Five ways music can help
No one should run with music if they don’t enjoy it or if it compromises their safety.
But runners at all fitness levels are performing better with music that has been composed to make you run faster.
Research shows how music increases performance and enjoyment. Read on to find out how to select music and make playlists to give your running a boost.
Run to the Beat
At a functional level, a clear beat at the right tempo is an effective way to control your pace. Selecting the right tempo beat can make you run faster during interval training, or run slower in specific kinds of training such as the important aerobic base training.
The findings reported by the BBC from research conducted by Professor Costas Karageorghis discovered that in some cases performance benefits of about 15% were achieved when the beat is synchronised with work output.
Research conducted at John Moores University in Liverpool with cyclists on turbo trainers found a faster beat increased work output and increased enjoyment.
Use the BPM column in iTunes to help make playlists with a tempo in the 155 BPM to 170 BPM range to run to the beat.
In addition to the functional benefits of the beat, there are other ways music can make you perform better.
Select Motivating Arrangements
If you pick tracks with the right kind of uplifting, energetic vibe you’ll put yourself into a positive emotional state for running.
For example dance and pop generally bounce you up; thrashing rock can inject some positive aggression, soaring choral work in the classical genre inspires some.
Because AudioFuel is written specifically for running we arrange the music to have the right vibe to power you though a walk, enjoy a gentle training jog, right up to powering you through a two hour marathon training long run.
Use Big Sounds to Run Fast
Intensity is a factor too. The ‘bigger’ the sound, the more powered up you’ll feel.
A track that demonstrates this perfectly is ‘Thru the Gears’, a 15 minute soundtrack custom composed by AudioFuel for the audio brand Sennheiser.
When you get to the sprint section there are, to use composer Howie Saunders’ words “slabs of thrash guitar & juggernaut bass, using over ninety separate channels of audio” all of which elevates your energy levels and sustains you throughout the sprint
Download it free courtesy of Sennheiser.
Add a Your Classic to Your Playlist
Memory is also a powerful tool; a song that you associate with a happy period in your life can also prompt the right emotions to positively affect the way you feel when you run which will in turn improve your performance.
Take a Coach With You
Most runners do not run with a coach, yet elite runners all have coaches.
Another way our running music helps people run better and faster is by having optional coaching to give you running tips and advice. For instance with interval training, the coach counts you on to the beat, tells you how long each faster run is, and helps you stay focused and motivated to complete each harder section.
For instance, UK Athletic coach Martin Yelling pushes you hard with beat driven running music through three different intensity levels, from 160 BPM, all the way to 185 BPM in the hardest workout.
Make Your Own Playlist, or Try AudioFuel
Use these ideas to make your own running playlist. Fast tempo, motivating arrangements, big sounds and classics that trigger memories from the good times of your life.
Or if you are new to AudioFuel, you can try free samples to experience the AudioFuel effect for yourself, or buy from our store with a money back guarantee if it does not work out for you.
Finally...What's Your Experience of Running with Music?
Use the comments section below to let us know what makes you move, or what kind of music, coaching or run session you'd like us to make next.
Plus a Story from a Cynic...
For those who want to read on, here's an email that came in today from Vicki... who did not like the idea of running with music, it's a great read of almost Biblical running conditions...
Hi Tom and Martin,
This is the first time I've written in [to Marathon Talk] I felt compelled to write after listening yesterday whilst on a run. I'm a bit behind with the episodes so was listening to the long run episode 62.
It was a grim day and my motivation has been at an all time low for the last 6 months or so - I suffered burnout last August (my own fault pushing through instead of listening to my body)
Anyway, I digress...
I listened to the start of episode 62 to hear Martin explaining that during the podcast there were going to be some 15 min intervals of music by AudioFuel.
Argghhh... as I said the weather was grim, my mood wasn't great, motivation was low and now I learn that the podcast was going to be interrupted by music.
I started ranting silently to myself - 'if I wanted to listen to music, I wouldn't be listening to a podcast'...grumble, mumble, grumble. I guess your ears at Marathon Talk must've been burning too - sorry!
I decided that when the music parts came around, I'd just skip them...simple!
Well, the music did come around just as a massive hailstorm started, the wind picked up and I decided it would be easier to carry on than to stop and faff around trying to fast forward the podcast.
Oh my word....what a stroke of genius. I absolutely loved the music - what a fantastic idea. The hailstones were bouncing off my face and legs, stinging them red raw and I was so cold I couldn't feel my extremities but I had a massive grin - I also ran further than I have in 6 months.
The music definitely got me through one of the toughest runs I've done for ages and I was buzzing when i got home. I was so impressed that immediately on arriving home (wet and bedraggled), I bought one of AudioFuel's long run albums. I now can't wait until I feel well enough to do another run so that I can listen to it.
Thanks Tom, Martin, and AudioFuel for giving me back my mojo.