I’m not sure what I would have done without music during my runs. I would have probably given up a thousand times by now if it wasn’t for my running playlist. I tend to update my running playlist from time to time so that I won’t grow tired of certain songs. Then there are those epic songs I’ll never get tired of and they will probably stay on repeat forever.
During this past week I’ve needed an extra boost and encouragement when running. The level of difficulty seemed a bit too high for me. But then I came to the conclusion that it was all in my head. I wasn’t going to die if I ran a few more seconds. There were moments where it would have been so easy to just give up and go back home. Truth be told I did stop twice, but at the very second I stopped I felt the guilt and disappointment wash all over me and I decided to run a few extra meters by the end of my run in order to make up for it. I definitely needed something that would bring my motivation and spirit up for my next run. My solution? 70s music! Did it help? Why yes it did. Thank you Sister Sledge and Abba!
Music just seems to soothe one’s soul and there are several other benefits when listening to music, even when it comes to running.
Here are 8 good reasons to plug in your headphones and listen to some music when out for a run (I’m sure that there are many more):
1. Gets you motivated on your longer runs
At the Brunel University in England, researchers have investigated which music will motivate you the most during longer workouts. Music with an average tempo wins over a mixture of a fast and slow paced music, and over solely fast music.
2. Improves you reaction speed
The faster your music’s tempo is, the quicker your reactivity is.
3. Train harder without getting tired
Studies have shown that your workout-strains will feel approximately 10% less if you run to music that suits your pace, tempo and heart rate. In other words, with music you will be able to perform 10% longer or with 10% higher intensity, without it feeling more difficult.
4. Maximizes your workout flow
If you combine your running with music it’s a lot easier to get into a “flow” – a state where your body and mind more or less hits into an autopilot mode and you don’t pay notice to what you are doing, but where you simply run. Being “in the zone” can resemble a lighter hypnotic state where you forget about time and space and where you are simply present in the now. If you are able to achieve that flow you will experience a very pleasant run, the so called “runner’s high”. Music will make your run much more than just a workout and your head will be cleansed of thoughts, your stress will vanish and time will fly.
5. Reduces nervousness and stress
If you’re nervous before a race or competition, music can decrease your nervosity and help to to perform better. Slow and familiar music is good if you want to keep your nerves in check, while upbeat music can increase your performance. Whether you’re training for a race or not, nervousness, stress and heartache can worsen your results and even make you abandon your running altogether.
6. Saves oxygen
If you running pace/tempo is synced with your music, you can decrease the amount of oxygen you use up by 7%.
7. Interval training gets easier
Music can be your best friend if you’ve decided to do interval training/running. In order to keep your tempo, you can you the rhythm of the music to control when you place your foot on the ground.
8. Keep your spirit up!
Even with the best intentions it can sometimes prove to be difficult to stay at your desired intensity/pace during a longer and demanding run, music helps. Turning up your favourite song can boost your spirit and you will kick some ass! Or you might just end up looking rather silly running around singing to yourself…but who cares. 😉