Playlist & Workout Safety

The last playlist I made was this one.  That was almost six months ago, which happened to be immediately preceding our last trip to Aruba.

Older picture of my iPhone.  It’s much more, ahem, cluttered on the home screen now.

It was time for a new playlist in advance of our current trip to Aruba.

This is what I created.  A real mishmash of songs but they work for me.


The reality is that in San Diego, I never listen to music while I run.

I run outdoors year-round (energy levels permitting) rather than running on a treadmill and I am extremely cautious and careful of what’s going on in my surroundings.

For me personally, I don’t feel I am 100% aware of everything going on around me with music going directly into my ears, since I am blocking out auditory cues such as someone’s feet behind me or others’ conversations going on around me.

Music also causes my brain to check out, which is great if you’re trying to zone out and get into a groove, but it causes one’s defenses to lower.

I am the victim of violent crime.  I am a survivor of some brutal and horrific things that I don’t wish to discuss on my blog, but suffice to say those things have caused me to be hyper-vigilant about safety when I’m outside running, or just even being outside.

That’s why I never run with music when I’m in urban San Diego.

Running on the streets in Aruba…

..and the beaches of Aruba

…and in broad daylight with hundreds of tourists, people, and passerby, I don’t worry as much.

It’s the few weeks of the year where I enjoy music while running, on some days.

Other days, I don’t listen to anything other than the birds chirping because I just want to admire nature’s beauty…

…and let my thoughts drift, sans music.

That is until one of these buses comes along and starts honking and drunk people start shouting and cheering at 11am and my quiet little birds chirping zone is interrupted.  But that’s okay because I’m on vacation!

From my last post about the Local Sights in Aruba off the Beach, I am glad you enjoyed that post.

And everyone had bets on the last couple of pictures.  Yes, that lady bit the dust about 20 seconds after I put my camera away and started walking back to my car. Makes me wish I had kept my camera out just a wee bit longer.


1. Do you listen to music while you workout?  Why or why not?

I think we all agree that music energizes us, helps us get better workouts in, helps to put us in a zone and if you’re doing the eliptical inside at the gym, by all means, I’d need all the help I could get, too, and music is great for that.

However, as I stated in the post, for me and my personal comfort levels shaped largely on personal experiences, music in my ears is a no-go when running outside.   To each her own, of course.  Just sharing my opinions and personal thoughts.

2.  Safety.  How safe do you feel while running or working out outside?  Tips or advice you want to share?

Before anyone mentions it, yes, there was a “famous” and extremely sad situation and crime that happened here to Natalie Holloway a half dozen years back.  Google it if you’re not familiar.

However, crime can happen anywhere, at any time.

In San Diego, I live about 10 miles from the Mexican border and yes, there is lots of crime in Tijuana.  There is lots of crime in San Diego, LA, Chicago, NYC, and even in small towns.  Crime happens everywhere, sadly.

I don’t think we should lock ourselves in our houses and not go out because of the potential for crime or something bad happening to us.

But we also shouldn’t do anything that’s foolish or take unnecessary chances or risks (i.e. running alone at night or walking on deserted streets)

Common sense, precautions, playing it safe, but still being able to live my life is my approach.

What are your thoughts?

3. And do you have a favorite playlist you’re dying to share?  Or any songs that you love to work out to?

I am eclectic in my musical tastes but I will say that rap, hip-hop, dance, and rock tracks all energize me.  Sometimes I listen to things when I’m working out that I would never listen to in the car, for example.  Plus, not everything I listen to in my earphones is family-friendly.

80 comments on “Playlist & Workout Safety”

  1. That playlist looks awesome!! I am such a slacker and i will only get new songs about once a year lol Thats why i love Girl Talk albums because they are a mashup of hundreds of songs and it lasts for an hour of continuous music:)

    Im so sorry for whatever you went through:(:(:( I have to run with music most times, i seriously hate hearing myself breathe while i’m running and at the gym it keeps people from talking to me lol. But when i run outside, i keep the music low enough to hear whats going on around me and i only run when its light out!

