My general theory on music is this...music makes almost everything we do better.
If I'm cooking, I'm listening to music. If I'm mowing the lawn, I'm listening to music. If I'm writing an article, I'm listening to music.
You can take a fun thing, like hanging out with friends, and make it even better by adding the right music.
And if you're doing something mundane, or downright miserable, like cleaning the house, or boxing up your stuff for a move, music can actually make it pretty fun.
That's how it's been for me as long as I can remember. I've always loved music and it's always been a major part of my life.
I can spend hours at a time listening to new musicians or bands that I've never heard before, and when I find one that really moves me, it's like Christmas.
Now, I know not everyone feels this way about music. Take my wife, for example. She listens to '80's music and country, and has zero interest in finding new music. She doesn't listen to music very often and can even get annoyed with me when I want to turn on music all the time!
And she's not alone.
Lot's of my friends wouldn't care all that much if people just stopped making music.
For me, music is an escape. It's an experience that helps me cope with something I might not want to do, or amplifies the joy I'm already experiencing from what I'm doing.
Much like running, music can help boost my mode, calm me down, or get me excited for a new adventure. It draws an emotional response like very few things I can think of.
These are a few of the reasons why listening to music while running can be so awesome!
Now, before we continue, I want to point out that I don't always listen to music while I'm running. That's because it's not always safe.
Having headphones on means you're not going to hear your surroundings very well, if at all. You won't hear cars honking, people talking/yelling, dogs barking, or cyclists passing you. You are essentially losing a sense which can make simple things, like crossing the street, much more dangerous.
Always be aware of what's going on around you. If you're going to be running on the road or somewhere with a lot of traffic, just skip the music, it's not worth it.
A lot of people I know want to get into running for reasons other than their love of running!
They want to lose weight, get in shape for another sport, or just get a little healthier. Generally, these people end up going on a few runs and then they quit.
But they don't quit because they get hurt, or they can't physically run, or they aren't making progress...they quit because they're bored out of their minds!
They might go for a 25 minute run and they're thinking about how bad their legs hurt the entire time! Their mind has nothing to focus on so they just think about the pain or discomfort they are feeling.
Obviously, this makes for a pretty awful 25 minutes.
This is one way that music can help. Listening to your favorite band or playlist (or podcast!) while you're running will give you something to look forward to, something to focus on (other than that sweet, sweet pain), and something to enjoy!
But music isn't just for those runners who are bored when they're pounding pavement.
Like I said before, music can cause a strong emotional response from listeners. This can help you prepare for a run, control your pace during a run, and finish strong on a run!
But you gotta pick the right jams!
For example...when I go out for faster runs or harder efforts I will listen to something heavy, fast, upbeat, or just loud to help me get energized to tear through my workout! This is my workout playlist from Spotify, it's my go-to for faster paced runs. (If you don't like rap, you might want to skip this one!)
If I'm going on a slow, easy, or recovery run I'll listen to a more mellow playlist which will help me slow my heart rate and regulate my breathing. Sometimes I'll listen to classical to really try to chill, sometimes I'll listen to my favorites playlist, which has a good mix of uptempo stuff as well as some more mellow tunes. (Mostly alt rock)
I know, I know...some of you aren't buying it. You might think all of this is new-age BS that I made up. But...how can I put this gently...YOU'RE WRONG!!
There is tons of research that backs up the idea that music can have a major impact on your emotions...there is even "music therapy" at many major rehabilitation centers around the world.
That emotional response can help you maintain the heart rate and breathing rate that you want during your run.
The nice thing about running with music is that you probably already have everything you need to get started.
Here are the essentials:
1. A phone, or something that can play music. Use your $1,000 iPhone, use your 1982 Walkman...you just need music!
2. Some earbuds. You really don't want to use over-ear headphones. Even though they tend to have better sound quality, they are much, much heavier, they always fall off or move out of position, and they make your ears hot and sweaty.
Go with a decent pair of earbuds. These are my all time favorites, and they're like $20.
3. Lastly, you just need something to carry your phone in. Yes, you could carry your phone in your hand, but come on...that sucks. You could also carry your phone in your pocket, but honestly, that sucks even more.
I use a running belt to carry my phone, keys, and a gel if I need one. Yes, I know it's basically a fanny pack. Yes, my wife makes me fun of me relentlessly for it. But you're shirt will cover it and no one will even know you have it on...unless they live with you.
You could also use the classic arm strap for your phone. Of course, if you use a hydration pack, you can just toss your phone in there and you're good to go!
I've found that not only can music help me set the tone for my run, but it can also encourage me during the hardest parts of my run.
There have been countless times when I've felt beaten, demoralized, or disappointed, and an awesome song starts playing and gives me new life.
When you're trudging up a massive hill that looks like it'll never end, there aren't too many things that will encourage you to keep pushing...but having "We are the Champions" blasting in your ears is definitely one of them.
I'm not saying that music is going to hand you a new PR, or that you won't be sore after running with music.
I'm just saying, running is awesome, and running with music is...awesome'er.
The only real way to know if you'll love running with music is to try it! This weekend sounds like a perfect time to get a run in with some tunes!
Thank you so so so so much for reading!
If you enjoyed this article...PLEASE...share it with a friend. It makes a huge difference to this little ol blog!
If you're looking for more articles about running check these out...