Music for the fitness goob…

As I try to clear the cobwebs of a very taxing and challenging week at work (6 NEW presentations due in the next 3 weeks), I had to laugh at a post by Dan Patrick (ESPN) on his blog yesterday.  I am usually not one to copy other people’s posts, but this one brings up an interesting and fun topic (as well as a little controversy).  He diverged from his usual commentary about sports (sorta) and asked:

“…which are the best..’get pumped up’ songs. You know, the song you’ve heard a ton of times but it still gets you going when you stumble onto it on the radio…”.

Now, my list of these songs is WAY too long to list.  Many is the night that, during a particularly fast and fun song, I have nearly passed out from the music induced effort during a spin class.  I am also certain there are those songs that, were I to listen to them during a track workout, would carry me to a sub 4 minute mile.  My heart rate jumps just thinking about them.  Why I get motivated by music, I don’t know.  But it works.

I have up to this point, however, resisted the urge to get an MP3 player of any sort.  Mostly because of the controversy I referred to earlier.  That controversy being that most large races no longer allow MP3 players.  They make it too hard to hear other runners and course officials and, therefore, are deemed dangerous.  I have been to several races now where people were pulled off the course and asked to remove them because it was CLEARLY stated in the rules that they were not allowed, yet the individual chose to ignore the rule and run with one anyway.  Indeed, on the website for the marathon I am running posted the following in their FAQs:

Can I wear headphones, push strollers, or bring my dog?

Walking strollers (no jogging) will be allowed in the 5K and half.  For insurance purposes, we do not allow headphones, earbuds, iPods, radios, other hearing-obstructive devices or animals on the course.

I was disappointed by this rule at first (mostly because I’m a geek and saw an opportunity to add technology to my inventory… kind of a geeky “counting coup”…), but the more I thought about it, the more I could see the validity of it.  Now I consider myself a supporter of the rule.  No amount of musical motivation is worth an accident or a wrong turn on course.  If you HAVE to have music or you can’t run… fine.  Just don’t sign up for races.  Run on the trails, alone so that I can sneak up behind you and scare the crap out of you when I pass you (I have done this NUMEROUS times to headphoned runners).  I have scared the same poor girl at least 3 times this way.  On one early morning run in the dark, I sent a terrified MP3 runner flying into the weeds (he said he thought I was a dog…).  Now… I’m not THAT scary… am I?  …wait… Don’t answer that…

Anyway, not to stray too far from the initial topic but to carry it out to you runners/triathletes/fitness goobs, what do you listen to?  When do you listen?  Do you sneak your MP3 player into races?


5 Responses to Music for the fitness goob…

  1. Derek says:

    I’m running the Chicago marathon which doesn’t allow headphones, which sort of bums me out. I guess too many idiots who can’t be bothered to listen at a reasonable level and *gasp* be aware of their surroundings spoils it for the rest of us.

    In terms of what I listen to while running, I discovered Podrunner about midway through my training. Hour long mixes at a particular peat per minute – I’ve found the 167-170 bpm mixes good for me.

  2. I listen to the sounds of crickets, owls, and cars passing by me on the streets. No, I don’t listen to music when I’m running because I need to be aware of the things around me since I don’t run on secluded trails.

    Someone recently mentioned to me that they enjoyed listening to music while doing yard work and was thinking about getting a small MP3 player to use while running. I wanted to reach across the table and slap them.

  3. dabigleap says:

    I agree. I listen to music while I’m lifting or spinning or stretching, but I just can’t do it when I run. I’m too easily distracted and I’m sure I’d step in a hole in an instant…!

  4. I run with the Nike+ sport kit for my iPod. Even when I’m not listening to music, I carry the iPod as it tracks my time/distance. Whenever I have the option, I do wear headphones and listen to music. I even listened to music during the ET half marathon, but I kept the volume down so I could hear the rattlesnakes. It wasn’t a problem, those things are LOUD! I love running to music from the late 70s and early 80s. It’s like my own personal time machine. Listening to the music of my youth makes me feel like I’m back in my 20s! Favorites include The Talking Heads and the B-52s, but the overall mix is pretty eclectic.

  5. Pokey says:

    I listen to music on training runs on the tread mill and on back roads sometimes; but never for races. I have the music in my head for races. That way, I can start out with a slower song for the beginning, pick it up with a medium tempo in the middle and end with something on a faster note.


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