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My Tip for Running Faster: Be Bored. Really Bored.

Once upon a time I was an awesome zen runner. I would run outside with no music and focus on my breathing and each footstep. Up until about six months ago I never had entertainment of any kind when running - and that includes a twenty miler on a treadmill with nothing to listen to or watch.

In my defense, my own thoughts are pretty entertaining. I can easy fill three hours of running with thoughts like "I can't believe I can run so far. I'll totally run an ultra one day," "I wonder if Kim Kardashian's butt is real?" and "holy crap this is the worst feeling ever I'm never running again". For years people have been telling me to shut up and I could never understand - I'm incredibly interesting. But one day I sick of myself. I know, it seems impossible. But it happened.

So I got some headphones and busted out my iPod to listen to some music. I ran my first race with music last November (Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon) and I have never looked back since.

That's one of the only pictures I can find of me using headphones while running. Since it was 20 miles into a marathon let's let the awkward facial expression slide, shall we?

Last week I hopped on the treadmill for a run and realized the iPod was dead. I figured I could tough it out for a few miles without music. Result? 6 miles at a 9:09 pace. (AKA Speedy McSpeederson for me.)

Fine, maybe that's a fluke. But then today I ran without music again and ran 7 miles at a 9:17 pace. It got me thinking... am I running faster because I DON'T have music?

For reference I think it important for you to see my view while running. When I say no entertainment, I mean a wire poking out of the wall. Thrilling stuff:

My view. Can you top that?

We planned to put up a little television right there in front of the treadmill for entertainment, (hence the wires and plugs) but....the leprechaun hasn't shown up with my pot o' gold yet. Maybe Saturday?

I genuinely think that the boredom that sets in while watching a square foot of wall encourages me to run faster. I kind of like it.

Do you listen to music when you run? Outside and inside?
I almost never listen to music when I run outside (safety reasons) but in a race with no traffic then I will. On the treadmill I'm in the habit of always listening to music now. 

Anyone have some awesome recommendations for headphones that won't fall out every 3.2 seconds?
I have a pair that Tim got me that go around the back of your neck and fit into your ears....I realize now how inadequate that description is so here is a picture of the pair I have:

They actually work really well, never fall out and cost $10. Downside? I look like an idiot wearing them. So shallow yet so true.


  1. I recently asked for headphone recommendations too. I have terrible issues with them and go with the over the ear kind which I then have to tuck behind a headband. The feedback I got were the skull candy ones but I still don't think they'll work for me! I have to have music on the treadmill. Outside can go either way for me but I definitely run faster with it!

  2. I listen to music if I am by myself!

    PS. Has anyone told you that you look like the girl that won the Bachelor, Courtney? I know she is a mean person so I don't mean it in a bad way, she is really pretty actually, and I think you could be sisters!

  3. I use a pair while running that is similar to yours above, but they are wireless (bluetooth). I got them on Amazon; here is a link ( I love them, and they do not fall out of my ears! Haven't had any kind of sweating issues with them, either.

  4. You know I like my music :) I don't think I would get too far without it! I must not be picky about headphones because I just use the free ones from Apple and they seem fine to me. Plus I like that they have the control button on the cord to pause, skip, or adjust the volume.

  5. On Mandees post here, a coach for childrens soccer at the Y looks like you. I was sooooo tempted to take her picture to prove it. I just couldn't bring myself to do it!

    I listen to fast paced stuff. I went a long time without music...I got sick of it. Now I'm back to it since I am running outside in the daylight. I tend to listen to the LMFAO station on Pandora. That is sure to bring fast paced entertainment. I still do get sick of music but at least I can pop the headphones out and not listen to it if I don't want to.

  6. On a treadmill, I'm all about my Netflix! Outside, I almost always have music or an audiobook, unless I'm trail running in an area with coyotes or bears or something. I'd like to hear the animal before it eats me :)

  7. I try to never run on the treadmill, but when it's inevitable, I do use headphones. Outside, yeah, I'm a purist--no music. But then again, I run about 1/2 of my runs with friends, so that more than makes up for it!

  8. I hate running without music...unless I have someone running with me, then it's ok. I highly recommend Zippearz. They stay in your ears really well!

  9. I run faster when bored too, or when the weather is bad. Nothing like the motivation of wanting to be done faster. :)

  10. Sometimes I like running without music or entertainment. My view is exciting too when not watching TV. I am looking at our new interior doors and sheetrock in the basement. Exciting!
    I love the skull candy headphones. They have different size "buds" so you can fit them to your ears. They're pretty cheap too.

