It’s so easy to get lost in your head and become distracted from the scenery and the environment you’re running in, and exercising without headphones is a great way to ground yourself into a meditative state while you hit the pavement. “I really think that it helps to hear your footsteps,” explains Boardman. “If you’re running outside, you notice the world around you and [are] in that head space.”
Certainly music can help to hype you up while exercising, but really being able to harness motivation from within is a powerful thing. “There are many people who will tell you listening to music is a performance-enhancing drug—like, really that is what gets people moving and past that wall that they might hit,” explains Boardman. “I think it’s such a powerful force when you’re doing it with a friend or you’ve got some kind of goal in mind that you set for yourself.”
Setting goals for your training, paired with running “naked” allows you to push through obstacles using your own resolve, meaning you’re relying less on outside sources and more on yourself for mental fortitude. “Even if you’re timing yourself, we can [employ] some of those mental contrasting techniques, thinking, ‘OK, what exactly is the obstacle in front of me that I’m facing? And then what is the action? What is my plan that I’m going to take?'” recommends Boardman of reframing your mindset.