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The Sweet Sound Of Silence

There's been a lot of chat in the blogosphere lately about music and whether or not tunes should pull you through a workout. American half-marathon record holder Ryan Hall recently talked about leaving his tunes at home for a tough tempo run. And a Menacing Thug took over the keyboard at RW Daily to encourage runners to crank up the volume (seemingly, so he can have a better shot at mugging us).

I don't run with headphones when I'm outside. I like to be able to hear the birds chirping, cars honking, and taxi drivers screaming, "Lady, move!" (In my defense, I had the right of way.) Without the added beat, I'm able to listen to my breath and concentrate more on my effort. But stick me on a treadmill and I'm all about Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, and The Black Eyed Peas—anything to help me forget that I'm stuck inside like a mouse on a wheel.

If safety weren't an issue, I still wouldn't reconsider adding a soundtrack to my workouts. Last summer I went to a running and yoga retreat at the Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. While there, I learned how to meditate in motion, something you definitely can't do with music stuffed in your ears. I feel as though the silence helps me connect better with my surroundings and fellow road warriors. And isn't that what running is all about—to unwind and find a moment of peace?

How about you? What do you listen to when you run?

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