…listen to music while trail running? Whenever I post questions on the Trail Running mag social media outlets about this, the main response is, “No! Never! The beautiful views and sounds of birdsong, breath and heartbeat get me through.” So forgive me for sheepishly popping in an ear bud to listen to my iPod on shuffle for my 20miler on Sat.

Maybe I’ve a flawed character, but I was finding grinding these 3hr45min runs round the interminably ploughed, muddy, flattish fields of the East Midlands rather a chore. Maybe it’s because there weren’t many beautiful views and sounds of birdsong, only my boring breath and heartbeat to listen to. Anyway, an eclectic sound track of Queen, Britney, 70s Rock, the odd Eddie Izzard sketch and Cardio Pump It Up Workout Re-Mix made the miles tick by like nobody’s business. I’ve cracked it! This is how you make 20miles round muddy fields fun!

I might make a list of ‘boot-you-in-the-bum’ get going songs to write on the back of my hand for the 6 marathons in 6-days race that I’m training for in Costa Rica in 19 days, The Coastal Challenge (super excited!). I doubt my iPod would survive the humidity and river crossings up to my chest! But I can still get those well-loved songs into my head to spur me on.

My coach Rory Coleman always has a song in mind when he writes his blog, and as you’ll see in next issue’s (on sale 12 March) interview with US endurance athlete Tim Olson, twice winner of the Western States 100 mile race and course record holder, similarly thrives on music inside his head on the trail. I only had one ear bud in, and toward the end of my run I passed a tiny smattering of woodland with birds tweeting about the branches. I turned the music off and enjoyed these natural sounds too. Best of both worlds eh.

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