How Music Affects Your Pace
Music is a powerful thing. It can lift our mood, conjure memories and make even the most uncoordinated toes tap. It’s no secret that runners listen to music, we see plenty of spaghetti-like wires dangling from ears at races but what effect does it have on your pace?
Whether it’s pounding dance or melodic pop, listening to music as you run is a form of entertainment. It can keep you going where you might have otherwise get bored of plodding. It can also distract you from your efforts. In fact, the perception of how hard you’re working will be reduced by around 10 percent. In theory, this means you could push a bit harder or at least keep going at the same intensity when, without your playlist, you might have slowed down.
Choosing music that matches your cadence can help you keep your pace. You’ll find your body naturally moves in time to a beat – put on something slow and you’ll begin to mellow, choose a livelier beat and your pace will pick up. There are plenty of sites and apps that can help determine what speed your favourite tracks are, like RockMyRun, Song bpm and jog.fm.
It’s scientifically proven that music encourages positive thought and diminishes negativity. So if you’re doing your tough hills sessions or your really hard long runs to a soundtrack, you may actually enjoy them, which means you’ll want to do them more often and for longer. That will only benefit you, come race day.
Music is clearly beneficial but it’s easy to become reliant. Try to run at least once a week without beats pumping into your ears to focus on your breathing and to take note of how you feel without the extra boost of your favourite playlist. And, of course, take note of races that require you to leave the headphones at home, where the roads are open and you need to listen out for traffic.
A study carried out at Brunel University, analysed millions of playlists to devise the ultimate running soundtrack. It turns out warming up with Katy Perry, powering through with Pharrel Williams and cooling down with Lorde is the perfect combination. These tracks aren’t for everyone, we know, so which tracks pace you perfectly on your runs?