Mary's Going with Guts!

Track my progress as I train for my next Team Challenge half marathon for the CCFA

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The importance of music while running

Posted by msdon9 on April 12, 2010

Back in 2001, a study was led by a professor from Florida State University to examine the possible psychological benefits of listening to music while running. The results of the study showed that music didn’t do anything to  influence ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) or heart rate (HR), but 30% of the participants indicated that the music “helped them,” (especially at the beginning of the run) by directing their attention to the music and motivating them to continue. An abstract from the study quotes, “Despite the heavy workload reported by the runners, running with music was perceived as beneficial by many.” (

 Really? Only 30% said that music helped them? I wonder if any of that has changed since the advent of the iPod, because most, if not all, runners on my team use them. I can tell you that when my own iPod froze on me halfway through this past Saturday’s training, my workout became that much more burdensome to me. 

I was battling a lot this weekend. I’m not sure if it was allergies or something else, but I had what I thought was the very early stages of an ear infection or a very bad head cold. My left ear was clogged, rendering me partially deaf, and what I could hear came with a strange and static-y “echo” of sorts. That, on top of very little sleep the night before, made me feel sluggish. I had a harder time getting through this week’s 4.5 mile run than I did getting through last week’s 6 miler. But – a friend told me that running on “off” days is good practice for race day, for who knows what kind of condition I’ll be in then. Luckily I was able to cure my “airplane ear” problem with some allergy medication and nasal spray, but I was most definitely “off” for most of Saturday. 

So let’s go back to the death of my iPod, the primary reason why I did not enjoy my last training run. I really did think it was a goner, but after allowing the battery to fully drain, I was able to restart it and get it working again. I must admit that I (perhaps prematurely) considered trashing it and purchasing myself a brand new iTouch, partially so I could utilize some of the Apple Apps that many of my iPhone friends use, especially the ones related to running. Well – I decided to hold off on what would likely be a $300 investment in a new iPod, and instead I sunk $20 into upgrading my BlackBerry. The newest version of the Curve is able to run a program called Sanoodi, which many BlackBerry-using joggers like to use to map their runs and track workout progress. I downloaded it and transferred it over to my phone; I’ll try it tomorrow and see how it goes. Also – the new Curve allows me to synch a playlist from iTunes directly to my BlackBerry! I test drove this at the gym on Saturday afternoon and was pleased to discover that songs on my playlist paused for me to answer calls when they came in. How nifty! Now all I need is an armband to run with my BlackBerry, and I’ll be all set for the temporary. 

Chances of me investing in the new iTouch before June’s ½ marathon are still very high. While I got my old unit working for now, I don’t want to run the risk of having it die on me partially into a 13.1 mile run. That would just drive me nuts! 

So another week of training passes! This coming week I plan to focus more on diet and other exercise, specifically weight training. I haven’t been eating too well the past few weeks likely because of Spring Break and Easter (and Sunday’s trip to the wineries with friends didn’t help, as you can see by the photo below), but I hope to turn that around for this week to see if I have any positive results.

Wineries on Sunday. This is what I mean about my diet going, um... "astray."


One Response to “The importance of music while running”

  1. ulla said

    I just started running about 2 months ago and was able to go the distance until i switched up my playlist. Today i ran to 11 minutes a mile basically for me. The music and determination got me through it. I read that visualizing running for longer periods helps as well, as out brain can kill the run before you even tie your laces.

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