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Music as Motivation?

Do you enjoy running to music?  Or are you one who enjoys the music of nature, the streets, the neighborhoods, etc?  There are many runners out there who feel passionate one way or the other.  I have always loved music and definitely turn to it as motivation n many areas… how much better is it to clean the house and fold laundry to your favorite music versus silence or the kids TV shows??   But there is something about leaving everything behind and just running and listening to the sounds around you.  Those sounds can be a large part of your running experience.  And of course running sans music is on many levels safer for you as a runner.  You can hear dogs barking, cars coming, and even another person running behind you.  Let’s just leave those scenarios stop there… no need to go into what could happen within each of those circumstances.

I guess I would say I certainly enjoy a music filled run versus a no music run.  I wanted to see if having the music affected my performance.  So the last two Tuesday mornings I have opted to run without music.  Ya, I know – it’s just two runs and I don’t have certain fixed variables set up (i.e. amount of sleep the night before, same nutrition the day before, consistent weather conditions, etc.) but hey, it was just a little test for my own knowledge!

I did run the same route all three times.  A nice 4 mile route that starts and ends at my home.  And I headed up at about the same time in the morning for both runs without music.  I wore the same sneakers, my Mizuno Nirvanas for all three runs!

So here’s the first run without music:

12/4/12 run

12/4/12 run splits

And the second run without music:

12/11/12 run splits

12/11/12 run splits

As you can see they’re pretty similar.  Only a couple of seconds off variance in each mile.  I didn’t have my heart rate strap on for the first run, but did for this one…

Heart Rate Info for 12/11/12

Heart Rate Info for 12/11/12

Now here is the same run WITH MUSIC:

12/13/12 run splits

12/13/12 run splits

Um, hello?  Do you see that not ONE of those miles is above 9:00?!?!  I honestly don’t think that’s ever happened before.  I should add that the time of this run was not early, early morning rather it was about 11:00 am that morning.  And check out my heart rate:

HR 12.13.12 runIt’s certainly a few beats higher for most of the run and I like the consistency of it much better.

So, it makes sense that the faster you run the higher your heart rate.  But honestly I didn’t feel like I was exerting any more energy during this run than those without music.  I have always said I think I run better with music in my ears because then I don’t hear my breathing.  When I hear my “heavy” breathing I believe my subconscious kicks in and slows me down a bit because it “sounds” like I’m working too hard.  In actuality, that heavy breathing isn’t that heavy!

So, that is my little tiny experiment in a nutshell.

So tell me, do you run better with music?  Or do you think my experience was a coincidence?

A Great Run WITH Music

A Great Run WITH Music

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