Motivation and Music

What’s your taste in music? Do you have music that you never really listen to unless you’re running or songs that are completely random but they’re your absolute favorite songs to run to? Or do you have that favorite band that you listen to no matter what you’re doing- chilling out, running, driving…whatever?

I’m kind of all over the board. I like a lot of different music. I’m not musical myself but i grew up in a house full of music. When i first started running, i didn’t run with music. That was before all the fancy little ipods so i pretty much would’ve had to pull a “Say Anything” and run with my jambox. It wasn’t until i started running alone that i really got into running with music. Sometimes i really notice what’s playing and sometimes i’ll even take my earbuds out for minutes at a time because i just want to take in the scenery.

Of course there are plenty of people who don’t run with music at all. Sometimes i envy you people. I like having my ipod in races, although i have found that at least 50% of the time i don’t even have it turned up loud enough to hear it. Maybe it’s kind of like a security blanket for me. I feel sorry for Keith who can’t ever have an ipod in his triathlons (it’s illegal in all USAT races and, yes, they are very strict about it!). I seem to think i wouldn’t know how to run if i didn’t have my specific race day playlist.

I love making playlists for upcoming races. If i have a big race coming up, at the beginning of training season i will make my playlist and start running to it. That way i feel like i’ll kind of know, on race day, where i am based on the songs that are playing- like whether or not i should be feeling tired already, the hard parts of the route, and so forth. Plus, if i have a bad training run, i always seem to remember the song where it all fell apart- so anytime i get past that song, i have my own little celebration in my head. I even go as far as strategically placing songs wherever in the playlist that i think i might be needing a boost on the route or even a reeling in on the route. For the marathon, i knew about how long each mile should take me and i knew that i didn’t want to start too fast so that meant i really needed to save some of my more fun stuff for later in the run.

Would i ever just hit ‘shuffle’ on my ipod and run? Well, maybe but that’s awfully risky for me 😉 So, a few weeks ago i let mary allison borrow my ipod for a long run and as i handed it over, keith said “you realize what kind of music you have on there? you have no idea what kind of stuff she’s used to listening to” as he laughed. Uh oh! It hit me right then that not everyone listens to the same stuff as me. Maybe Swizz Beatz and Lil Jon are not universally liked. Have i always just assumed we’re all listening to the same playlist? No, not really but i guess i’ve never really thought about it. My playlist is jam packed with everything from inside jokes (Hero- enrique iglesias), to mine and keith’s song (By Your Side- Sade), to good running memories (Live Like You Were Dying- Tim McGraw- came on my ipod as i crossed the finish line in my first ‘alone’ half marathon, injured and after the rain- epic), to my favorite bands (Led Zeppelin, G.Love), to country because i can really run well to lots of country songs for whatever reason (She’s Country- Jason Aldean), (to just plain ole fun get your ass moving songs (Outta Your Mind- Lil Jon and It’s Me Bitches- Swizz Beatz) to about a hundred more.

So, as Mary Allison took off we just laughed about what she was going to think about my playlist. Turns out she thought is was fun not knowing what song was coming next or what kind of pace it was about to help you run. Rather than knowing exactly what song is coming on at each and every turn, it can sometimes be more fun to change it up a little bit.

This brought up a fun idea- what would it be like to show up and trade ipods for a day? It makes you wonder what other people are listening to. What does it take to get certain people moving? What motivates people? Maybe it’s not Lil Jon. So, what is it?

5 thoughts on “Motivation and Music

  1. well since I don’t know how to load songs to my Ipod, I am at the mercy of Star.  Fortunately we have the same musical taste with a few exceptions.  I have become more tied into my music over the last 5 months because I have mostly been running.  That will change soon but I guess if I will continue while I have the option.  I like to have it during St Jude and ther running races because I find it actually helps me zone out and avoid the anxiety that the crowds create.  I do like to run without or go to some low key, chilled out music in the trails, or in Shelby Forest.  I just don’t want to feel like it is a crutch…

  2. I started running with music but dropped the practice when I began running with the group. I don’t think I would go back to lugging around my iPod. I love running’s simplicity and more gear makes it more complicated.I love music but running without it helps me to focus on the scenery and watch my form and breathing.When I was running with music, though, I loved instrumental funk (Medeski, Martin and Wood’s “Shackman” or “Combustication” records or Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man.”) But I also loved Rancid and any old high-test bluegrass.

  3. like toby, i don’t use it with the group generally.  i did at shelby forrest b/c i was able to keep the volume where I could hear both the music and the people around me, as there was little to no traffic.  i think having been in multiple bands throughout my life, i could very well have done some aural damage that limits my ability to discern lots of concurrent noises–thus I don’t bring it on group runs that are in traffic because I can’t hear what others are saying and feel as though I’m being rude.  That said, here’s what’s on my shuffle right now that I can remember:Maste of Puppets — MetallicaShine–Trey Anastasio BandFair Warning–Van HalenGreatest Hits–The EaglesSlippery When Wet–Bon JoviMars Hotel–Grateful DeadTribute to AC/DC–Hayseed DixiePaul’s Boutique–Beastie BoysThriller–Michael Jackson

  4. I prefer not using an ipod when running. Too afraid I’d be distracted and be a SUV’s grill ornament. Though, do use it all the time at the gym. Lately, I keep going to the Fela Kuti stuff in the ipod. Or, the bluegrass or acid jazz tunes. Stuck on a group called Crack Sabbath as well.

  5. I have every day….  I can usually hear what the others in the group are saying and I will take an ear bud out (only one ear bud usually works).  It really helps me to zone out a bit.  I have also run to short podcasts and I liked that alone, but not with the group.  Do you guys think I am being rude?  I just need every bit of entertainment I can get to get through the runs and the iPod helps.

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