Three Reasons Why I Stopped Listening to Music on the Run

My running playlist also named "Burn," was a staple for me. I could not run a single step without it. If the battery died on my iPod, my run would also have to come to an end. I needed beats to pump me up. To distract me.

There were hundreds, if not thousands of miles where I relied on Eminem, Pink, and The Killers to help me push through the pain. The tunes buffered my ears from having to hear my gasps for air. The distraction pushed out  thoughts in my head that were too much for me to deal with.

Nowadays, these are my essential running accessories:

Notice what's missing? Yep, no more iPod or headphones. For now, I'm choosing to run with no music. Here's why:

1. I want a meditative experience.

I've been trying to start a meditation practice for years. I've gone through bouts of meditating regularly to not doing it at all. And I've found that I'm in a better, more positive mindset when I do meditate. 

These days I start my day with a short 5-10 minute meditation. I've grown to appreciate the time to focus and quiet my mind even for just a short time. 

I want to expand upon that and bring that experience into a moving meditation practice, which I'm learning to do through running.

2. I want the feedback.

If you followed my running diaries from back in the day on my personal blog, you would know that I was constantly injured. 

In hindsight, I can see that with each injury that I had, there were signs leading up to it. Had I been more present in my training, and not always seeking distraction, I would have been more mindful of the signs and perhaps could have taken proactive steps to avoid them, including Adrenal Fatigue.

3. I’m heart rate training and need to force myself to stay at a slower pace.

After being diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue, I was told that the only way to recover is to manage stress, which also meant easing up on intense training. So what did I do? I "cut back" by trying to run 10 miles instead of 20; eight miles instead of 16, six miles instead of 12. 

But all that did was worsen my health to the point where I wasn't not able to even run a single mile without feeling pain and exhaustion. 

While I may have looked "healthy on the outside", on the inside, my guts were a hot mess. And because the gut is the "second brain" of our bodies, it started to affect other areas of my health, leading to further health problems like SIBO and Leaky Gut Syndrome.

What I needed to do, and it took me two years to realize this, was to take a real break. As in very limited and easy cardio. 

As a runner, that's the biggest fear I had - not being able to run. As a formerly overweight person, the second biggest fear I had was gaining back the weight that I had worked so hard to lose.

And guess, what - both of those fears came to fruition. Had I listened to my intuition instead of my ego, I might have avoided this mess. #ohthethingsIthoughtIknew

When I was told that my liver panel was abnormally high and that I was on the path to having Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, well, that was what finally brought me to my senses. 

When I realized that I might be doing more damage that could chronically affect my health in the long-term, I forced myself to shift my priorities.

I've since focused primarily on (reformer) Pilates and strength training. It's a shift that slowly, but surely paid off. 

I'm feeling more energized. I no longer wake up at 3 am starving or drenched in night sweats. In fact, unless my pup wakes me up, I don't wake up in the middle of the night anymore at all!

My leaky gut is also getting better and practicing mind-conscious exercises to better manage stress.

And while I've still been running, I no longer have intense leg pains during or after the shortest, simplest runs. These days my runs are what I used to consider a warm-up, with a lot of walk breaks incorporated into it. It was all my body could manage. 

But now I'm finally at the place where I feel like I'm ready to start building a cardio base again. But I don't want a relapse and fall into the same mindset and habits that I had before.

My problem in the past was training beyond my capacity. Meaning, I always ran faster than the paces my running coach prescribed. My ego got in the way and I had to "beat myself." 

I truly believe that training beyond my capacity for such a prolonged period of time was one of the factors that led me down the awful road to Adrenal Fatigue.

To avoid doing this again, I'm going to try heart-rate training. I've always wanted to try it but from what I've researched, it takes a lot of time and patience, which I was never willing to have before.

Well, I don't have any races on my schedule, and no pressure to have to be trained to run a certain distance by a specific date. I can take my time and allow my body to slowly build up my aerobic endurance so that I can continue to run enjoyably for a long, long time. 

I like to listen to fast-paced, upbeat songs. And my body always responds to the beats. The toughest challenge I face right now is slowing down so I can run at a pace that I can converse at (something I never could do before!) and easily sustain for the duration of a run. I can't do that if I listen to the kind of songs I like to listen to. 

My value-based intention is to, "run to feel strong and alive!"  When I run now I want to be in the moment, in my own thoughts and truly hearing the messages that my body communicates with me.

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Naomi Nakamura is a certified Holistic Health Coach who takes a holistic approach through functional nutrition. Through her weekly show, The Live FAB Live Podcast, coaching programs, and safer skincare solutions, she helps people with acne and other chronic skin issues clear up their skin by teaching them where food meets physiology and how food, gut health, stress, and toxins are intricately connected to the health and appearance of our skin. Naomi resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and can often be found romping around the city with her puppy girl, Coco Pop! Connect with Naomi at: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest.