Like most things in running, it’s a very individual thing, whether you like to run with music or without. If music has a positive influence on your mood, then you should at least try it.
BPM – The beat of your run
Something I only found out after some time was that you can get songs for runners with the bpm information (beats per minute). When you are using a tracker, which I hope you do, then you will know after your first run how many spm (steps per minute, also known as cadence) you make. Then you have the option to get songs with that same bpm.
I did that at the beginning and it helped me extremely to keep a steady pace, which is really important at the beginning. It works a bit like a metronome and it’s also almost like a kind of meditation or dance if your feet hit the pavement with each beat. Of course that only works for those who can follow a beat…
Others may feel that as stress or pressure – but give it a try. If it helps you to run a steady slow pace and not get too fast, then it’s a good thing. It the most common mistake for beginners – to go too fast too soon and then burn out and drop it. On the other hand it shouldn’t make you feel like you can’t keep up with the cadence either. I started with 142 bpm.
Things to listen to
The other benefit of this comes when you start with longer runs. Especially if you have to stick to the same set of tracks, it can become boring and that’s never a good thing. Once running starts to feel a bit familiar to you and you don’t need to concentrate on the basics anymore, you can also listen to other things of course. How about a Podcast for example?
I have found that I’m often really creative and focused during a run and I get the best ideas for work! So sometimes I’m downloading some work-related audio training courses and listen to those. My capacity to learn during a run is surprising. There are meanwhile quite a few apps where you can download some courses, for example:
LinkedIn Learning, Udemy and Smartly. Of course that also works excellent when you want to learn a new language.
And last but not least there is the option to listen to an Audio book.
What a runner does when you have to taper: Playlists
Meanwhile I have a different playlist for each kind of run, from a fast, energetic 5k to a slow and steady Marathon. There are always moments when all the best circumstances meet in a run: Form, weather, scenery and a great song – and suddenly you feel like flying, a true runner’s high.
Music streaming services like Spotify all have many playlists for runners, as long as you have the possibility to download them and listen to them offline, because you can’t always rely on cellular network coverage when running in different places.
Within virtual running communities (like ours) you can also share your playlist with others and vice versa, I found really great new music that way.
Another important thing to consider is HOW you listen to your music. This has proven to be way more complicated than I initially thought it would be and I have bought way too many headphones to find the perfect one for each weather.