Thursday, February 19, 2015

Music and Running

If someone were to observe a busy running trail, they would see a lot of people listening to music. Previous research have demonstrated that music can aid running by acting in parallel to exercise1, but how does listening to music aid in running at a race pace effort?
In a study1 performed on 15 amateur runners over a 30 week period, the researchers found that music was capable of giving the runner a sense of pleasure, helped that athlete feel more prepared for the run and help accelerate the recovery process. The runners ran five 5-kilometer runs over the 30 week period, as fast as they could with music being applied before, after and during running with differing song tempos. Slow motivational songs ranged from 80-100 beats per minute, motivational songs ranged from 110-150 beats per minute2, fast motivational songs ranged from 140-160 beats per minute.
The music was shown to help at the beginning of the intense effort, but as soon as the brain realized the exercise intensity, the brain directed attention to the most important signals, decreasing the effect that music had on running performance. The researchers also found that runners can use music before competitions with a 39% chance of receiving a benefit from it and accelerate recovery with a “sedative” auditory stimuli to speed up recovery.
There are a lot of 5k races out there to be run.  Typically, road races do not have any rules against listening to music as you race, but races on the track tend to prohibit it.  Fortunately, you can still receive benefits from music during the warm up to help prepare you for the race and after to speed up recovery.  

1. Bigliassi, M., Leon-Dominguez, U., Buzzachera, C., Barreto-Silva, V., & Altimari, L. (2015). How Does Music Aid 5 KM of Running? The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 29(2), 305-314.

2. Peterson, D. (2009, October 21). Music Benefits Exercise, Studies Show. Retrieved February 17, 2015, from

1 comment:

  1. Interesting info. What were they measuring to determine if the music was helpful? Was it a physical or psychological type of measure? I know that there are days I have earphones in when I run and I couldn't tell you a single song that I'd heard because my mind was focused on other things. However, there are other times that I might be getting tired and a great song comes on that seems to give me a boost. Seems that music during the run would be beneficial in the later case. Nice blog.