Breaking up's not that hard to do

Comments (7)
By Peter Hadzipetros

It's over. This time for good.

It started out with such promise. We worked together, had the same goals, the same aspirations. But somewhere, somehow, something went wrong. Long periods of silence. We just couldn't communicate anymore.

And just like that – it ended. My latest affair with an exercise add-on.

I fried my personal digital music device – for the second time in less than six months. So I'm going back to going mostly solo. Enjoying my workouts the way they were intended to be enjoyed – without the intrusion of music.

No Bruce Springsteen belting out "Born to Run" as I try to work my way up a long, steep hill. No Pat Benatar hitting me with her best shot as I punish my lungs by taking the pace up a notch or four. And definitely no "Eye of the Tiger" as I try to survive the last couple hundred metres of a two-hour run.

Nope, it's back to the sounds of my feet hitting the street, my heart thumping in my chest and cabbies cursing at me in eight languages as I get in the way of their rolling pauses before they nip right on a red light.

Yes, there are two firmly entrenched camps in this run with or without music debate. And, I'll admit, I have waffled in the past.

But I've come to the conclusion that I'd much rather be in tune with my surroundings than tuning in to tunes. Why pollute a perfectly natural experience with the unnatural sounds of music? With music blasting in your head, you'll never hear cyclists taking time out from their sacred war against road-hogging cars to curse you as they try to run you out of the bike lane.

Oh, these personal digital music devices have their place – but they're not built for heavy exercise. At least that's what the service person told me when I brought my just-fried device in.

"That model," she whispered, looking carefully around the crowded store, "doesn't tolerate sweat very well. We've had a lot of complaints."

As a veritable sweat-making machine, I have to ask why sell such a device with an add-on that turns it into a talking pedometer? Went through three of those, too, in the same six-month period. Got really tired of the thing's friendly female voice telling me "workout complete" when I had barely covered a block or two.

The technician happily – and immediately - replaced my fried personal digital music device. It was still covered by the original warranty. But I won't be taking it out for runs anymore. Well, not just yet.

Perhaps we'll ease back into some kind of relationship. Test the waters with a couple of short walks or a ride on the subway. But no promises, OK?

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Comments (7)



I totally respect the purist position that no music should 'sully' a run...but sorry, music is essential to me. I love music, period, running or not. That's too bad Peter that your experience with players sucks. I really wish it was otherwise. For me, music absolutely enhances a run. (I personally have had no such problems with my player.)
The perils of running with tunes: you must be alert and conscientious. Traffic will mow you down without a thought - you must be defensive and cautious at all times. You cannot blare your tunes, you must still be able to hear what's around you.
And please, getting the tune for your tempo/cadence so you don't burn out or so you get motivated. Sure, maybe for novices, but for the experienced, so not true. I do not rig my playslists that way at all - they are simply the bands and songs that I love. Sometimes I just listen to one artist/band on a run. There's too much talk about getting the 'science' of a playlist right. Some people would say it's impossible to run to Radiohead or Sigur Rós and I'll tell you that those people are totally wrong. As for the Lululemon stereotype - I used to be a little snide about them but you know what, at least they are out there being active. Which is, I think, more that can be said for the slugs sitting at home watching garbage on TV. And that's also after I (hardcore runner) finally gave Lululemon apparel a chance and discovered that the women's running G short is a superior running short. It performed so well on my long runs and is now the running short of choice.

Posted September 27, 2008 02:24 PM



One of the problems I found with using the MP3 is that it pushes me into erratic pace zones. Unless you carefully select just the right tempo for each K you may find yourself running on empty. Just about everyday I spot an ipod wearing, round-the-block, LuLu Lemon type runner going all out - completely oblivious to their running form or the world around them. Being this disconnected from your body and your surroundings has a real consequence for runners: injuries. Since dropping my musical crutch, I've become more keenly aware of my breathing, my pace and potential hazards around me.

Posted September 14, 2008 03:19 PM

kerry walker


i say you let dj runningwalker set you up with some serious running and race tunes. i have chanced a many a pb's to be able to boogie-woogie my way to the finish line. (and you will too!)

"doot, doot, do-do-do! start spreading the news! i wanna be a part of it, NEW YORK, NEW YORK." just a thought=)

peace out,

Posted August 14, 2008 08:25 PM

Deb Johnson

I recommend you do what the heck you want to do :P and to heck with the comments before mine :P

It's all about personal taste. I like music, and enjoy my MP3 player. Any tune is good, but love rap and good, loud, fast rock music i.e. Linkin Park and Evanescence. Just keeps my blood going :) But yes, birds singing, feet thumping etc. sometimes is what I need. Great way to sort out ideas and things in your head without distraction.

Posted August 3, 2008 10:42 AM



I often run with an mp3 player- but mostly I don 't listen to music. What helps me the most is listening to podcasts. I enjoy giving my brain something to chew on. It does not seem to greatly effect my ability to pay attention to my surroundings, and I often learn something along the way. Peace.

Posted July 24, 2008 09:47 AM



I suggest growing some balls and buying a device to meet your needs, since you're obviously just complaining about the noises you hear, and pretending they're enjoyable

Posted July 19, 2008 02:23 PM



I recommend ditching the 80s training-montage playlist and filling your mp3 player with new sounds and giving it another try. ;)

Posted July 17, 2008 10:18 AM

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About the Author

Peter HadzipetrosPeter Hadzipetros is a producer for the Consumer and Health sites of CBC News Online. Until he got off the couch and got into long distance running a few years ago, he was a net importer of calories.

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I totally respect the purist position that no music shoul...
Breaking up's not that hard to do
One of the problems I found with using the MP3 is that it...
Breaking up's not that hard to do
i say you let dj runningwalker set you up with some serio...
Breaking up's not that hard to do
I recommend you do what the heck you want to do :P and t...
Breaking up's not that hard to do
I often run with an mp3 player- but mostly I don 't liste...
Breaking up's not that hard to do


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