I used to be religious when it came to running with my iPod. I swore by it. I rarely ran without it. I loved compiling my playlists and finding new music to run to.
But I've broken my habit.
Since returning to running 3 weeks ago, I haven't run with my iPod once. And to tell you the truth, I don't really miss it. I initially left it at home so that I would listen to my body instead of the tunes. This was especially important in those first few runs, as I needed to pay special attention to any complaints my body was making as I forced it through its rebirth into running.
Running without the iPod is liberating. I don't feel like the bionic woman with a fuelbelt, garmin and iPod strapped to various parts of my body. I feel much more in tune with my muscles and what it's telling me throughout the run. I pay attention to my breathing and get fewer side stitches. I'm also much more aware of my surroundings, whether it's the bikes whizzing by me on the bike path or the crowd of screaming seagulls in the middle of the river.
Best of all, I'm much more absorbed in the act of running itself and enjoying it, instead of zoning out and trying to suffer through it.
I'm hoping that this change will mean that I'll be quicker to notice any nagging injuries early on, instead of when they're so bad that I'm sidelined for months on end.