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.


  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!

  26. I’m so sorry about your past experiences but I think your attitude is amazing. A lot of people let it hold them back but good for you for not letting that happen. I think everyone needs to be conscious of what could happen no matter where they are. When we’re outside I’m very rarely by myself walking around town. Our town is tiny, there’s no place I’m afraid to go walking except for like Leanne said, I’m always afraid of animals. There was a bear in our yard last year and just a ten minute drive there are a steady supply of cougars, bears, coyotes and even wolves. But even in town I still get nervous being raised in a big city I’m always aware of the possibilities. Unfortunately I never get to listen to music inside or out. Either way I’m with the kids. Like you said if I’m on the “elliptical inside at the gym” I’ll use it, but for my every day workouts and walks isn’t practical or safe for now while I have the kids with me.

  27. I always listen to music when at the gym or running outside, but I’m sure if I was a victim while running I’d feel differently! Thankfully I know of no one that has had any issues running anywhere near where I live. I also only run on sidewalks in neighborhoods, no parks for me. They just seem creepy.
    I just had to get my implants redone because one busted, such a pain. Do you think you’ll stay the same size when you get yours redone?

  28. Glad you don’t listen to music when you are out & about and exercising. So many people have the music plugged right into their ears and can’t hear anything going on around them. Especially dangerous when they are right on the road with traffic. Makes me miss the days of bigger headphones so that you could see someone was “plugged in” to their music and not paying attention.

    Being vigilant, being aware, and not being somewhere I shouldn’t are how I keep myself safe. If I end up somewhere that is “iffy” it is best not to be alone. Oh, and I don’t walk on the beaches at night when on vacation. I don’t care where I am, that seems to be asking for trouble.

  29. Nice playlist. I can’t imagine working out (running) without music. It just helps me to zone out and get pumped!

  30. I have been blessed because I have always lived in non-dangerous areas, and I have never been in harm’s way. But, My heart goes out to you and those who have had horrible things happen to them. It is so great that you are a strong person, though, and are living a great life despite of it. :D

    And…I don’t really go on long runs, but I do listen to music when weight-lifting!

  31. I’m so sorry something bad happened to you :(

    That is one of the things that stands between me and regular running. I live in a super safe extremely small town, but things happen everywhere, you know? I run with my cell phone (but I get ZERO reception in the neighborhood I run in since it’s surrounded by trees) and I always keep one of my earbuds out if I’m listening to music PLUS I carry pepper spray but I still worry like crazy!

  32. Working out outside is not my favorite thing because the weather is practically never in the right conditions for me to do so. But also because I do feel much safer working out in a gym. That way I can crank up my music and read a magazine and let all of my worries go.

    While it’s great that you are so cautious, I am so sorry you had to go through something so horrific. :(

  33. We have a lot of the same music tastes =D I’ve fallen in love with working out to Inna thanks to the tone it up girls haha. Her song hot is one of my favorites and 10minutes :)
    As far as music goes I like to listen to my music on the treadmill, but when I run outside I usually only put one headphone in. When I was like in 5th grade I almost got abducted until this old lady in my neighborhood thankfully spotted what was about to happen. Ever since then I’m the type of person who constantly turns around and has a planned “escape route” in the back of her mind haha. I always tell myself if the moment came I would run to the nearest house and act like I live there and scream “DADDDD!”

  34. LOVE the playlist! I’m so behind on music these days, I’m like my mom. ;)

    I don’t run with my ipod when I am outside ever, but I do wear it at the gym. Mostly to keep the meatheads from talking to me though. Hehehe. When I am outside I like to hear the birds and stuff also, but it isn’t a safety thing for me since I live in a place where that isn’t too much of an issue. Its nice like that here. And it is going to be even safer where I am moving.

  35. I think that is awesome that you don’t listen to music while you run! I wish I was as good as you. FOr some reason, if I don’t have music, then I struggle with boredom and running. UNLESS…it is outside like you said, where there are distractions and things like that..But music still makes it easier.
    And those buses are so awesome! I love the colors!

  36. Sorry to read about your incident; that’s crazy! :(

    I listen to music when I run, mostly bc I don’t enjoy running (I do it as a cross-train), so the music helps me move. I run on a track with other walkers/joggers. Running alone creeps me out, so I if I show up at the park first, I’ll usually wait until other people arrive before I begin my run. I live in a safe, smaller town; I’m more worried about animals too than humans. :/

  37. Averie I am SO sorry you had a horrific incident – and happy you are in a good place now and that it keeps you cautious. I am always cautious about running outside, NEVER wear headphones. It’s rare that I go too deep into any secluded area by myself, or even just with Basil.

    great playlist! I love that some oldies are represented – ahh, Pet Shop Boys!! :D

  38. Hiya,
    great post! sums up what I think about it, though I do listen to music when running near my parents house, where there are only fields and trails and nothing I could overhear (also I am always in sight of my parent´s house). I don´t understand the people listening to music while riding a bike IN town, etc. I have noticed so many times that they didn´t hear drivers horning and some bikers even got in real danger.
    But I love music turned on LOUD at my gym :)
    And I believe you can only do so much to protect yourself… As you have said, you still have to just live your life!
    It would be a very sad world if we would only see the bad things in life and if´s.

