Saturday, December 18, 2010

Does Music Help You Run Faster?

 I've really never run much at all with music.  I've always just been one of those runners that only needs a pair of running shoes and an open road (or a treadmill) to be happy. Oh, I take that back, I like having my watch too.   It has just been this last year that I've started trying out the whole running with music thing with some sort of consistency and it was mostly for my long runs when I was training for the Portland Marathon. I had  definitely never tried running with music for a speed workout or a race though. Until tonight. 

Tonight I took advantage of a break in the rain to get in a quick run to shake me out of my "lack of sleep hangover" from staying up too late last night.  A big wild night of wrapping presents with girlfriends until 1 a.m.  I know, my life is so exciting, huh?!  But really, this 32 year old can't handle the late nights anymore without paying for it the next day.  I wasn't even really planning on running for sure today but I am so glad I did!  

Steady half mile through the neighborhood.  Came to to the high school track and thought I'd just stretch and play around for a repeat of two just to see where these little legs of mine are at.  Well, I have a long long way to go....lots of work to do but the good news is that it felt AMAZING and I know that I will be able to do the work and get to where I want to be because this hamstring is feeling like new again!  For those of you that might care, my repeats were just an 800 at 3:15, 400 at 1:34, 400 at 1:35 and a 400 at 1:35 with a 400 recovery pace in between. Nothing to write home about (do they still use that term or does it just make me sound old?)  but  I felt pretty strong and I still had plenty left in me after each one to let me know that I could have pushed it if it was a real speed workout. And then I headed out to run another 2 miles to finish up. Amazing how some faster paced running can make my normal light running pace seem so effortless.  Excited to do some real speed repeats sometime soon.  

Tonight was one of those nights I took my iPod with me.  Even with my crappy playlist, I honestly felt as if the music helped me in some way on my little test repeats. As I said, it was my first time using music for any kind of track workout and I think I liked it! The music made me feel like I had a bit more gusto to was inspiring and motivating.  I'm certain that Brain research has more to say about music and how it relates to athletic performance and I'm sure this is why so many runners run with music today.  

 One of the biggest reasons I've never been an iPod runner is because I don't even know where to begin when it comes to coming up with an awesome iPod list.  It is just OVERWHELMING to me to try to go through all the music out there and try to come up with something that will be awesome to run with.  My playlist stinks!  There are a few good songs in there with a bunch of not so good songs.  After tonight's pretend speed workout with an iPod, I have come to some conclusions:

1.  It is time to start getting my ipod loaded up with a few good playlists.  One for a more mellow run, one that gets me going and maybe just one that would be perfect if/when I decide if I'd ever use it in a race.

2.  I need help with this!  Please send me as little or as much of your playlist as you are willing to share.  I need suggestions.  

3.  Better yet, what can I do or how much can I pay you to just send me a CD with your awesome tunes??  Seriously, what can we trade??  I don't know that I can offer much.  I could offer to do your homework for you, or grade your students' papers.  Oh, if you're near me, I could offer to babysit for you, wash your car, clean your floors. Okay, it is probably against the law to do that anyway.  I'll just have to get the music the lawful way.

 Recently, I've read several articles and blogs that have mentioned races that don't allow iPods.  Why is this?  Please fill me in.  I don't really care that much (probably why I have not known much about this issue before) but there must be some sort of controversy?  Do they think that running with music is an unfair advantage to help runners run faster?  I personally feel that it probably isn't that big of an issue, especially if everyone has the same opportunity to use an iPod if they choose to do so.  Music isn't going to help anyone too terribly much. Or does it?  



  1. I never used to run with music, I ran HS and College XC/track and it wasn't allowed, plus in HS iPods weren't even around and no one was going to run with a disc man. Now that I have gotten back into running I kind of need it, especially for sprints, treadmill and stairs. I think it makes me go faster, although my one race where I forgot it I still ran good and it is nice every once and a while to enjoy the peace.

    I don't know how you feel about bad language in your music, I am not necessarily a fan of it but the Girl Talk mash-up album is AMAZING for running! It is a combination of many songs into one long song, I've only been listening to it for a week and it totally rocks!! Here is the link to the free download

  2. I think you're reading my mind/life! So with you. I never run w/music during the training etc year, but a this stage in the year..I say grab Kate Perry's Fireworks! on you music list!!;-)

  3. I love running with music unless (obviously) I'm running with someone else. I think the ipod ban at some races is safety related...they want you to be able to hear directions, traffic, oncoming runners, etc. I've worn mine in almost every race I've done; I just leave one of the earbuds out so I'm able to hear all of the above.

    I have a long playlist. It's a loud, uptempo mix for the most part. Here are some of them...

    "Who Says" and "Crossroads" by John Mayer
    "Same Old Song and Dance" Aerosmith
    "Crazy in Love" and "Single Ladies" Beyonce
    "Imma Be" and "Where is the Love" Black Eyed Peas
    "Mercy" Duffy
    Lots and lots of Eminem..."Lose Yourself" is a great running song

    "You Didn't Know Me When" Harry Connick Jr.
    "I'm Yours" and "Butterfly" by Jason Mraz (if your run doesn't have you flushed, the lyrics of the latter song will!)

