Music + Running: When Headphones & Sneakers Do Not Entertain a Happy Marriage

Music notes

No doubt you’re sick of Jenn prattling on, so for a change of pace, here’s a solo Moon post! Yay!

Hey gang!

I’m venturing on a new series, here. Hopefully this narrative will get more interesting as we push forward, but bear with me for a bit. But, before I get too preachy, how about revealing what the series actually is.

Music and Running

Let me preface with the admission that I use the term “running” loosely. I know there are many serious runners for and against listening to music while running. Perhaps we can tackle this debate at a later time, but for now let’s entertain the idea that music is a significant part of the running experience.

I must admit that I consider myself first and foremost a musician. I spend minutes, hours, and days thinking about sonic analysis. Considering form, influence, tone, harmony, historical context, etc. of any musical work gets me up in the morning (quite literally. I wake up to my phone radio in the morning). At the same time, in a perfect world I will follow my morning musical ritual with a run. For me this is a seamless balance. There is nothing more soothing that a steady (however elevated) heartbeat and something to ponder while I am keeping a steady pace.

Okay. Here is the plan. Every so often I will tackle a topic within the broad sphere of “music and running.” Today I’m going to go easy. Today is all about when music and running don’t match so well. And what better way to present this than an embarrassing story of pain and failure (I’m sure you’re all loving my stories so far).

The scene: Music room. New treadmill. Full to the max with running ambition. I spent many hours in the room nearly ripping my hair out practicing, studying, memorizing. My parents had just received a piano from a friend and they thought I would really like a real piano. And you know, I would have… Had the piano been in any sort of shape to be played. This thing was awful. It must have been sitting outside in the elements, being rained on by the tears of the gods for the past 500 years with no tuning or maintenance. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there.

The piano was right behind the treadmill, that’s the point. The debate before setting off was what to listen to. The age old question that delays most runs for at least ten minutes. This day I was feeling particularly romantic and at ease, so I thought what better than Chopin.

I absolutely adore Chopin’s nocturnes. So, on goes the Nocturnes. Everything was going steady for a while, but if you’ve ever spent an afternoon listening to Chopin you know that the state of dreaminess eventually sets in. This is all fine and good while on a picnic, reading a book, going for a walk even. Probably not best for running.

Because I became so relaxed and calm that I dozed off.

Annnnd propelled right into the piano. Talk about irony. So, let’s just say I do not listen to Chopin while running anymore. Although, if any of you have seen the Showtime program Dexter then you probably know that Deborah frequently listened to Chopin while running on the treadmill because her man-crush Special Agent Frank Lundy impressed upon her the beauty of Chopin. It worked for her. If only we could all be so lucky.

Music Chopin
This man has no interest in your athletic well-being.

Which begs the question: What songs are NOT on your running list?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email See ya real soon!


  1. UM can I just say I am super impressed that you were able to mix Dexter into this post….let us all lament the loss of that wonderful program…especially with that ending!!!

  2. Haha, I'm glad someone picked up on that! You know, I am simply too scared to watch the last season! I have seen the first two episodes, but I have serious doubts about the ending being satisfying… Would you recommend that I man up and continue to the end?

  3. Absolutely! Stay tuned for future posts about classical music that gets me going. Classical is also great for pacing, I find. If I'm going long distance I like to start with a symphony and I'm all set.

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