Generally, I like the world to myself when I run. I pick large parks or quiet suburban roads for my weekday morning miles and on my occasional foray down to Slaapstad, I can usually be found mixing it with the bikers on the mountain. I'm not even a huge one for talking on runs other than the slowest of long slow ones. To drag along my full collection of Abba's Solid Gold is definitely going to feel like I'm defeating the purpose. And besides, my mates would all call me rude names like 'cyclist'.
But the men with white coats and clipboards have just assured us that music increases endurance by 15%. If you match the rhythm of the song to the rhythm of your stride you could increase performance by 20%, which personally sounds like a load of old takkies to me. 20% is a lot.
I start training in August in the hope of achieving a 20% improvement by the following Easter. You can't tell me that doing it to music is going to achieve the equivalent of 2000 kms of hard training, but let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say that there is some noticeable improvement.
At which point Mr Gebrselassie points out that he's known that for years. In Birmingham in 2005 he even asked for, wait for it, Scatman, to be played while he ran (and broke the world record in) the indoor 2000m.
Of course, listening to music might turn my runs into quieter places. I say that I search out peace when I run, but that's just so that I can hear the roar of voices in my head. I have a whole series of characters in there who spend my runs offering marital and financial advice, organizing my diary, and one little cretin who likes to sing the same two lines of the last song I heard over and over again.
This morning it was the opening stanza of 'What's new, pussycat'. In Korean. Maybe an iPod would be an improvement on the general hubbub. More and more, I'm spotting folks listening to music while running, but it seems to be a spillover from the gym crowd on their first few runs and usually gets quietly binned once someone has been running for a while.
Running is a notoriously hard sport. It can be lonely, cold and, if done right, horribly sore. If a little music can help new runners get over that initial hump of teaching your body to do this naturally, then I say, play on.
I do find it interesting that I know of no one who has run for longer than a year or two who still runs with music. It seems that after a while we begin to love the activity for what it is and stop trying to take our mind off the experience. Any long-term runner values the peace and solitude just as much as the camaraderie and the fitness. Music can only detract from that full experience of a run.
Races are a different story, though. Nowhere else on the planet does running enjoy the sort of roadside support that we get here in Eastern Europe. A marathon requires in the region of between 3 and 500 volunteers to get up at 4am on a Sunday morning and stand in the sun until lunchtime. That's some serious commitment from someone who more than likely doesn't particularly like running.
Water stations have become sponsored disco parties, and the music and the dancing is far more about keeping the helpers interested than it is about us plodding through with sweat in our eyes. And if that means that someone can persuade the go-go girls to dance at one of the stations in the final 10kms of a marathon, well I for one will be all for it.