  39. I’m so sorry to hear you’ve had to experience something so horrific! I run early in the morning when there aren’t many people around so I never listen to the music because, like you, I prefer to hear what goes around me.

  40. Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry for whatever happened! That’s so scary. Yes, I’m the same way-very “aware” of whatever’s going on around me (in parking lots, malls, street, wherever).

    I think since I’ve had my little girl I’m much more cautious about what I do in general. I don’t go out near as much in the evenings and at night as I used to, and while part of that is because I moved to a larger town with more crime, I think another part is just that I AM more careful with myself because I want to be around for my little girl!

    Finding that balance though is good (and hard) on “living” and just being cautious.

  41. I LOVE LOVE LOVE running outside….thats really the only way I’ll run nowadays unless I’m doing hilly interval sprints. I have to run with music though, or else I can’t seem to keep my focus

  42. I LOVE your playlist! old school and new school combo is the BEST! i have a mix now of all sorts of music and then all of the sudden The Real McCoy “automatic lover” came on and I was so happy!

    wow, so sorry about whatever it is you are not sharing on the blog, and of course I keep things to myself as well, so I understand you not wanting to share…but I have to agree with you about not lsitening to music when I am places that are unfamiliar. If I am ANYWHERE and I dont know 100% everyone and everything around me and where Im going, I always ditch the ipod so I can pay attention to everything around ,e

  43. I usually listen to music whenever I’m running in my neighborhood. is a great place to find music to match your walking/running pace, and I find that when I run to music that has a BPM that matches my pace, I can keep going for a lot longer.
    I totally agree with you on the downsides of plugging in/tuning out though. When encounter runners while biking on paths, if they are listening to music, it is very hard to get their attention so that they know I am passing them by. A little scary, actually!

    • “it is very hard to get their attention so that they know I am passing them by. A little scary, actually!”–

      I KNOW! I have that happen to me frequently…I always want to shake them and be like…if I had bad intentions on my mind, you’d never hear me!

  44. I am not really a runner, but I just finished reading an article in Women’s Health, on this same topic. I never really thought about the dangers of listening to music while running, but you make a great point. It’s hard to be aware of our surroundings when we have massive beats being pumped into our ears. I think this is a good reminder to everyone who runs outdoors.

  45. I like the variety on your playlist! I’m kind of strange when it comes to music. The only time I every listen to music, other than from the radio in my car is when I run outside. I keep it on a very low volume so that I can still hear what’s going on around me and I always make sure to look both ways before crossing streets. I know it’s still dangerous, but sometimes it’s just harder to run with no music!

    • kris be careful!!!!!!

      “I know it’s still dangerous, but sometimes it’s just harder to run with no music!”–
      think about that sentence. please. be safe!!!

    • thank you for your concern Averie!! I really enjoyed reading your post and I think this is a great eye opener for those of us who are SO used to listening to music when we’re out running or biking. I’ll definitely be more aware of my surroundings from now on and I’ll be thinking twice before putting those earbuds in!

  46. You’re sharing an important message here and a good reminder! I’m so sorry you to went through something. You are such a strong, amazing, inspiring woman! My friend was attacked in London years ago while walking through a park with her ear phones on. It was a huge eye opener. I wear my earphones when I work out in my apartment in the morning (so as not to wake up the man), and on the subway when I feel safe, but I do my best to be careful on the streets.

    Lots of love to you, and I love your playlist! Your music taste is so similar to mine!

    • thank you for sharing your comment gillian and im so sorry your friend had something awful happen to her but i just posted 2 mins ago w/ a follow up that if there ever is a silver lining to awful things at least future behavior can be changed for the good or spread the msg to other women too :)

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  48. Great points on why to not listen to music when running. I typically do (unless running with someone), but I have started running on a trail designated for anything BUT motorized vehicles. I do keep my music low, however, so I can hear cyclists coming up behind me. I don’t totally zone out when listening to music though, never completely.

    If I run in my neighborhood (which I haven’t in ages), I do listen to music still, but again, music turned WAY down. Even when I had my incident with the guys pulling up to me last summer, I still would run the same way I currently do. I don’t think my having my music going or not going would have made any difference.

  49. Wow on your past experiences with violence, I can see why’d you’d be nervous about listening to music while running outside!

    1. Yes, always when working out in our home gym and sometimes when running outside in daylight. I worry more about running into a wild turkey here, but one can never be too careful!
    2. Pretty safe, I’m always aware of the people around me and never run at night.
    3. Sure, I have a few workout and running playlists that I’m always updating with high-energy dance mixes, pop, etc.

  50. Im so sorry to hear that you have had some bad experience while running in the past :( I usually run on the treadmill (my legs doesnt go well with hard roads), so I always use music. However, when I do run outside, I do that in the forrest and I never listen to music. I feel more alone, and I want to be able to hear if someone comes behind me. Also, I enjoy the silence when Im out!

    My favorits for running is Lady Gaga, and Britney :) I just smile and run, when I listen to them!

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