  2. Hey Averie!

    I’ve been enjoying Mumford and Sons on the radio lately and thinking a couple of their songs would be great to run to. However, I don’t listen to music either while running for the same reason as you, although I don’t know exactly what you are referring to.

    Definitely agree with you on living your life regardless of the horrible things out there but being aware of your surroundings and being smart about situations you put yourself in!

    Although I’m never happy to hear that people have had to experience horrific things, it sounds like you are doing well now despite the past. And I’m happy to hear that. Hope this is true :)

  3. I listen to music in the gym, but never outside. I’m too paranoid about not being able to hear what’s going on around me, whether it’s someone yelling to me that I dropped my keys, a biker calling out that they’re coming up on my left, or a person getting too close for comfort. Plus, I like hearing nature when I’m outside!

    Mike goes to school in a pretty bad part of the Bronx, and it used to terrify me, but now that I know how to be smart, it’s not as bad. Awful things can happen to anyone, but if you look alert and stay with groups it’s far less likely that you’ll be targeted. I see pairs of girls stumbling home drunkenly in their heels and I always say a little prayer for them. In Manhattan there’s definitely crime too, but I’m fortunate to live in a really safe, well-lit area and have never felt in danger, no matter how late I come home.

    • “I see pairs of girls stumbling home drunkenly in their heels and I always say a little prayer for them.”–YES that is just as bad as running on a dark, deserted road. Worse. Because it’s an open invitation that hey these girls are SMASHED….sad but true.

  4. totally agree with your philosophy about safety: be prudent, be wise, but live life.
    love your playlist, everything from rihanna to nickelback (love them both!). i have been using the same playlist for a few months now because i’m just not getting tired of it! always use my ipod in the gym, and sometimes/sometimes not while running. i go thru phases: hammering it out with the tunes or feeling zen and absorbing nature. both are good!
    hope you get LOTS of beach time today, averie! we’ve got aruba weather – suddenly it’s 30+ degrees and sunny!!

  5. i don’t listen to an iPod when outside either. For the same reasons, too many scary incidents. I am sorry to hear that yours turned voilent. My heart aches when I read about those incidents. But you are so wise and I am glad you mentioned it here. Running in aruba must have felt very freeing!
    That makes me so happy for you. Beach, sunshine, good music, and a good sweat = BLISS!

  6. I have to have my iPod on full blast when I’m out running or training in the gym to keep my motivation high. Otherwise I tend to just play it safe rather that giving it my all! :)

  7. I have to listen to music when I run. But the other day, my Ipod died 5 min into my run and I just ran to the natural sounds around me. It was actually quite pleasant.

  8. I usually listen to music if I am running longer than an hour. Your pictures look amazing!!

  9. I’m sorry to hear that something bad happened to you while you were running years ago. I usually don’t run with music unless it’s a long run (longer than 5 miles). I never run when it’s dark outside and usually don’t go when I don’t know the area to be safe!

  10. I workout to videos so no music for me. Those buses are too cute. Everything seems so vibrant in Aruba! I hope you had a great weekend.

  11. Love! Don’t always read about music on your blog, so this is a treat.

  12. I’m always a little cautious when running, too. I usually just leave one earbud in, and never blast it because, like you said – I don’t like not being able to hear my surroundings. My road is a dirt road, not a lot of traffic during the day and not a ton of houses – but that’s sometimes what makes me a little more nervous! Just the other day I morbidly thought “It might be wise for me to start carrying my phone so people could identify me easier if needed…”
    Too much CSI growing up.
    So sorry to hear you’ve been the victim of such crime – but I am glad that you are not letting it keep you inside. You don’t deserve that, they do.

    • I hate running with my phone/ipod..just another thing to hold, keep track of, have in my hand/pocket and go back and forth with it too.


      Made a little headway on camera bags last nite. Not much tho. Thinking what i have is almost as good as what im finding.

  13. I go through phases with music. I do find that I run faster with the music. If I’m running in Atlanta I just make sure to keep the volume low enough to be able to hear what’s going on around me. If I’m running at night/during a twilight time, I won’t use headphones at all.

    I’m loving your Aruba pics – so pretty!

