Recently, I've been running without music--no 80s nostalgia playlists, no EDM sessions, no new jack swing back to the 90s with TLC and Bobby Brown.
I'm a huge music lover, so I kind of miss hearing music when I run. But it was getting to the point where picking the playlist, ordering the tunes, getting the headphones on (how you earbud people keep them in??), and all that jazz (see what I did there) was getting to be a true bother.
When I first started running, I didn't use music at all. Then I discovered Motion Traxx and Podrunner, podcasts specifically designed to help with running. Then, I fell down a rabbit hole of downloads, mixtapes, dj cuts, and podcasts. I learned about music genres that I hadn't followed much before (EDM, House, electro swing) and trotted many miles to other people's beats.
I may return soon to running again with music, but it's a relief to know that I can get out there and run without having to have music. Without the distraction of music, I'm much more aware of my surroundings--which often include animals, cars, cyclists, dogwalkers, etc. I think about all sorts of things when I'm out running, and often, random songs will pop into my mind anyway. My brain is a treasure trove of pop music from several decades, so I never know what will pop into my head--the B52s, Motion City Soundtrack, Jeffrey Osbourne--who knows?
Mostly, I listen to the rhythm of my own footsteps, the sound of my own breath. I have been using the 10:1 walk ratio promoted by Running Room stores (http://runningroom.com/hm/) and finding it just the thing I needed to get back to runs of five miles or more. I'm not thinking about racing right now, but am enjoying running longer without stopping.
Here's more information on the 10:1 walk ratio:
Whether you choose music or silence or the chatter of a running partner, enjoy the ride!