Going into what feels like my fourth serious training cycle somewhere in my second year of more intense running (as opposed to the 3-mile run 3-times-a-week habit I maintained for years prior), I’ve noticed a lot of changes about the way I approach running, physically, mentally and in otherwise. One seems to have to do with learning to relish a certain kind of solitude. In general I’m the sort of person who, when not in company, likes to be writing, reading or listening to something. Little surprise that I work in media. But at least when running, some of these habits are shifting.
I tend to write and talk about running a bit less that I did the first year (relatively speaking, for there are those who still may think I talk about it too much). The enthusiasm hasn’t worn off, but the initial, thrilled, evangelical tumble of words is waning. There’s an odd parallel there between the first years I’d really come back to my religion – I wanted to talk and write about theology a lot. But as certain elements of that experience shifted, deepened, I found myself no less interested in it, but less able or willing to put it into words – to savage the mystery with language. (Of course, both in running and religion, someone has to do this eventually! How else would the rest of us learn? Though maybe the answer here is that there are stages in both that can only be learned in the experience…) I still obviously like to write and talk about running (I’m writing this!), but more selectively.
I also have almost entirely stopped listening to books or music while I run. In the beginning, I relied on good stories, novels on MP3, to keep me motivated to get out and do my run and keep me company through the long miles. Then after the first year, I found I could no longer focus on the stories and I turned to music. I couldn’t imagine a long run without it. But at some point this year, even my favorite running music began to seem like an annoyance – like it was distracting me from something else that was going on in my head. I’m not sure if this is permanent, but for now, it’s just me and the wind and the sound of feet on pavement and cars whizzing by.
Curious about other people’s experience – have you found yourself listening to music while running less or more the more you run?