they are far too heavy to run!!

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to Sisteract5

I think I’ll continue listening to traffic, my legs have given up moaning!

PollyGray profile image

I do listen to music VeganDave but recently someone on here mentioned listening to pod casts which I tried and I find it really interesting plus listening to pod casts stop me running too fast.

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to PollyGray

I think I’ll still do without headphones. If I get up to an hours running I might change, but I can cope ok for a 30 min run.

backintime profile image

Another vote for Aftershokz here - I can hear music, I can hear traffic, I can answer phone calls - I thought they would be annoying, but honestly I don't even feel them anymore.

I have a skin sensitivity to rubber / latex or something as the in the ear buds give me ear eczema or something, itchy, peeling ear where they touch, yuk.

I tried the arm strap and didn't like it, so I bought some Decathlon joggers with the zip pocket at the back of the waist which my phone fits in safe and sound and I can hear it shout at me if I don't want to wear earphones or if I've forgotten to charge them

I think you just have to do what works for you!

Richard7 profile image

I have no idea which is better and am no authority having spent the last couple of years using headphones on every run!!

But I had a lovely run this weekend when I turned my headphones off and listened to my surroundings.

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to Richard7

Yes, I too like to listen to my surroundings, though much of it is traffic, U feel more in tune with nature without headphones.

I don’t listen to music myself because I like to be able to hear what’s going on around me. Personally I feel safer that way. I even hold my phone and listen to the app ‘aloud’ which sometimes surprises passers by🤣. I have tried music at a very low volume but it puts me off my stride somehow. If I were you I might give it a try and see what you think.

You seem to be doing fine without. When I first started I was holding my phone in my hand and listening to the speaker (I used Sarah Millican) but as I run around the park and do the same route, it can get a bit boring so I started listening to music to help me along. That's when I bought an armband and started using headphones too. It's now switched to a waistband/bum bag. TBH, once I'd got past the first nine weeks and then didn't have a motivational voice cheering me on, I think I'd have given up if I hadn't had music.

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to Crolla

That’s a good point, after C25K podcasts there is nothing to listen to. I shall wait until after the course to see if I get bored.

I bought some wireless ones so i could hear Laura guiding me through c25k, the wired ones kept falling out, I've tried music but like you prefer being at one with my environment, have listened to some podcasts which helped pass the time but always gravitate back to nature, i think some people cannot survive without noise, chat or song and if you get the beat right it may help with your activities but for me it ends up just annoying noise, great birdsong right now here in sunny Norfolk uk 😎

nowster profile image

A mixture of podcasts and recorded radio shows via Aftershokx headphones for me.

I don't tend to lock on to the beat of music unless it's very close to the cadence I'm running.

Initially I listened to music, well actually it was often the Archers omnibus ☺️, as I just carried on after listening to something after C25K.

Having then developed epilepsy 3 years ago in my mid 40s I ended up buying an Apple watch so I sometimes still listen to something and it’s great not needing to take my phone.

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to Fitzy110

Stay safe and enjoy your runs. I don’t listen to anything, no headphones no podcasts.

LesleyLiv profile image

I wore my phone in my jacket pocket and listened with earphones when I was doing the nine weeks, once graduated I started listening to podcasts etc........ As the weather warmed I slipped my phone in the thigh pocket of my leggings.......... and then my phone inadvertently called for an AMBULANCE!

I know these smart phones are clever but my God! I was a bit breathless but really! 🤣🤣🤣

I listen to the birds singing now! 🤣🤣🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to LesleyLiv

Did the ambulance catch you up!! 😂😂🤣🤣

Reggit profile image

I used earphones/music during C25k and for a couple of weeks after (repeated week 9), after that decided to try without and prefer to be able to hear my surroundings/cars and tractors on a narrow country road that’s on one of my routes.

Been debating trying a podcast again, but after 10 months without, I’ll probably not bother.

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to Reggit

I think I agree with you. I haven’t used headphones yet as I run on a pavement with traffic and I have to cross the road twice during my run. As my iPhone is strapped to my arm, I might try listening to the radio, I don’t pass many people and they’d have to be close to hear it.

Wawacito profile image

Did the C25K listening to the podcast with Laura and could not have done without it.

The beat of the music helped me to fall into a steady rhythm which again helped my breathing.

I am doing consolidation week 3 this week and have put together a library of songs with 155-159bpm with Prime music to keep me going. An acquaintance of mine, however, cannot run while listening to music.

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to Wawacito

It is a choice we runners have to take, I listen to Laura motivating me on my run, I don’t have headphones, but I might try listening to the radio as my phone is strapped to my arm on tomorrow’s run.

I started running round the block and walking a bit when I got tired but my brother recommended the app and am now into week 7. Always hated headphones in my ears and did try with some that hooked around my ears with my phone case strapped to my arm but connection wasn’t great and it sometimes made the podcast change speed or Siri would interrupt which just made me swear at my phone and was not helpful. However my son gave me some headphones which are supposed to be for sleeping that are in a cloth stretchy band so nothing goes into your ears and also keeps my hair out of my eyes. Sometimes wonder at the choice of music especially “it makes me go red” and “it’s so easy” which sounds like “it’s so wheezy” but the rhythm and the you have got one minute left etc makes it easier to run....

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to Elter321

I don’t wear any headphones or buds, I did think of buying some but prefer to listen to the noise around me which is mainly traffic.

Frenc profile image

Headphones all the way for me! I need music interspersed with Coach Bennett asking me how I am. Also once the music starts, it puts me in the right head space - as though I’ve flipped a switch. It’s all down to personal preference really, and I also much prefer not to be able to hear myself clomping along and puffing like a little train 🚂 😆.

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to Frenc

I’ll probably continue to run without headphones unless I start to run 10k. I also run on a pavement with heavy road traffic and have to cross the road twice.

sTrongFuse profile image

Depends on my mood, the weather conditions and length of run. I have a pair of bone conducting headphones for those times I choose to listen to music as I hate anything being in my ear. That said, sometimes they run out of charge because I forget to plug them in in which case the music just blasts out of my phone.For runs up to 10k, I find it doesn't make much odds if I listen to music or not. For 10 mile/HM distance, it does definitely help pass the time.

It's really just preference. There's no right or wrong as we're all different.

You don't have to listen to music, you can just listen to your coach.

I have Laura in my ears but when I run where I normally run I do not need to think about cars reversing from driveways, junctions and other pedestrians only an ankle biting dog so I am more comfortable in getting lost in an audio book. I should confess I have headphones in almost permanently as I do not like peripheral noise.

VeganDave profile image
VeganDaveGraduate in reply to amisfit

An audio book sounds a good idea worth investigating.

Yeah I have listened to a lot over the years but I think you have to be in the right environment such as a quiet park. I have had to start again due to illness so I run with one headphone in for instructions from Laura and the other out to hear cars, tractors etc as I am more limited where I am now. Once I am out of recovery and graduated again I'll find another very quiet spot and get back to podcasts and/or audiobooks. There is a lot of stuff on BBC Sounds.

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