  14. These days I run on the streets around our house, there is always people around(a lot of sahms and retirees). I listen to music, but on low, I want to hear the traffic around me.
    I am vigelent and never open my door to strangers, but know that my biggest risk comes from my partner, of course I learned that the hard way.

  15. I hate it that you’ve been the victim of violent crime in the past, but I agree– having something horrific happen to you can really amp up your sense of what’s “safe” or not. I used to be totally clueless– running alone at night, running to loud music all the time, etc. Now that I’m a little older, I’d like to think I’m much more cautious about safety.

  16. I totally agree with you on the music topic. I only listen to music when I workout indoors. Treadmills and ellipticals are just so boring that I need some distraction. But when I run (or bike) outdoors, I want to notice what’s going on around me. I usually run on streets without sidewalks, so I need to hear those cars passing by, hoping they won’t hit me.
    I’m also a bit paranoid whenever I run alone. So I always make sure to tell someone where I’m going, when I plan to be back, I also take my cell phone with me, and I never run in the dark. Makes me feel a bit more ‘safe’.

  17. I listen to music with one ear bud in- one out. I live in Brookyn, and while my neighborhood is generally pretty safe, it’s still NYC. I don’t run before dawn or after dusk. I NEVER listen to music while riding my bike…

    If I’m with my trainer, I enjoy being outdoors. Solo, I usually workout in my home or at the gym.

    I’ve been rocking out to the new Britney Spears album- great for running! :)

  18. Oh I wish you did keep your camera out a bit longer ;)
    I sometimes do the music while running thing and other times just like the peace without it to soak up the scenery. depends on the day :)

  19. Ok to be honest I almost always run with music and only when I stop and think about it do I realize how unsafe this is. I like to pretend that I am aware of my surroundings, but how can I be? When I run through neighborhoods I’m not too concerned, but when I run on the trail I need to be more aware.

    I know it doesn’t solve the problem, but usually I only use one headphone — I tuck the other one into the collar of my shirt and I keep the music on low. So I guess I am pretending that I’m being safe :(

    • Ok yes please do the one headphone thing…and keep your ears open as much as possible :)

      You do a TON of running, dozens of hours per week. Over time, statistically, You HAVE To take precautions. Not trying to be all paranoid, but I just worry about you. The one good thing is that you’re living in my home state, where I believe that despite what stats may say, people are good souls up there…maybe a false sense of security but i do believe in the good MN folks :)

  20. Since I live in the worlds coldest place most of my workout time is spent indoors at the gym, it also makes me feel safer knowing I am in a controlled environment. If I do happen to be outside I do pay attention to my surroundings and try to always be aware.

  21. Oh it has been for-ev-er since I’ve updated a playlist. I’m beginning to get very board with mine :-P

  22. When I run outside I use 1 ear bud. Kevin broke one of my headphones so it works well. Just 1 allows me to hear cars, coyotes, cows, horses… tractors [no, I’m not kidding haha]. I’m not so much scared of being attacked by a person, than I am by an animal.
    When I run inside I’m the girl with her music blaring in her ears! I love dance, electro, house, jungle… those sorts of things. Get’s me going!

  23. I have heard too many horror stories about women being hurt when running, so I am also super vigilant when I run. While I do listen to music, I run in areas with a lot of people traffic (busy trails mid-day, for example). I don’t run off the trails into secluded areas or run late at night. I have been fortunate to have avoided any attacks while running, and I am sorry to hear you had an incident yourself. It must have been so scary.

    I am also scared of foxes when I run. They run rampant all over the city here, and they often have rabies! I make sure my shots are up to date and keep my eye out for them.

  24. I’m so sorry to hear that you were a victim of crime. :( That’s such a shame!

    I’m definitely very aware of crime, and try to really pay attention to what’s going on around me. I probably wouldn’t run with music either if I lived in a big city! I wouldn’t even feel safe running on some of the trails around my apartment – it’s just too deserted a lot of the time.

  25. I ONLY listen to music when I’m running during the day and when other people are around. If it’s dark, a new route, or no one knows where I’m going (I make sure Colin knows where I’m running in case something happens) I leave the iPod at home!

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