Recently I took a step which for many runners would be baffling, for some revolutionary, for more, downright heretical. For me it was the logical next step in falling back in love with the simple act of putting one foot in front of another I ditched the mp3 player. After years of skipping impatiently through random play, or sitting at the computer compiling running playlists, it’s gone. And I couldn’t be happier.
It occurred to me that having music on was simply a way of trying to kid yourself that you weren’t out running, a way of trying to do something else. That music (or that horrible multitasking phenomenon “catching up on podcasts”) was getting in the way. What I love about running is its simplicity. Open the door and go. So I simplified it further.
It’s better just being out in the world, after the initial horrible quarter of a mile (which music would get you through easily) the limbs remember what they’re supposed to be doing, you get into rhythm and after a while the brain starts ticking quietly over (at the end of a morning run, I have my days prep and orders mentally lined up, I wrote most of this in my head on this afternoon’s run) . You see and hear the world around you, birds in song, note what’s in bloom and what’s done for the year, actually being in the world rather than shutting yourself off from it, just you and everything else.