I run quite a bit, but I must admit that I did not become a habitual runner (by that I mean someone who seriously considers the relative importance of shoelace quality, for example) until I could reliably listen to quality music while I ran. At the beginning, I needed music to get through a two-mile slog. Once devices like mp3 players and iPods came along, I was hooked for good. I am daydreamy enough that I could plug in any old top 40 mix and while away the miles.
Many running magazines and advice forums remind me that running with auditory distraction is not always good. Running sans earbuds is safer, of course. I admit I have almost been flattened by buses because I wasn’t paying attention several times. Also, no earphones means you can concentrate on your form better: head up, feet striking on the forefoot.
But as my various i-devices have allowed me to listen to music, audiobooks, podcasts and internet radio, the two acts have become inextricably linked. Pop hits for sprints and Pop Culture Happy Hour podcasts for long, get-lost runs (then techno to drive me home) have turned my runs into chances to listen and learn.
I am sure running purists scoff at this, and I do go without distraction during races and trail runs. But as an unathletic daydreamer music helped me step outside my body long enough to get running.