While I ate my veggie burrito, Dr. Costas Karageorghis, head researcher at the School of Sport and Education at Brunel University, summarized his research on music and athletic performance. He had some fascinating statistics. But as I listened, I wondered how much of this we runners already knew (without a doctor telling us)? To quote from the transcript:
Background music typically will reduce an exerciser's perception of the effort they are expending by about 10 percent," Karageorghis says. When there is no background music playing at the gym, or if someone is working out without headphones... there's still a benefit to the music in your head. "Nowadays athletes are not allowed to use music" while competing, he says. Instead, he encourages athletes with whom he works to "imagine a particular piece music" while competing. "This has a pacing function, so they synchronize their music to the tempo of the music, ...This has a workout enhancing effect ... Imagining music is often just as effective as listening to it 'proper,' in terms of neurological responses."Ok, so I've been playing Beautiful Day on the jukebox in my brain during long runs for the past couple of years. I always thought I was crazy, but clearly I was onto something! (And I discovered this trick before the illustrious Doctor, it seems?)
The doc also has some suggestions on beats per minute (bpm) to maximize workout potential. He recommends that bpm be similar to heart rate, with most folks preferring a tempo between 125 and 140. (Am I the only person with a heart rate of 180 running?)
For some excellent pointers on how to find the beats per minute on your favorite songs, or suggestions on where to go for running playlists, Lifehacker has some helpful hints.
Speaking of playlists... Here's my actual playlist (the one on my mp3 player, not the one in my brain).
Do you run with or without music?
What's on your playlist?
Photo courtesy of Phil / FreeDigitalPhotos.net