Are you engaged while running?


It’s so easy to reach for something, anything, to distract us from our runs, right? Music, podcasts, call a friend even — I never understand how you run while holding a phone!

I have offered my share of challenges that can distract you from your run:

If you’re interested in diving a bit deeper into the Chakras (I mention them briefly in the Rainbow Challenge), you can learn more from the videos in my Yin Yoga Chakra Playlist; click here.

Sometimes you need a distraction
I came up with both of the challenges above when I was running in my own neighborhood. A lot! It’s not that big, I’m not a huge fan of looping, and besides, I’m also walking Bandit here almost every day.

Both times these challenges served me well. They took my mind off of the monotony of running in the same place over and over again.


Why it’s better to be present on the run
I think taking in nature on the run is important. One of the reasons running can be so great is because it gets us out of our houses and into the fresh air!

I would argue, though, that we can get more from running when we ditch the distractions. We actually look around us and take in the beauty of nature. The sky, the animals, the sounds around us, the breezes on our bodies. The changes we see as the seasons change. 

Being truly present on our runs can help to build up that mental toughness we need if we’re racing. If you’re not racing (like I haven’t been for a long time) building mental toughness is still important! Running and racing aren’t the only places in life where we need mental toughness.

Ditching the music and the podcasts, even if only occasionally, can help us to connect our body and minds. Begin by noticing your breath — your breath will always give you a clue of how hard you’re running.

We can run through a body scan while we run. What are our feet doing? Turning in or out, on the inside or outside of our feet? Does something feel off? Can we change something to make it feel better? Where are we breathing from? Where are we breathing into?

Final Thoughts
Sometimes distracting ourselves on the run is just what we need. You might be surprised at just how enjoyable a run without the music or the podcasts can be. Or you might find that when things get tough, you are actually tougher. That can be a really comforting thought.

Although I’m always wearing and using my Garmin, I almost never look at it. It’s there basically so I know how far I’ve run and when I’m done. It doesn’t distract me from my run.

Music can definitely be a nice distraction, but isn’t part of the reason you run to be outside enjoying nature? Why not really immerse yourself in it?

Do you think you could run without a soundtrack?

What are the reasons you’re running outside?

Do you feel connected to your body when you run?


Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.


33 thoughts on “Are you engaged while running?

  1. Yes to all of this, Judy!

    Personally, I couldn’t imagine listening to podcasts or music on my runs. I am perfectly happy to just enjoy nature, hear the birds and feel the breeze. And a very good point about listening to the body. Without any distractions, I guess it is much easier to notice how our body is moving.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I first started running I did listen to music. Then I did a half where it was strongly encouraged to not wear headphones & I haven’t gone back.

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it — I have walks that have mantras & a lot of positive affirmations that I listen to & I love those.

      I just think that sometimes it’s a good idea to remember why you wanted to get outside in the first place!

      Then again, I’m a person who thrives on quiet (even if I do love music) & not everyone does, I know.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When I am running trails I am fully engaged. There is always the risk of tripping and falling. Plus I am alone and I need to stay alert. The bonus is seeing all the cool stuff that I share on my blog. But I do enjoy running and zoning out too–I think that’s why I love my Friday runs. I lose myself in the music. It’s the best of both worlds!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed, Wendy! Even though I don’t listen to anything on the run, I’m not suggesting people lock up their headphones. Just not wear them occasionally. Like others suggest not to wear your Garmin occasionally (although I always wear mine 🤣).


  3. I do enough hiking and walking to be outside and engaged in nature.

    I prefer to enjoy chatting with friends on my long runs. Hey I need to catch up on what’s happening in their lives.

    I also need to listen to podcasts. I learn a lot of people running and other interesting topics.

    To me being present is getting rid of the watch. Forget about the data. You still ran even if you don’t have proof lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t need proof of anything— and my run happened if there’s a photo or not. 😊

      The watch is there so I know when to turn sound or end my run, but it’s rarely looked at. Not at all a distraction. If I were training for something that might be different — but only on things like tempos or speed work.


  4. Total agreement! Since losing my Garmin (it died a quick, painless death at the MCM in 2019), I have really grown to appreciate running sans music. I haven’t attempted anything longer than 13.1 on my own (without a race environment or a friend), though, so that will be new territory for me this summer. Like you, when I wear the Garmin, I don’t pay much attention to it until afterwards.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 18 miles is the farthest I’ve raced. I don’t race with music. I made it. Big difference between 18 & 26.2 though!

      Sometimes I do think about running with music but my phone is weird so not easily an option for me. Maybe that’s a good thing!


  5. Great post! I prefer music when running on boring roads in my neighborhood. I do pay attention though to what’s around me.

    If I’m on a trail, I can just enjoy the sounds of nature.

    I just wrote on my blog about making a plan, to find the motivation to go outside for a run. I guess adding challenges like how many flowers types or animals I see would be fun too!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ll admit that I don’t think I could run without music, but I still consider myself to be engaged with my surroundings during my run, especially when running outside. I keep the volume low so I can still hear traffic and other runners, and I always stop to take photos of animals or pet a few dogs 🙂

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  7. I really like running without distractions. I run with a podcast no more than once a week, on my long run. I use the time to just zone out and process my thoughts!

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  8. This is such a great post Judy. I love running with music especially when I know the run is a tough one or if I’m not motivated to run, it’s a great way to distract me. BUT… when I haven’t had music, there is a huge difference in what I notice on the run. And its the small things – it’s like watching “life” – nature of course but also human life. People chatting in the distance, waiting at a bus stop, someone laughing, someone riding a bike. It always leaves me feeling connected to the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I go through different waves of being present. Some days I run without any distraction on the roads and I can fully embrace everything around me. But then other days I need to tune out because my own brain is too loud so I need the music of the podcast to keep me engaged.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m addicted to my podcasts- I’ll admit it. I usually don’t listen to music unless it’s the last three miles or so of a long run. On one of my recent pool runs (sigh) I was listening to a guided run with Tina Muir, and she gives you space to focus on what you see, then what you hear, what you smell, what you taste… it was actually really nice. I realized that even running in little circles around and around my pool, there was still a lot to experience. I’m glad you wrote this post because I had forgotten about that, and now i’m going to take at least part of each run to be more aware of my surroundings.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I definitely think you deserve a pass when you’re pool running. I haven’t had to do that ;yet) but I do think I’d struggle if I weren’t listening to something.

      Sounds like Tina would make a great yoga teacher. 😊

      Because I don’t listen to something when I run I find d I usually don’t have time for podcasts. Even when I walk Bandit, I’m paying attention to him & our surroundings.


  11. For me it depends on where, when I’m running. I’m a morning runner but I’m not always awake, so the music helps me wake up. If I’m running in CP there’s usually enough visual distraction that I don’t need music or a podcast. I ‘need” a soundtrack while walking to keep me moving, otherwise it’s too slow

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I don’t listen music when I run because I must pay attention to the cars (usually I run through the city).
    To enjoy more my workouts I choose scenic routes: we can find them into/around the city or in the near country. I live by the sea…….
    The races are instead an opportunity to spend a day in a different place, visiting it and eating local food.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I run outside because I don’t have a choice since I don’t have a treadmill. 🙂 But I really enjoyed it last year during lockdown. Then I had to quarantine for a few days. Running outside after that felt so good. It was liberating! I do run with music. There is just something about it.

    Liked by 1 person

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