(1) the purists who believe running is a time of peace and solitude – a time to get away from all the noise of life and collect one’s thoughts in silence, and
(2) the iPoders, who couldn’t imagine running without the distraction and assistance of good tunes. It is a war silently waged on the running path each day – with the purist quietly cursing the iPoder in front of him, blaring music so loudly that he is oblivious to the calls of “on your right!”
The other day I came across two studies that investigated this topic, in particular, the mind-body connection and its relationship with endurance sports.
The first study was conducted in 2002 by Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia (Meeks and Herdegen, American Council on Exercise, 2002). This study looked at the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) and recovery rate of cyclists who listened to music vs. those who rode in silence. The study had 12 male college students ride stationary bikes for 10-minute periods with 5-minute recoveries.
Conclusion: The men who listened to music while biking rode an average of 11% farther than those who pedaled in silence. However, there was no significant difference in recovery rate.
The second was a longitudinal study from 1988-2008, conducted at Brunel University in London (Karageorghi, US Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 2008). This study examined how different types of music can affect exercise performance. One portion of the study had 30 subjects jog on a treadmill while listening to a selection of pop and rock tunes, such as songs by Queen, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Madonna. The runners were instructed to keep in strict time with the beat of the song.
Conclusion: Music can enhance endurance by 15% and improve positive feelings associated with the exercise, such as pleasure, even when working at exertion levels near physical exhaustion.
I cannot say that I am surprised with the findings of these studies. Even if you don’t support running with iPods (especially on race day), think about various cardio classes you have attended. When a great song comes on, how does that make you feel? Or coming around a bend in a race and “Eye of the Tiger” comes on…you cannot say that you don’t get a rush of adrenaline or a second wind. Music definitely can make a difference!
Even though I know it can help, I don’t listen to music during a marathon. I think you miss out on a lot of the marathon experience if you do. At Grandma’s Marathon last Saturday, there were several bands along the course as well as spectators cheering and playing fun music. That is part of the whole awesome marathon experience!
(The joy that was Grandma’s Marathon…)
Even though I don’t listen to music during most races, I completely understand the power of good tunes! Plus, whatever gets you out the door to run is fine by me. If a fun playlist is your motivation, go with it.
A few other thoughts on running with music?
- Safety first! Make sure you’re still aware of your surroundings and able to hear approaching traffic.
- Running with a friend? Make sure you both plan to listen to tunes. If your running buddy is planning for some good conversation, you might be down one running buddy afterwards if you decide to put on your headphones!
If running with tunes is your “jam”, Spotify is a great option to find a variety of playlists to keep you motivated.
Post-Grandma’s Marathon, I have been easing back into running and a good playlist has been helpful to allow me to “zone out” on these easy runs. One such playlist is the Basilica Block Party playlist!
What is the Basilica Block Party?
Let me tell you! The Right Fits is mostly about Fitness (with a heavy emphasis on running) but I also like to share information on things to do in my fair city of Minneapolis.
The Basilica Block Party is an awesome event that is coming up July 10 & 11. This two day festival is in its 21st year. It’s always such a good time in a beautiful location by the Basilica of St. Mary.
This block party definitely should be on your summer bucket list if it isn’t already.
This year’s line-up is great (see below). In fact, the folks at the Basilica Block Party have put together a Spotify play list featuring all the bands in this year’s line-up. You should check it out for your next run or workout. It was put together with fitness in mind so it includes plenty of upbeat tunes to keep you going!
I haven’t decided if we are going to go to the block party on Friday or Saturday night…What would you recommend?
Here’s the line-up:
Motion City Soundtrack
Fly Golden Eagle
Fitz and the Tantrums
Pretty solid line-up, right? If you like these bands, I highly recommend checking out this playlist.
Then consider heading to the block party in a few weeks. You might just get introduced to some new tunes to keep you motivated at your next run!
Are you going to the Basilica Block Party? What are your thoughts on running with music- yes or no? Do you use Spotify? Pandora? Something else?
And here’s a #TBT picture from the Basilica Block Party, circa 2011!