Music and running
When I first started running I ran without music. Looking back this was probably for the best as my running skills / technique and breathing were non existent. As was my capability to run half a mile without stopping twice, bending over double and nearly puking my guts up. But through perseverance and determination I eventually managed to not only run half a mile, then a mile but to get to 3 miles without stopping. Out of breath and totally knackered, but happy.
Waiting until I had the running thing sussed before adding music was not intentional, but I am gladded it worked that way.
When I added music to my runs I started by listening to The Prodigy. Why? Well mainly because growing up I always liked them, and I vey rarely got an opportunity to listen to them, especially on full blast, so when I was out running I had half an hour or so to enjoy them.
The problems with that though was a) the tempo of the music, which made me run as fast as I could, and b) the songs reminded me of many happy times clubbing, and I would find myself daydreaming or having flashbacks, which distracted me from what I was trying to do.
I needed something with a steadier tempo.
A radical progression
Eagle Eye Cherry, Dave Matthews Band, Kings of Leon and Will Young then became my preferred artists to run to.
One particular track by DMB was about 14 minutes long, I started my run with this song, it was half of my running time, so I knew that when the song finished I was half way around my route. And each time I would aim to be a few 100 yards further than the time before, this meant I was running at a quicker pace.
I went through a phase of trying to run 5k as quick as I damn well could. I started with runs of about 28m 30s, and managed to get it down to 23m 53s. That was without listening to upbeat, quick tempo tunes.
Steady pace, longer distance
Until recently my play list included Maverick Sabre, Plan B, Adele, Will Young, Kasabian, The Script, Florence and the Machine, Stone Roses and The Who. Quite a diverse range of artists, but all tracks were suitable to help me maintain the pace the I was comfortable with. I was refocussing. My running strategy had changed from ‘hell for leather as quick as I can’ to slower and longer’
My intention was now to build up my distances, slowly increasing from 3 miles to 6, 7 then 8 and 9 miles.
Listen and learn
To help me to achieve a slower pace still, and increase my distance further I now listen to audiobooks. Currently I am listening to an emotional yet very funny biography read by Mr Michael Caine.
The constant tone helps me to maintain a very even pace and stride, and helps to pass the miles away far quicker than music can do.
So I have gone from one extreme to another with music and what I listen to.
I guess different people listen to different genres of music, and it all depends on what works best for you. For me at the moment it’s all about distance. Perhaps this will change one day, once I have achieved my target distance.
A marathon and more.