It’s been a hard day. You have an even harder workout ahead of you. Thoughts and worries are circling around in your mind. You know the run will help, but sometimes you need more than that. Then you put on your headphones and there it is – just the right song to get you out the door. The right music can be the perfect running partner at times, but is it really always the best way to train? As much as a good adrenaline pumping song can get you fired up to step into the blocks, or a well paced relaxing rhythm can keep you cool over all the miles, if you’re training for a race – a race in which you won’t have that music there as an aid – are you really helping or hurting yourself by training that way?
For the pro music point of view, runners have to deal with a lot of internal mental challenges. “Am I maintaining form?” “Is my pace right?” “Did I eat enough?” “Am I getting tired?” All these kinds of questions can echo through our heads when we should just relax and let training, muscle memory and instinct take over. Music can quiet all these distractions and keep our focus where it needs to be. What’s more, great songs can be like an audio turbo charger – an inspiring line of lyrics, a primal drum beat, an electrifying guitar riff and you feel as if nothing can slow you down.
On the other hand, music has been shown to occasionally cause increases in heart rates. If you don’t have a good holder for your music player, or if your headphones aren’t comfortable, you can find yourself making adjustments and feeling more distracted by the device than empowered by the music. And even the music itself can be a problem if your running rhythm starts syncing up with a song’s beat instead of the right pace for your workout. All these issues could actually make your workout harder or less productive than it should be.
These are just some of the arguments for and against training with music, but what’s your opinion? Do you get more out of running with music or do you find running in silence to be the most productive? If you do find music helpful, what songs or artists get you going the most during your run? Give us your thoughts and feedback in the comment box below or feel free to share on Facebook or Twitter.
Photo courtesy of thisnext.com.