How to Run Without Music

Tips for Beating Boredom

Upbeat and fun tunes can be an awesome distraction and motivation boost. But blocking off your sense of hearing can also be unsafe in certain running conditions.

If you can't listen to music, there are plenty of other ways to push yourself through tough runs. So if you typically run with tunes and you'd like to do some of your runs sans music, here are some strategies to try to avoid feeling bored or unmotivated.

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Whenever I run with others, the miles seem to go by much faster than when I'm running by myself. Make running dates with friends or join a running group so you're not always going solo. Long runs especially are a great opportunity to run with others because you should be running 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.

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Brainstorm Ideas

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Running can help you clear your mind and just give you a chance to really focus on a subject. Use your running time to think about anything from new topics to write about, meals to cook, activities for your kids to do, or gift ideas for relatives or friends. If you run inside, you can even keep a notebook next to your treadmill to jot down an idea after (or during) your run.

Run Off Some Steam

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If you're stressed or angry about something, running might make you feel better. Turning up the volume on your iPod also seems like a good idea, but it doesn't give you a chance to think about the situation and hopefully let it go. A running break helps you get away from the situation and think more clearly about it. And often the run can give you the perspective to realize it's not something that you should be that angry or worried about after all.

Focus on the Workout and Your Performance

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Often if you're doing a very structured workout, such as an interval workout or hill repeats, the workout goes by very quickly, and you don't get bored because you're also focusing on something — the time, your pace, the recovery. If you typically do most of your runs at the same, easy pace, try mixing it up with some speed work.

Solve Problems

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Running gives you uninterrupted, peaceful time to think deeply and productively about something you want to fix, whether it's a professional or personal issue. You're able to forget about other concerns and really just focus on the problem and possible solutions.

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Music can help you completely zone out, but you can do the opposite when running without it. Try really paying attention to the sights and sounds you're passing. This is usually pretty easy to do if you're running in a race and there are lots of other runners, spectators, and other distractions around. Being more attuned to your surroundings can prevent boredom and also make you appreciate being able to run.​

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