• Fri08May 2015
  • Music motivation: why it can move the runner

    Whether or not you decide to race to the beat, the latest research reveals that music can enhance a runner’s performance. In fact, it can increase performance by up to 15%.

    Caption contest anyone

    Music powers me – it really does…

    This is hardly a surprise when you consider how music can boost your mood when you’re feeling down in the dumps. Imagine what your favourite tune can do when you’ve hit the wall in a race. That’s correct, the right song can help you temporarily forget how tired you feel. Unless you’re lucky enough to be an elite, who tend to benefit to a lesser degree from music than us mere recreational athletes.

    But as Dr Costas Karageorghis, Deputy Head (Research), School of Sport & Education, Brunel University explains, you best leave the slow songs to weddings and celebrations. That is if you want to go faster.

    He says: “You can increase the intensity of your run by raising the music tempo by one or two BPMs beyond your ‘comfort zone’.”

    In other words embrace 90s dance music or plug into some drum’n’bass to really rev it up.

    Selecting a playlist to suit your training can also help motivate you throughout your workout.

    Think of it like a menu with a starter that warms you up, a main packed with flavour and a sweet that is tasty but not too heavy.

    As with everything in life, it’s all down to your own personal preference. What you enjoy may be another person’s nightmare so chose tunes that you find motivational or inspiring (Death metal anyone?).

    Dr Costas Karageorghis raises the point that: “Ideally, the music should create imagery in your mind that is motivational or inspiring. Such imagery is likely to give you greater staying power during your run. One of the distinct powers of music is that it can provide a ‘superhighway’ to positive memories, images and associations.”

    It’s also said that tracks with positive language such as Snap’s ‘I’ve Got The Power’ can boost your training.

    Just in case you have no idea what I’m referring to

    Of course, it’s not a good idea to become too dependent on music, especially if you want to race. Due to health and safety, it is forbidden during some races. It’s also quite cathartic to try and listen to your body without distraction.

    If you don’t know where to start though or want to try something different (and you have an iPhone 4S or above), adidas and Spotify have done the hard work for you with their new adidas go app. You’ve probably heard all about it already but if not listen up.

    Not only does the adidas go app match your favourite music to your workout, it also calculates your stride rate then selects tracks with the same beat per minute from Spotify’s music library. Clever huh?

    If you don’t have an iPhone (4S or above), you can always start with one of the many compilation albums available out there or try a bit of Ministry (of Sound).

    Let me know below what your favourite running tracks are and why they motivate you throughout your training.


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