I ran a stonking 10k the other day (only my second 10k, ever) and I’m sure one big factor in this (apart from the tasty pre-run pain au raisin) was having the right music to boost my mood and keep me going.
Recently I’ve been doing some ‘naked’ running – in the aural region, that is – but find I get earwormed by utterly random choons that lock into the rhythm of my feet and breathing. For example two things my brain has tortured me with recently include the theme song from American Dad, and ‘Ev’ry Valley’ from Handel’s Messiah. Bizarre. It’s like in Touching the Void when Joe Simpson writes about not wanting to die to Boney M. Except I’m not alone and lost on a glacier dragging a broken leg, obvs.
I find it’s just easier to do longer runs with music to replace the brain-twitter. So I made long playlist of catchy, feelgood classics that would make me smile and want to move (eg anything upbeat by Earth Wind and Fire) or transport me back to my yoof (808 State’s blissful Pacific State).
I started on my run and set the playlist on shuffle, and serendipity played some splendid tricks. The first track on my circular route around Richmond Park was Daft Punk’s Around the World. Perfect! A bit later on, Art Garfunkel warned me to ‘Slow down, you move too fast’, but in the next track, confusingly, Supergrass advised me I should be ‘Moving, just keep moving’. When I reached the crest of the hill in the middle of the park where there are undulating green views and big skies all around, I was treated to the immortal Jimmy Webb-penned Up, Up and Away (one of my guilty pleasures). Then when I ran over a footbridge on the way to Roehampton Gate, guess what came on? Yes, Red Hot Chilis’ Under The Bridge…
How does everyone feel about running with or without music? Or running to a beat? Personally having tried the Stepping Stones and Speed podcasts I prefer to let my feet find their own cadence – I hope that’s not because I’m lacking in rhythm (I confess I have a music-related job!). How about running to audiobooks or spoken-word podcasts?
Here’s a map and breakdown of my run (OK, technically it’s only 9.82k but what’s 180m between friends?). It took me ages to stuff my phone into my armband at the start and get going, and I stopped at a drinking fountain at 7k. I also appear to have fallen down a -28m rabbit hole at around 4.75k – absolutely no clue what happened there!