    "Get Rhythm" Johhny Cash
    "Stronger" Kanye West
    "Girls on Trampolines" Ludo
    Maroon 5, Pink, Will Smith, Sublime, Everclear

    "Jessie's Girl" Rick Springfield
    "All Summer Long" Kid Rock
    "Remember the Name" Fort Minor

  4. shouldn't feel guilty...I just have lousy priorities. :)

  5. I can certainly say that music will help with pace, provided you choose the right tempo for your run. Sometimes I let it go and then realize I am running too slow. Too fast doesn't usually bug me =D .

    There is supposed to be a way to determine a song's beat per minute and select based on that...but I have NO idea how, LOL.
    If you find out how- LET ME KNOW! Anyone reading this can contact me about it! =D

    Glad to hear that your workout went well!! Those are good splits :)

    Do you think you might race Newport now?

  6. No iPod at race I saw that at the disney 1/2 and 5k and it is for security but they did not tell people they could not run with music on race day.

    I got some of my playlist on my blog.
    Pink is a must and Keith urban

  7. I listen to podcasts - running podcasts (Phedippidations, Run Run Live, the Dumprunner's club) on my long runs, as well as This American Life. I listen to - well - awful music doing speedwork. Again it's a podcast, and it's called Podrunner. You download (for free) this dance mixes at certain BPM and I just load a fast one (180 BPM) up when I have to go fast. It is NOT the kind of music I would normally listen to (I am a gay man in a woman's body, basically) but I find it makes hard paces easier. It DEFINITELY helps.

    Nice work on the speedwork - if this is your base I can see that there is a SPEEDY chick inside you still!

  8. I like to listen to the aerobic music that I teach to when I run. It's 150 BPM and higher. It's helps me when I'm tired, because I still stay with the beat. I have quite a mix on my ipod though. Towards the end of my running playlist I have some faster paced Christian music :
    Kerrie Roberts - No Matter What
    Britt Nicole - Walk On the Water
    Addison Road - Fight Another Day
    Francesca Battiteli - Free To Be Me

    I also have some classics, like Eye of The Tiger, Celebration, I Will Survive, Flashdance- What a Feeling, Don't Stop Believin......Cheesy But they work for me :)

  9. If I can get my act together, I'll make you a CD. I have a playlist that really revs me up when I need it.

    And, about banning mp3 players at races. A couple of years ago the USATF banned them at any race they sanction, which is a lot. In addition to safety, officials believe it puts runners at an unfair advantage. As you've noticed, some people run faster with its assistance. Elite runners train and compete differently, and the rules were designed for them but to apply to all. After so much flak and noncompliance from mid- and back-of-the-packers, the USATF changed its tune and now allows race directors to decide if they want to ban iPods or not. By the way, one midwest marathon had to disqualify the top two women finishers because one took water from a spectator (not allowed) and the runnerup was discovered to have used an iPod for part ofthe race.

  10. You guys are all awesome! Thanks! Now I just need to no be lazy and just learn how to find and load music. Anne, interesting comment...thanks! Crazy. I don't feel bad for the women that used her iPod for part of the race....rules are rules. But hopefully they made all the rules clear...especially the water rule...I wouldn't have known that.

    I'm excited to run my first race with music soon! Oh, and yes, ERG, Newport sounds like a go!

  11. Btw, what do I put my ipod in so that I'm not just sticking it down my bra?? Where do you get iPod cases/holders?? can't you get something to strap on your arm?? see, I told you that I'm pretty much an iPod virgin. what do I need to be set up solid to run with music? Right now I have some okay ear buds and I either hold my iPod or stick it in my bra or shirt or maybe a pocket.

  12. At the triathlon I'm doing this summer in Sunriver, they allow ipods on the run, but you can only have one earbud in. Safety issues they say.

    I have a running shirt that actually has an ipod pocket in it :-)
    I think it's NIKE.

  13. Music definitely helps me. Currently, I'm obsessed with rhianna's - only girl
    La Roux - bulletproof
    Anything by Kevin Rudolf and a lot of glee music. Enjoy the playlist making.

  14. I'm Back!
    Anyhooo- I don't race with music. I wore my ipod at the last HM, but never turned it on. There is WAY too much going on in my head and with other people to use it then.

    The race rules regarding headphones were designed to keep the elites from getting play-by-play coaching at first; or prerecorded coaching for different parts of a race. Now it's "safety" and liability for other runners.

  15. You can buy armbands. Sometimes I run in bike jerseys, which have pockets in the back...which is fine as long as I don't land on my butt when I fall. Lol

  16. I ran with my IPOD in an armband the first half I ran. Throughout the race it kept stinging and when the race was over I realized it had rubbed on my arm enough that it had been bleeding. I still have a cute little battle wound from it!

  17. I run with my ipod for training runs only and never at races. I just like to take in the whole race experience so that's why I don't wear one then. Most races site safety issues but really I can't see it being such an issue. It does not bother me if other wear them.

