Why You Should Ditch the Tunes While Training

There's lots of debate out there about whether or not you should listen to music while training.

Some people use their workouts and runs as a stress release, a chance to enjoy the surrounding sounds of nature. Others need Justin Bieber or Kanye West blasting in their ears to make it through the next mile.

More: Can Music Make You a Better Runner?

Some use music as a motivator, and music can certainly be motivating. It will definitely motivate you during a boot camp or Zumba class.

It can also be a great way to relax just before your endurance event. However, it can also have the opposite effect on your performance.

More: 31 Ways to Relax in 10 Minutes or Less

Music can limit your ability to focus on key elements in order to improve and remain pain/injury-free. So, for all you endurance athletes who "need" the beat between your ears, consider the following reasons to ditch the tunes.


Breathing is something we don't always think about because it's passive. However, focusing on diaphragmatic breathing (abdominal breathing) or expansion of the belly and not the chest, allows you to take in more oxygen by completely filling your lungs.

Without developing this style of breathing, athletes tend to breathe through their chest which is shallow breathing. Fast and efficient consumption and delivery of oxygen to the working muscles is crucial in endurance sports. Shallow or chest breathing will limit this process.

More: Breathing Techniques to Improve Your Performance

Abdominal breathing will also keep you calm and relaxed. And, let's be honest, focusing on diaphragmatic breathing might be challenging if you're singing Lady GaGa's, "I was born this way...!"


Many runners struggle with cadence and leg lift. And it's difficult to hear the friction of your feet on the ground if all you hear is Eminem screaming at you.

Next time you go on a run without your music, listen for the sounds of scuffing and "pulling off".

The sound of scuffing generally means you are not lifting your legs and therefore your shoes are dragging on the ground. Some call it the Ironman shuffle. It can also be a result of slow cadence. Slow cadence equals more impact on the ground, which leads to more strain on the body.

More: Do You Have Bad Running Form?

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About the Author

Nick Clark

Nick Clark is a regional educator for Newton Running and a performance coach for Clark Endurance Training. For more information on his coaching services, go to www.clarkendurance.com.

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