A couple of weeks ago my friend Davina and I ran the women’s race in Bern Switzerland. Before we set off Davina got her headphones ready. She told me that she uses an app that plays music to match her speed and rhythm as she runs, and it keeps her going.
I don’t use headphones when I run, so the other day when I set of for my Sunday morning run I started thinking about why I preferred to run without listening to music. As I first set out I heard the local town church bells ringing, telling me the time was 8.30. After two minutes I was in the countryside and not only could I hear the plod of my feet on the pavement (I am not a professional runner): I also noticed birds tweeting and chattering and my hair rustling over my ears.
As I passed a barn I heard the muted sound of cowbells from inside, and then the gentle hum of a car passing by. I know this all sounds a little too idyllic, but I live in Switzerland and the cows really do wear bells!
All of these sounds have a part to play in telling me where I am, what I am doing, alerting me to any danger I might be in and sometimes just making me feel good. Hearing crickets chirping in the long grass is the sound of summer and holidays to me. If I didn’t hear this sound again it would take away a small but happy memory from me.
I was speaking to a friend and colleague of mine who has a severe hearing loss and wears hearing aids. She said that she always has to put a finger in the top of a cup of jug when she is filling it with water to check that she doesn’t overfill it. When I asked why, she said she has never been able to hear the change in sound as the water reaches the top of the glass, and if she is not concentrating 100% on the glass, she will overfill and spill water everywhere.
This also made me think about the expression “what you don’t hear you don’t miss.” While this may be true, you can certainly miss out on experiences that most of us take for granted.
So if you go out for a run or a jog, slow down, take a step back and take the time to listen to the soundtrack of your run. It may not improve your speed or fitness but it will certainly make your run more fun.