Ask A Marathon Mommy: Please Don’t Stop the Music!

Sharon is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a background in mental health, substance abuse, and child welfare.

“I tried my hand at being a work at home mom, but in 2009 I decided that being a stay at home mom is what works best for me and my family, at least for now. As my kids like to say, I’m “The Boss” of the family, which includes my husband of 9 years, two daughters (ages 4 and 6), and a giant goldfish named Princess Leia. My girls are beautiful and curious and wild and exhausting, and life is never, ever dull! I love reading, traveling, trying new restaurants, and shopping for bargains. I’m also training to run my first marathon in February 2013.”

Please Don’t Stop the Music!

Every Saturday morning at 6:00 a.m., you can find a large group of runners gathered in the parking lot of a sporting goods store. We stand in the darkness, beneath the moon and the stars, chatting sleepily, stretching, and searching for bathrooms. Many of us are dressed in pink. Then one of our program directors kicks off our run with a pep talk, like this one by local celebrity and former TV news anchor Donna Deegan, a three-time breast cancer survivor and founder of 26.2 with Donna and The Donna Foundation.

Yesterday’s pep talk was as inspirational as always. But it also included some unwelcome news. We were told that headphones are not permitted on group runs. Okay, safety first. I get it. But no headphones = no music. And running without music? Unthinkable!!!

I decided that I was going to use my headphones anyway (because I’m a rebel like that). I hid them in my clothes, all ninja-like. That lasted about five minutes. Then I got worried that I’d get in trouble and took them off (because I’m totally not a rebel at all). And so I ran 10 miles with no music. It wasn’t horrible. The group’s chit chat filled the quiet and mostly hid the sound of my breathing and my feet hitting the pavement, which is what I use the music to block out. Because there’s nothing like those sounds to remind you of Every. Single. Step.

When I first started running, I did nearly all of my training indoors on a treadmill, in front of a television. That was fun! But when I began training for the marathon, it was time to recognize that there would be no TV screens playing reruns of “Will and Grace” on the race course. So I started training myself to run with music instead. It took a couple weeks, but I made the transition to my iPod and Pandora, and now I actually prefer it.

I like to listen to two different types of music when I run, depending on my mood and the intensity of the run. For shorter, more mellow runs, I like Counting Crows, Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, and pop/rock from my college years (The Wallflowers, Third Eye Blind, Sister Hazel, etc.). When I need something more high energy, I go for Britney Spears, the Black Eyed Peas, Nicki Minaj, Destiny’s Child, etc.

What about you? What music do you like to listen to when you run or work out?

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