Bring Headphones or Leave Them at Home?

When I see people out running I notice something that almost all of them share in common: headphones.

I have always wondered why people choose to use headphones when running. In high school, my cross-country coach didn’t let us listen to music during practice because we had to run as a team. Since then I rarely bring music with me. My question is why do people need music to go run when running could be more of a peaceful venture.

When I asked, students at Cal Poly told me they choose to bring Skrillex, Blink-182, and Eminem along for the journey. I figured out why people choose to bound to the beat.

Junior Hillary Trauth said, “listening to music distracts me from the pain of running and helps me get in the zone.” Trauth says that she usually listens to r&b like Usher on Pandora Radio Station.

Hillary Trauth showed me her impressive running form.

Kendra Gartrell , Cal Poly sophomore, listens to music stations on Pandora so she can change up the music. She likes, “upbeat catchy music like Eminem and 3OH!3.”

“If I had to choose one song to listen to when I run it would be I Just Wanna Run by The Downtown Fiction.”

I also asked students if they would still listen to music even if they are running with a friend. Would it be impolite to bring your headphones or it is socially acceptable?

When I talked to fifth year Michael Meyer and third year Joe Azzopardy they both agreed that it depends on who they are running with. Meyer said, “I probably wouldn’t listen to music if I was running with a girl. If it was a guy then I’m not not down to listen to music.”

Joe Azzopardy carrying friend Michael Meyer

Joe Azzopardy carrying friend Michael Meyer

Wes Goodson, a Cal Poly sophomore who was previously on the Cal Poly Swim Team said he listens to music while he runs because, “it is much more interesting for me than listening to myself breath asthmatically.”

Goodson said that he likes to listen to March To The Sea by Pelican because it is a really long song that is easy to listen to.

One Exception

Every student I interviewed said that they listen to music when they run; except for one. Cal Poly senior Alex Cagwin, an ex Cal Poly Distance Club runner, said that he has listened to music while running only, “five times and I’ve ran for 6 years.” If he had to choose a song to listen to it would be In My Mind Axwell Remix by Ivan Gough & Feenixpawl feat. Georgi Kay.

I find it distracting because for me I feel like running is meditation. -Alex Cagwin

Alex Cagwin running in uniform, no headphones to be seen.

After talking to Cal Poly students I have found that music is what keeps them running, and without it they lose motivation. The exception is students who have been competitively running because they usually don’t listen to music when competing or practicing with their teammates.

Whether it takes music or not, it only matters if you have the motivation.

Running Playlists

With all of this talk of listening to music while running, I thought it would be helpful to include a couple playlists. All five are on which is comparable with Pandora. 8tracks doesn’t have any commercials, its free, and you can make your own playlist if you create an account. Here are a few of my favorites that you could try out running (remix)Sweat It Out, Run Forest Run, Sweat Baby, Sweat Baby,  and Dubstep Workout Mix (Part 2).

Don’t forget, the second Trail of the Week will be posted on Sunday.


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