6 Reasons to Run Without Music

An upbeat playlist can be an awesome distraction for your long runs. Music can also provide motivation during workouts. But blocking off your sense of hearing can also be unsafe in certain running conditions.

If you can't listen to music, there are other ways to push yourself through a tough run. And there are some benefits to running without music. If you typically run with tunes, try leaving the earbuds at home from time to time.

Better Social Engagement

People running on the treadmill at the gym
andresr / Getty

For many runners, the miles tick by faster when they hit the road alone. The running experience provides peace and solitude. But sometimes, it is smart to make running dates with friends or join a running group as a change of pace—literally and figuratively.

You might challenge yourself to run faster when you run with a group. And running with (new) friends can bust boredom.

Long runs, especially, are a great opportunity to run with others because you should learn how to run at a conversational pace. And chatting with others during runs is a great way to learn new running tips and get advice or reviews on running gear.

Improved Focus

Running can help you clear your mind to focus on a single subject. Use your running time to think about new career opportunities, healthy meals to cook, activities for your kids, or gift ideas for relatives or friends.

You might also need to work through a relationship problem or brainstorm creative solutions to a challenge at work or with family. Studies have shown that exercise increases our ability to problem solve. If you run inside on a treadmill, you can even keep a notebook handy to jot down ideas after (or during) your run.

Elevated Wellness

Researchers have found that exercising outdoors provides benefits beyond the exercise-induced advantages that you already gain from running.

Exposure to green space boosts your senses, improves mood, enhances a feeling of well-being and self-esteem. It may also help to decrease blood pressure and provide other heart-healthy benefits.

While simply being outside can provide some of these advantages, really experiencing nature can boost them even more. When you turn off the music, you enhance your sensory experience. Listening to birds, the breeze, or water flowing can help you to fully appreciate your nature experience and realize all that it can do for you.

Increased Performance

If you typically do most of your runs at the same pace with music, try mixing it up with some speed or hill work without music. When you do a structured workout, such as an interval workout or hill repeats, turning off the music will allow you to focus on the metrics that matter. You can dial into your pace, the distance, or the incline to achieve results.

Also, focusing on each interval or hill helps the workout go by quickly. You don't get bored because you're also focusing on getting through each repeat.

Improved Safety

Running without music is one of the smartest ways to run more safely—especially if you run in the early morning or evening when it is dark. In a perfect world, cars, cyclists, and other traffic would see runners all of the time and steer clear so that the runner stays safe. But that isn't always the case.

If you turn off the music, you can hear oncoming cars, bike riders, or other traffic noises that give you advance notice to get out of the way.

Greater Enjoyment

Many runners have type-A personalities. They complete tasks and tick them in a measured fashion—often with notes about performance. Running fits in well with this lifestyle because each run comes with metrics such as pace and distance.

But sometimes, it is smart to simply run for the pure enjoyment of running. Let your body (rather than the tempo of the music) guide your pace. Dial into the sound of your breath with your footsteps. Think about how good it feels to be active and healthy.

Chances are good that you will feel energized and thankful for your commitment to the sport when you're done.

2 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Sone T, Kawachi Y, Abe C, Otomo Y, Sung Y, Ogawa S. Attitude and practice of physical activity and social problem-solving ability among university students. Environ Health Prevent Med. 2017;22(1):18. doi:10.1186/s12199-017-0625-8

  2. Gladwell VF, Brown DK, Wood C, Sandercock GR, Barton JL. The great outdoors: How a green exercise environment can benefit all. Extreme Physiol Med. 2013;2(1):3. doi:10.1186/2046-7648-2-3

Additional Reading

By Christine Luff, ACE-CPT
Christine Many Luff is a personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, and Road Runners Club of America Certified Coach.