Running Music: Your Guide to Getting Started
Do you love running with music? Then you are among the majority. According to a 2016 survey, 61% runners listen to something while on the run, while 82% are tuned in to their favorite music. So yes, running music playlist is a thing.
What are the benefits?
When you listen to music, your body releases the chemical messenger dopamine, which is associated with pleasurable experiences. Running while listening to your favorite tunes not only releases those feel-good hormones, but also helps ease your mind.
What’s even more interesting is that music can help increase the footstep turnover rate as you run. Runners seem to cover longer distances under the influence of acoustic stimuli like music. They also experience lower rates of perceived exertion — the music acts as a distraction and makes the workout feel easier. This performance-enhancing effect is known as auditory motor synchronization.
What type of music works best?
Two of the most important characteristics of a song are its tempo and rhythm response. If you were to choose numbers with slower beats, there is a chance your pace will slow down as well. Rock music or dance songs on the other hand, have upbeat music, which is the right range for efficient running. These numbers have an average of 120 to 130bpm (beats per minute) and are ideal for fast, powerful running. But remember, beats per minute beyond this range can have the opposite effect and might just be too fast to sync with.
It is also important to remember to pick songs that motivate you, as that can be just as impactful. Music is totally personal, so it could be hard rock, rap, or pop — just make sure your playlist has enough songs to cover the duration of your run.
Which earphones should you use?
There are plenty of earphone options — from branded to generic and airpods to beats. Some attributes to look for before buying your next set of headphones are:
- A stable fit that makes the earphones stay in your ears and not fall out during the run
- Waterproof or weather-resistant earphones that help survive sweat as well as wet weather
- Most importantly, ones that allow you to hear your surroundings while running and have safety features
Music is a personalized motivational tool that can go a long way to not only enhance your performance — especially as a beginner runner — but also lift your mood and help you focus. Just remember to prioritize your safety while wearing earphones, so as not to block out surrounding sounds. So what are you listening to on your next run?
1. Does Music Help You Run Faster? A Look at the Scientific Research. Runner’s Connect. https://runnersconnect.net/does-music-help-you-run-faster/ (accessed Feb 16, 2021).
2. The Secret To Running Faster and Longer is Music! Here’s Why! Zen labs. https://www.zenlabsfitness.com/running-and-music/ (accessed Feb 16, 2021).
3. Does Music Make Running Easier? Science world. https://www.scienceworld.ca/stories/does-music-make-running-easier/ (accessed Feb 16, 2021).
4. Jabr F. Let’s Get Physical: The Psychology of Effective Workout Music. Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/psychology-workout-music/ (accessed Feb 16, 2021).
5. How Much Does Music Help You During a Run? Runner’s World. https://www.runnersworld.com/training/a23471165/how-much-does-music-help-during-a-run/ (accessed Feb 16, 2021).
6. Bood RJ, Nijssen M, van der Kamp J, Roerdink M. The Power of Auditory-Motor Synchronization in Sports: Enhancing Running Performance by Coupling Cadence with the Right Beats. PLoS One 2013; 8: e70758.
7. Nolan A. The State of the American Runner, 2016. Runners World. 2016; published online Oct 11. https://www.runnersworld.com/runners-stories/a20825842/the-state-of-the-american-runner-2016/ (accessed Feb 18, 2021).