Enjoying the sounds of silence
I’ve always been a person who uses an iPod while I’m working out. Whether it’s a visit to the gym, on a run, or on the bike, I’ve always used an iPod. Heck, if there was a decent system to use in the pool, I’d probably have one of those too. I’ve always felt that I needed it to keep myself entertained while I was outside.
Recently, however, I’ve started to have a change of heart. It started the week of the bar. After the first day of the bar, I went for a run and wasn’t in the mood to listen to music. As I was running, I started to realize that I really appreciated the silence and the serenity of being outside. Yes, there were noises of people talking and traffic, but I can block this out pretty easily. All I could hear was my feet hitting the ground and my breathing.
When I went on my ride in Napa, I decided to see how cycling without my iPod was. In part, I wanted to see if I enjoyed it as much, but I also wasn’t familiar with the road and I wanted to be able to hear any big trucks coming. I realized very, very quickly that I like riding without a iPod WAY more than I like running without one. There’s something very peaceful about the sound of tires on the road and the chain turning on the crank. I don’t know how to describe it, but I feel much more in the moment when I ride without music blaring in my ears.
So this has now become my protocol: I don’t ride with an iPod any more. I’ve done my last two rides without one and have thoroughly enjoyed them both. I realized that this has the added benefit of increasing my concentration on the bike and getting used to doing time trial efforts without music (which can affect pacing) since I can’t use an iPod in a race.
Today, I did a 45 mile ride with a 12 mile time trial effort in the middle on the Silver Strand in Coronado. I managed to beat my previous 30 minute average wattage by 23 watts, so I’m very happy about that. I’m not sure if this was due to increased concentration from not having an iPod on or the fact that this effort was entirely outside whereas my previous best was done on my Computrainer, but I’m guessing the latter has more to do with it.
So, I guess the moral of the story is that if you currently ride with an iPod, give it a shot without one. You might find, like I did, that riding becomes all that much more enjoyable.