How to Run Without Music
I don't run with music (or podcasts, audio books, etc.) but I can understand the attraction. Logging lots of miles can be boring and pushing yourself can be difficult without distraction. If you want to try something new or need help getting through a race that bans audio devices, there are ways to run without music.
If you have a running buddy, then you can talk to that person. This approach works well for long runs in which you aren't exerting all-out effort and have enough oxygen available to carry on a conversation. You may have to dig for topics, but often it's easier to put thought into finding and discussing mutual interests than dwelling on how you feel or how many more miles you have until you're finished.
Think about ways to solve a particular problem. Very often, concentrated effort with few or no distractions can free your mind for productive thoughts. This time alone can yield valuable insights into actions you should take to solve a problem. You may decide that the problem isn't worth worrying about anymore, especially if you've run far and fast enough to release endorphins.
For those of you who believe in a deity who listens, running is a great time to pray. Use this free time to pray for a friend, or simply request wisdom and guidance.
Running can take you to a state of consciousness that is similar to that achieved through meditation. Rid yourself of day-to-day concerns and focus on the present.
I realize that fuming about a situation may not go along very well with my recommendation to pray or meditate. Nevertheless, sometimes that extra energy can be directed to the physical effort of running, rather than expressing anger.
Become more attuned to the physical surroundings unique to your running route. Listen to dogs barking, people talking, cars honking, lawnmowers buzzing, and birds singing.
For the past few months, I've been participating in a group triathlon training program sponsored by my local YMCA. On a couple of occasions, my colleagues-in-training have come to runs with earbuds attached to music devices. My coach has been quick to point out that while he's okay with the music, many event organizers don't allow them. At least some of the time, it's best to practice in a way that simulates race-day activities. Learn to listen for instructions and splits from race organizers, and concentrate on your race strategy.
Relax and pace yourself.