What’s on Your Playlist?

Sorry for the delay posting this week, been out of commission with a cold. FYI – next week will be a post-marathon wrap-up, I’m running Akron marathon this Saturday (9/25 – with a broken toe to boot!).

Seems like just about everyone I see out on the road is using an MP3 player/iPod of some sort. I do [iPod Nano, 16Gb, Orange, 4th Gen]. The question is – what do you put on it? Lots of ways to go on this, and frankly it boils down to personal choice. The real issue I’ve encountered in talking to people is this – ‘I’m sick of my CD collection, now what?’ – below are various ideas I’d like you to consider:

  • iTunes – ok, this is extremely obvious but still needed to be said. If you’re not familiar with iTunes, well, then you must be holed up in Tora Bora. Buy music, one song at a time. Rejuvenate your playlist incremental. Add in some things to go with your standards.
  • Podcasts – there are a multitude of FREE podcasts you can download. This is actually the bulk of what I listen to. I just find it makes the time pass much quicker, keeps your focus on something other than the running and can be fun or educational (depending on what you listen to). Here is a list of what I always have on my iPod (that 10 most recent podcasts at any given time):
    • The Accidental Creative
    • The Adam Carolla Show
    • Bill Moyers Journal  – it’s all old stuff, but still a lot of good content
    • The Moth
    • On The Media
    • NPR: Wait, Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me
    • This American Life
    • The Diane Rehm Show
    • Radiolab
  • Library – this should also be obvious (generally speaking, if you’re not utilizing your local, public library – get busy and get in there). The library just might surprise you with the selections on hand. Below are some of the things you can find there:
    • Books on CD – requires ripping them to MP3 format or dumping into iTunes, but not that difficult. Heck, you might still have an old SONY Walkman CD player lying around . . . I do.
    • MP3 Players pre-loaded with an audio book – These are becoming popular. They are small MP3 players that come loaded with a book. You typically need to supply the battery(s). A very simple way to get something new to listen to. Don’t need to muck up your iPod either.
    • Music, music, music – I am constantly amazed at how many people don’t realize their local library has a huge cadre of CD’s just waiting to be checked out. New stuff too, not just 80s and earlier.

Other Considerations – here are some more things to think about, may seem odd but the point is they may help pass the time, help you reach that ideal zen state of running.

  • Nature sounds
  • Soft, mellow classical music
  • White noise
  • Beats
  • Oration by the great minds of the 20th Century

Good luck, keep running and get those feet on the road!

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Proactive Mindset – Safe Running

Running can be a lot of fun. Running can also be a risky venture where every step is fraught with peril and catastrophe. Sounds dramatic, eh? I am being slightly hyperbolic, but frankly I think this is a topic most runners don’t give enough thought or consideration. It typically takes many years of running before someone ‘gets it’ and starts to apply common sense safety to their running lifestyle. Below are some key things you should give serious thought to – not to spoil or hype the fear, but rather be prepared and aware. Trust me, it actually allows a more zen-like philosophy and being in the moment with earthly concerns tabled.

  1. Know your surroundings. This seems too simple and obvious to post, but it’s a major consideration. Have you really thought about where you are running? Do you really know the area? Is it somewhere you have driven through and therefor assume everything is the same on the sidewalk? Being on sidewalk, exposed and moving much slower is altogether different. Do you know if there is a neighbor that lets their pit-bull roam free? Have you checked the police blotter to see if there is a frequency of muggings in that area?
  2. iPods/MP3s – It seems like 97% of the folks I see running have those white ear buds hanging from their head. I’m included in this group. Be smart about your volume level. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve come up behind on the sidewalk or trail, shouted to them that I’m passing on the left and they are just meandering around because they cannot hear me. That is dangerous. Change that from a friendly runner trying to pass to a dangerous thug looking to score a nice Nano iPod, or worse.
  3. Crossings – Streets, driveways, cross-walks: There a million ways to get hit by a car (to read a small smattering of these grim stories click here, here or here). The worst is by being presumptuous that you have ‘right of way.’ That argument will surely hold up in court, but it is of little use to you if it is your attorney and family members settling a wrongful death suit.

Extreme? Over the top? I think not. I’m lucky; I have applied these basics over the years and still have come close to getting hit by a car on numerous occasions. I’ll blog more about this topic at some other time, but let me leave you with a few key bits and pieces – RoadID.com, ICE and Situational Awareness (I know, it is commonly used in military jargon, but the concept is sound and works here as well). Let me turn it around and pose it to you this way – do any of the above create a major inconvenience for you? And if so, do the risks out-weigh the rewards? Is the risk mitigation minimal (the answer is YES)?

Good luck, keep running and get those feet on the road.

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