  18. Funny I just read this. My ipod ran out of battery at mile 1 this morning. I didn't think I would run the next hour and a half without it, but actually it was quite nice.
    The triathlons I do say banning them is a safety issue...especially for the bike portion.
    Mine songs are mostly country and christian. If I were any more technological I would help you out. My husband does all mine. For a time I had only HIS songs on the ipod and I wanted to stab myself every time I used it.

  19. i haven't run with music in years. well, that's a lie. i have a few times on the treadmill. it does help put an extra 'pep' in your step.

    races ban them for safety reasons -- most runners turn the volume up so loud people around them can hear and sing along (i'm sure you've noticed this in a race?). obviously those people can't hear if someone is trying to get their attention for any reason or if a car is coming too close. some races are more serious about enforcing the rule than others.

    oh and i think it's totally legal for someone to mail you a cd. i would, but i am too lazy to buy music and maintain my own itunes library. so i have nothing to send other than my cd's from 1998 :)

  20. I am addicted to my Ipod. Loud trashy music for speedwork and Podcasts or occasionally still loud trashy music for long runs. I can't even IMAGINE running a single repeat of any kind without it. Oddly enough, I almost NEVER race with it though. My brain is going crazy during a race and the music would just interupt my thoughts.

    My speed playlist as of todayL

    Firework-Katy Perry (good words)
    Liv Tonight-Nelly and Keri Hilson
    Hey Baby-Pitbull
    Like a G6-Far East Movement
    Bleed it Out-Linkin Park
    Waka Waka-Shakira

    This changes almost Daily!!

    Nice work on the repeats! You will be back to full form in no time! So glad the hammy is cooperating for you! Also, Great Christmas card pics. I believe our Christmas Card is going to say Happy Valentine's Day this year!

  21. I typically go to iTunes and look at the top 100 songs. I can listen to the short clips to see if I want to purchase. I typically add 4-5 new upbeat songs before each race. I also listen to the fm radio a lot during training runs.

    I prefer a clip that I clip onto my shorts. I think the armband would bug me.

    Have to have Eminem on my playlist and lots of hip hop, but I have EVERYTHING from classic, country, pop, rock, alternative, blues, etc. Have to have some alanis morrissette,
    cold play,
    sugar land -settling & down in Mississippi
    blues traveler,
    devil went down to ga - Charlie Daniels,
    Got to have me some PINK
    Ditto - snoop dogg
    mr. Bright side - the killers

  22. Most of the races that don't allow iPods are just for the elite competitors.

    Here's some ideas:
    Jay Z - Empire State of Mind, Run This Town
    Eminem - Lose Yourself, Cleaning out my Closet, Rabbit Run
    Fall Out Boy - This Ain't a Scene
    Panic! At The Disco - London Beckoned
    Pink - U & UR Hand, Oh My God
    Green Day - Minority, Holiday
    Blink 182 - Dammit
    Carrie Underwood - Before He Cheats
    Christina Aguilera - Fighter
    Fergie - Glamorous
    Good Charlotte - Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous
    Jason Mraz - Dynamo of Volition
    Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American
    Justin Timberlake - Rock Your Body
    Lady Gaga - Just Dance
    N.E.R.D. - Drill Sargeant

    Okay that's all I can think of right now!

  23. Ooh! I want to make you a CD! Next time I'm at my computer I'm going to make a little playlist of some of my faves for running. It will be hard to narrow it down, but it will be fun, too!!

    I am a hard core music runner. I'd say 99.9 percent of the time I have music. The other .01% I am listening to a podcast. Either way I always have something. I think for me it helps to distract me from what I'm doing. I fear if I don't have music I'll just get bored or feel like the run is more work than it really is. I like hearing songs and daydreaming. Or during a race I'll put my playlist in a specific order so that at the time when I inevitably get tired, then my "power" song comes on and gets my head back in the game!

  24. I use my IPOD mostly for my long solo runs or if I'm running with my kids in the jogger and really need to escape! I definately feel my legs picking up the pace when a favorite, upbeat song comes on, especially if I'm feeling good or inspired by my surroundings. And I've been known to sing out loud occasionally while on the run...hopefully no one is around with this happens.
    I have a "slower" run play list and a "faster" run play list and here are some from the faster bit...
    Single Ladies - Beyonce
    I gotta feeling - Black Eyed Peas
    Lets get it started - BEP
    Forget you - Cee Lo green
    Don't Stop Believing - Journey
    Waking up in Vegas - Katy Perry
    Hot N Cold - Katy Perry
    Fireworks - Katy Perry
    Last Fri night - Katy Perry (sensing a trend here...)
    My Life would such w/o you - Kelly Clarkson
    Bad Romance - Lada Gaga
    Story of my life - social distortion
    Hey, Soul sister - train
    Born to Run - Bruce
    Walk of Life - Dire Straits
    Should've Said no - Taylor Swift
    American Girl - Tom Petty
    What the Hell - Avril Lavigne
    Good Life - OneRepublic
    Soak up the sun - Sheryl Crow
    rolling in the deep - Adele
    you lie - the band perry
    one headlight - The wall flowers

    pretty diverse...hope you find a few to add to your own playlist1
    really enjoying your blog! :)