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The Power of Music

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So you’re on your way to the gym for your daily afternoon workout after a long day at work. You decided to be proactive and packed your gym bag the night before so you wouldn’t have to stop at home first. Great! You’ve got your running shoes, t-shirt, shorts, water bottle, music…. but wait. Where are your headphones?? You then remember your headphones are sitting safely on your kitchen table at home… What do you do?? Your workout is ruined!

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All of us at one time or another have run into this scenario. I, too, am guilty of depending heavily on my music to get myself through a grueling workout. I won’t lie to you – there are times I’ve walked into the gym, realized I didn’t have my headphones, and walked right back out to my car. I used to think running was impossible without having my music blaring in my ears, and I tried to avoid entering a race that prohibited or ‘highly discouraged’ the use of headphones! At the same time, I’ve noticed that if I listen to the same songs during a run, I get really bored and frustrated with what I’m listening to! So, within the last week of race training (first 10K is 6 days away), I decided to create a new playlist for one run to “spice it up”, and ditch the music entirely for my next run. I was curious to compare the two, and see how I felt about using music for my runs going forward!

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My non-music run


I was extremely nervous about completing my 5 mile run without the music I’ve come to depend upon. Running with a friend for the first mile or so helped me ease into it, but after that it was just me and the outdoor park path. I couldn’t believe how much I ENJOYED running without music! I was paying attention to my breathing and how it correlated with my pace and stride length. There was something comforting in hearing the nature around me – birds chirping, kids laughing, the crunch of leaves beneath my feet. My pace wasn’t the best, but at that point I really didn’t mind how fast or slow I was going. I was just taking it all in, and relishing in the fact that I didn’t need music to do what I sought to accomplish – it was all mental!


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My new music playlist


As I had mentioned above, the playlist I was using before was starting to get stale. I would continuously hit “next” when I heard a particular song for the umpteenth time, and ultimately was disappointed with my entertainment for that run. Creating new playlists for my workouts provide me with motivation that may have been lacking. I get excited and energized, ready to lace up my running shoes right then and there and hit the open road! In addition, coming up with a new playlist allowed me to control the speed or tempo of my run or workout. For example, putting slower songs at the beginning of a running playlist helps to keep me from starting too fast and losing momentum later on. This for me was going to be the first playlist where I really focused on the quickness of the songs in relation to my pace. Below is my new playlist that I created for my 10K race on Sunday and tried out for the first time this past Friday:

 

1.  Billy Joel – All About Soul

2.  Kongos – Come With Me Now

3.  Chris Cornell – Can’t Change Me

4.  Eminem – ‘Till I Collapse

5.  Iggy Azalea – Black Widow

6.  Fort Minor – Remember the Name

7.  Eminem – Lose Yourself

8.  Fall Out Boy – Centuries

9.  Lenny Kravitz – Are You Gonna Go My Way

10.  Flo Rida – Right Round

11.  Y3N0 – Foggy

12.  Bon Jovi – Last Man Standing

13.  The Band – Eye of the Tiger (techno mix)

14.  Rocky Theme – Gonna Fly Now [my finish line song!]

 

Talk about music to my ears! This playlist left me empowered, ecstatic, and ready to accomplish anything and everything! Knowing I was at the end of my run when “Gonna Fly Now” came on, I picked up my pace and imagined myself running up the top of those stairs in “Rocky”, throwing my hands up in the air, and feeling on top of the world. Music can be a powerful thing – it can remind you of particular memories in your life or help you get through a tough or challenging moment. Working out with music is no exception. The music you choose can truly inspire and motivate you to complete tasks you thought were close to impossible.

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So now that I have run without music and surprisingly enjoyed it, I can certainly say it’s not impossible. Would I rather listen to my music? Absolutely. However, I’m going to set a goal for myself. Out of the three or four days I run during the week, at least one of those runs is going to be without music. That way, I can pay more attention to my breathing, timing, and the beauty that surrounds me.

 

I would love to hear your thoughts about running with music or not plugging in at all! Do you have a favorite song or playlist you like to work out to? I’m interested in hearing what you have to say!


 

 

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