Why do you think music is so important to runners to listen while they run?
Science has proven that music is a cognitive and physical stimulant. (read more). It can enhance one’s mood and, thus, can enhance one’s performance. It can also provide a much needed distraction from the pain and fatigue that goes along with running. Personally, my motivation to run or race increases tenfold when I put my headphones in. But, that said, it doesn’t work for everyone. Clearly, it’s a personal choice.
Recently, fellow runner & blogger Ron Greig over at 50 Plus Runner, asked me the above question and I provided the above response. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that listening to music boosts my overall performance. It's not that I don't put the time in and do the work in regards to my training. That's a given. But with music, the whole running experience is typically heightened and I'm often able to push myself to that next level. That alone is reason enough for me to listen while I run. But, there's more to it than that. A couple days ago, I was banging out a 14 miler. It was hot, humid, and I was dragging. And then the song 'Colorful' by Rocco DeLuca & the Burden, came on. Suddenly, I could feel a huge smile spreading across my face. I remembered discovering this song when I was pregnant with my second daughter back in 2006. I was still running, albeit gingerly, up until about 30 weeks of my pregnancy and I would start almost every run with this song. So now, not only do I think back on that time in my life each time this song comes on, but I also think of my daughter, Grace, who is, indeed, very colorful. Not every song jogs a memory like this one, but a lot of them do. And if I'm running along, regardless of whether I'm doing track repeats or a 20 miler, and a song starts playing that makes me smile, than that particular moment is all the more sweeter and perhaps just a hair less painful. In all my years of running, I've found that just one small spring in my step can push my entire workout in the right direction. Music is insanely powerful. Good memories even more so. Together, they can blow your mind. Yet another reason to run with music.
6 SONGS THAT MAKE ME SMILE & WHYRather Be by Clean Bandit: My daughter, Rosie, age 10, loves this song. She screams when it comes on and then belts it out at the top her lungs as it plays. She knows every single word. And it always makes her smile. It's also the song that my NH State Parks Reach the Beach team used in our recap video. (link here) This event is such an epic adventure and just thinking about it puts me a in a good mood. So, this song is kind of a double whammy in terms of awesomeness.
Dynamite by Taio Cruz - My nephew, Will, was totally obsessed with this song when it came out. He's 9 now, but was probably 5 or 6 at the time. I won't deny that my kids and I loved it, too. But Will would literally drop everything and start break dancing if it came on. And his moves were epic.
Here Comes the Night Time by Arcade Fire - I was in the car with my daughter Grace, age 8, when this song came on and I saw her pause and listen. As it sunk it, she started to groove out, closing her eyes, moving her head and arms to the beat and, yes, smiling. The best part? She had no idea I was watching. I remember thinking how cool it was to see a wee one so moved by a song.
15 Steps - Radiohead - My husband and I saw these guys at Great Woods (now the Xfinity Center) in Mansfield, MA. I was pregnant with Rosie, and we ponied up the big bucks for seats so I didn't have to deal with the crowds on the lawn. Radiohead is easily one of my favorite bands, but this song in particular, completely blew me away. I'm not sure if it was because my hormones were raging at the time but something pretty magical happened for those few minutes.
Time to Run - Lord Huron - When I first heard this song, I was in my car and I pulled over so I could write down the artist. I'd never heard of Lord Huron, but I was instantly stricken by both the song and the band. My dear friend, Cara Z., who I have run hundreds of miles with, loves this band as much if not more than I do. We went and saw them together in Boston and it was such an amazing night. She recently moved to VT with her family and I don't get to see her as often, but every time this song comes on, she comes to mind. I love that.
Blessed by Tom Hangs & Shermonology (Avicii Mix) - I was riding on the bus with my high school XC team when this song came on the radio. I wanted to add it to my running playlist so I discreetly pulled out my phone and Shazamed it. All the sudden, I heard someone quietly whisper something like, "you guys, I just saw Coach Trax Shazam this song." I was totally busted. So, I came out and admitted to over 60 high school girls, that, yes, I did like listening to their music despite the fact that I was almost 40 years old. Now whenever I hear it I think of my XC crew and how lucky I am to have my job.
Confession...I am now smiling like a total idiot as I finish up this post. Totally worth it.
Listen to this:
Seventeen - Sjowgren Listen w/