  11. I just die every time I read your posts. Luckily I just put a TV down in front of my treadmill in the basement. It's a complete lifesaver but I totally do think I could run faster without it. When I'm watching show I run at a more comfortable pace so that I don't miss anything on TV :)

    The only earphones I've tried are the Bowers and Wilkins ones that I was sent a while back for review. They don't even move. I think they're quite pricey though so I would just stick with looking like an idiot for $10 ;)

  12. Absolutely cannot run without music! I won a pair of Yurbuds and they are amazing!!! Check out their website! The skull candys are nice too. Had those before the Yurbuds. If Im left to listen to my breathing and my feet hitting the ground I will probably go insane!!!

  13. I cannot believe you stare at a wall while on the treadmill and don't listen to music. That seals it... you're Jesus. Can you walk on water too?

  14. lol i would kill myself if that was my view with no entertainment. I love music. I can go without but it's a real struggle. Get yurbuds. They're worth the money!

  15. Sometimes I run without music, but it's pretty few and far between all my runs with music. My music motivates me to run harder and faster and steadies me!

  16. get some yurbuds. they are amazing and do NOT move. can't say enough good stuff about them!

  17. I can't believe you ran twenty one miles on a treadmill. With no music! That's all I could focus on while reading.

  18. hahahaaaa.. that view right there is why i run outside whenever possible. and 5 miles is normally my max for no music, but of course music WHENEVER POSSIBLE! :)

  19. I have never run with headphones/music in or out. I think I would fall asleep after 10 minutes if I had your TM view. I used to have mine in front of a tv and watched movies.

    This last summer I ran on it at my friend's house cause it is hot there in the summer and she has it in a room pretty much by itself. I managed 1 mile both times and had to get out of there!

  20. I sweat my earbuds out all the time in the summer, so don't even ask me that...So anyway Kim's butt must be real. She's Armenian, as am I, and my entire childhood I was told that all Armenians have big butts. And mine looks just like that. And it's real, I promise.

  21. I don't run with music but Allan does and after having 8 surgeries on his ear he is super picky about headphones. Here's his review he did on them:

  22. look at u speedster!!! :) great job! i think one of the best boredom busters on the tread is to mess with the speed so i agree that being 'bored' or really just focusing on the run can bring about some faster times. THAT said, i need some kind of distraction, for me it's the TV, and i'm glad now u're gonna have that set-up! :) the good thing tho is that i've done plenty hard workouts on the tread with the TV, it helps distract from the pain in the

  23. You ran 20 miles on that thing with NOTHING?? That is amazing. I cannot even make it through 3 treadmill miles and that's WITH music blasting. The one time I was forced to do 8+ miles of my long run on the treadmill I listened to an audiobook. I would have plugged the ipod in and listened. Can't you watch DVDs or Hulu on the laptop? Haha clearly I'm quite concerned about this. Pretty sure last weekend was my first race without music.

    These are the headphones I use ... they used to be $10 so I'm upset they seem to have upped their price. They don't fall out though.

  24. I always listen to music, always have. I am starting to branch out and listen to podcasts on my longer runs now, they can be quite entertaining.

  25. Holy cow, I did not realize that you just stare at a wall when you're on the treadmill. Now I'm super impressed with your runs. Do you hook up your ipod to the treadmill speakers? I"ve done that before with my iphone to watch netflix.

    I use Yurbuds, they're the best headphones.

  26. I do both music and no music. I was thinking about listening to music for my relay but maybe I won't. I have the same treadmill view as you - expect I stuck an inspirational calendar up there to help me visualize. I find music can pump me up but I agree when it's just me, my body and my mind there are really no limits for what I am capable of. No music.

  27. Link to the best headphones EVER:|Google|BrandPlus&002=2436987&004=1979249797&005=11417503782&006=10011835477&007=Search&008=

    You're welcome.

  28. I listen to music on the TM or on long road runs, but never on the trail. I have Yurbuds, they are the only headphones I have ever had that don't fall out.

  29. oh my gosh that view is awful, i think i would go nutz. alternate between podcast and silence, I don't listen to much music anymore, not sure why!

  30. haha dang. i am not sure that i have had an experience where i run faster with no sounds. maybe outside when its quiet like on a trail? but i think on the TM i just get freaked out by my own breathing. haha! those were 2 very speedy runs friend! great job!

  31. I don't even know if it is possible for me to run without music. If my iPod dies before a workout, I have to plug it in and postpone my workout for an hour. It is probably best that I don't even get started discussing "my view"!

  32. What a nice view! Haha. I always run with music. In fact, one of the races I signed up for bans headphones and I am trying to figure out how I can sneak them in without anyone noticing.

  33. Music is a good motivator. Keeps me active as well.


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