When I started running competitively I had no interest in listening to music with headphones. I always wanted to be focused on the run, listening carefully to my breathing and feet and also to just listen to mother nature. I loved hearing the sound of birds chirping in the morning or the leaves crunching under my feet on an Autumn day. It wasn’t until I ran a few 5k (3.1 mile) road races that I realized that music and cheering crowds actually help get me pumped up. In some road races there are “music stations” just like water stations that play loud music to get you motivated. Sometimes there are high school bands or even people just randomly playing music. Everyone seems to be in a better mood while passing through these areas even if they’re in pain, or at least I know I feel better. There always seems to be a different feeling flowing through my body while passing these music stations. I feel as if I could push the pace harder and not have any discomfort in doing so. These stations have helped me move through difficult sections of a race with ease and I loved every minute of it. Every time I didn’t hear music and all that could hear were feet hitting the pavement, I would find myself back to where I started, feeling kind of blah. It was like I was missing something in my run.
A few years ago I decided to try out listening to music while running. I purchased a pair of Jaybird Bluetooth Headphones because they were made to resist water and sweat and were made with athletes in mind. After creating several mixes on my phone, I finally got the hang of it and the results were exactly what I anticipated. I would push myself during a run, not too hard, but just enough to not be too uncomfortable. When one of my favorite songs came on I suddenly was ready to start bolting down the street. My stride would open up, my breathing felt great, and I had no real discomfort. My endorphins were firing on all cylinders and I felt amazing. This sensation didn’t last too long, but it got me through my run. I did some quick research after a couple of runs and realized that what I was experiencing was a runner’s high.* A runner’s high is triggered and experienced differently with everyone. Some runners experience it post workout, while others during. I realized that during my long distance runs, my trigger is music. This moment of bliss and pure relaxation doesn’t always occur and perhaps many runners may not get the chance to witness it right away. You just have to be patient and tap into that part of your brain and get motivated. Music may be all you need, or perhaps it’s cheering of friends or family. It could be the scent of fresh flowers during a Spring workout or a rainy day run where all you hear is the rain and your feet splashing through puddles. No matter what the trigger is, it is undoubtedly the best feeling during a run.
*A runner’s high is when endorphins, the natural opiates of the brain, as well as other natural chemicals in the body react and put you through a state of euphoria. It feels like you are taking pain killers and your run feels easy, exciting, and sometimes euphoric making you more relaxed*