Revamp your running tracks - Women's Running

Revamp your running tracks

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  May 18, 2015

running to music

We all have that trusty running track that we rely on, race after race, to get us up that dreaded mid-race incline or through that final killer kilometre. But what happens when our trusty track becomes too much of a good thing and loses its motivational appeal after far too many half marathons?

Music can have a huge impact on performance. In fact, Dr. Coastas Karageoghis, sports physchologist at Brunel University, claims that music can increase running performance by 15% for some runners. However, finding the right songs – and enough of them so they don’t become monotonous – can be difficult. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Sure Run To The Beat, London’s only music 10K, to give you some fruit for thought when selecting your tracks.

  1. What type of runner are you?

Firstly, it’s important to establish what type of runner you are. According to Helgo Schomer in the International Journal of Sport Psychology 1987, runners can be classified into two types a) associators – people who focus inwardly, paying attention to certain aspects of performance such as timing, pace, breathing and their position within the field and b) dissociators – people who have non-performance related thoughts, that use running as a form of escape and whose minds wander in order to not think about the exercise they are doing.

If you class yourself as an ‘associator’, select your songs based on their tempo speed at different points in the race. If you know you like to keep your first 5K steady and ramp up your last five, select your tracks and their tempo speed based on your predicted pace at different points in the race. If you’re a ‘dissociator’, select tracks that remind you of positive memories and experiences, saving your favourite ‘nostalgic’ or emotive track to the part of the race you feel you’ll need the motivation most!

  1. Rhythmicity is key

Choose songs with a strong rhythm. A track with a strong rhythm will help regulate your stride and enhance performance.

  1. Care to dance?

dancing to music

One of Sure’s five golden rules on deciding what to listen to is deciding whether your chosen song makes you want to dance. If it came on at a party would you be up on the dance floor or sliding over to the bar for a teary chat with your best friend? Running to the beat is the same as dancing to music, our bodies are most efficient when moving in rhythm.

  1. Think Beats Per Minute

Sure advises that building playlists with tracks at the same bpm is critical to consistency. The optimal bpm to run at varies from runner to runner but in general 140-150bpm reflects a gentle pace, while 180 would be more suited to an elite running flat out.

  1. Don’t over-do it

Try and save your trusty track for when you really need it. If you’re listening to your favourite, go-to track 2K into a half marathon, by 18K it will, quite honestly, exhaust you! Save the best till last.

  1. Throw in a few surprises

running to music 2

If you’ve trained to the same tracks through every training session, by race day, your running playlist will become predictable and monotonous. Update your playlist the day before the race with a handful of new songs to surprise and inspire you during the race. Then keep some of your favourite tracks in the mix as a comfort blanket for when you need them most!

A little inspiration…

We asked you on Facebook and Twitter to share with us your go-to running songs. Here’s 20 songs suggested by you to enhance performance and boost motivation:

  1. “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars & Duran Duran’s “Decade” album
  2. “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor
  3. “Titanium” by David Guetta
  4. Insomnia” by Faithless
  5. Sweet Disposition” by The Temper Trap
  6. “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey
  7. “The Pretender” by Foo Fighters
  8. “I Predict a Riot” by Kaiser Chiefs
  9. “Gotta get through this” by Daniel Beddingfield
  10. “I found Love” by Steve Walsh
  11. “For An Angel” by Paul Van Dyk
  12. “Girls Run the World!” by Beyonce
  13. “Livin’ On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi
  14. “Till I Collapse” by Eminem
  15. “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
  16. “Gonna Fly Now” by Bill Conti
  17. “Can’t hold us” by Macklemore
  18. “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten
  19. “Toxicity” by System of a Down
  20. Thunderstruck by Kasabian

Women's Running Magazine

NMA’s 2020 Lifestyle Magazine of the Year, Women’s Running provides expert advice on gear and training, motivation from your favourite runners and the latest running news.

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