Musical Motivation


Now then, here’s the thing I’ve been wondering about. I love my iPod and love my music, but not sure if it’s helping me or hindering me at this stage of my running training. I can happily listen to it on my walk to and from work, and on the occasions I find myself in the gym (which are way too far and in-between at the minute!) But I don’t really know if listening to music whilst running as a beginner is a good thing.

Last Saturday I listened to my iPod for the first time whilst attempting to run home (less talk about that, the better) and I set off at too quick of a pace, so had to stop and get picked up. I’ve got a feeling that the pace I set was in time to the music I was listening to (The Almighty – Heavy Rock music) and so couldn’t properly judge my pace.

The day after, I attempted the run home again, this time without music and got a lot further. In fact, through a mixture of running and walking I got the whole way home. Is that because I could judge my pace easier without music, or is it because I was deliberately going slowly because of the day before disaster? Not sure.

On the Monday I went for a run with Ironman Tony and did my furthest yet, 2.2 miles, at a pace of 9:45 minutes a mile. No music.

The next run I went on was yesterday, Saturday, and was alone. I put on some Alice Cooper (Hey Stoopid – Brilliant Album) and ran 2 miles at a pace of 9:08 a mile. That’s quite a bit quicker than my best pace!  Is it because of the music spurring me on, or is it because of the music that I can’t judge pace properly? I’m sure that when I get more experience as a runner, I’ll be able to pace myself no problems, music or not. But I’m not sure that it’s the best thing for my training at this stage.


1 – You can get lost in the music and so the distance and time flies by.

2 – Favourite songs are a great pick-me-up when you’re at a low.

3 – You don’t hear kids shouting abuse (Look at him trying to run! LOL!) Or similar.

4 – You can push yourself to keep running to the end of a song, or the end of the next song, or the next.

Cons: (For me, in reverse order…)

4 – Can’t hear traffic if you’re running on the road.

3 – When the battery dies halfway out, it’s a proper downer.

2 – Hard to keep my own pace, until I practice some more.

But the number one reason, the reason that in part made me think of writing all of this is the following….

1 – …………..I’m an air-drummer.

Let me explain: I listen to a lot of rock music, Quireboys, Alice Cooper, Dog’s D’amour, Guns N Roses, Slash’s Snakepit, The Almighty, Gun, Love/Hate, Bon Jovi, the list goes on and on. What do all of this bands have in common? Guitar riffs and drum beats. Now, I’ve never been into playing air-guitar, but give me a set of air drums and i’m away. I can be walking home with my iPod in and if there’s a decent (or even half decent) drum beat or drum solo, my arms are away.

Worryingly, this seems to be the case whilst running too. When I was out yesterday, I caught myself air-drumming along to a few Alice Cooper songs before realising what I was doing, and more so, realising what the hell I would look like to passer by’s and the cars driving past. I must’ve looked like someone who only has control over two of his limbs at a time, or maybe they thought a wasp had gotten inside my T-Shirt.

I think I probably looked like Phoebe in that episode of Friends where her and Rachel go out running and she waves her arms about like a nutter.

As well as my running training this week, I need to practice pacing when out listening to music, and also to practice keeping my arms where they should be. I think I’ll have the pacing sorted long before the air drumming!

3 thoughts on “Musical Motivation

  1. I can only comment on my own experience but when I started running I only listened to audio podcasts. It’s only since I’ve been stepping up my training that I’ve switched to music as it really does keep me going and since the switch (and the heavy metal influence) I’ve been beating my PB’s left, right and centre.

    • What songs and bands do you find work best for you? Nice pic of you and Mick Foley by the way!

      • Ha, cheers. It was an honour to meet him, he is, after all, one of my heroes.

        Music wise I listen to up tempo songs or songs with hard beats:

        Whenever I post about my runs I usually add a track list of what I listened to but at the moment my running tracklist features:

        Steel Panther, Andrew WK, Def Leppard, Man Raze,
        INXS, Do Me Bad Things and The Darkness.

        I basically take out all of the ballad type songs and just leave myself with pure, unadulterated rock.

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