One of the best ways to break up the occasional drudgery of the daily training run is to try running with music. Many runners don’t leave the door without their iPod. However, will running with music actually help you run better?
There are numerous studies that have found that running with music gives a psychological boost runners and other exercisers. One study examined the effects of listening to music when running on a treadmill. The study found that listening to music resulted in reduced heart rate, lower systolic blood pressure, lower exercise lactate, and lower perceived exertion in the runners. The study’s authors theorized that the music helped the runners relax, which resulted in the physiological changes.
Another study found that cyclists were capable of much higher workload when they listed to fast-paced music, or listened to slow-paced music that changed to fast-pace over the course of the workout. The authors believed that the improved workload resulted from how music distracted the runners from the feeling of fatigue.
The distracting effect of music is also seen in a study that found that patients with pulmonary problems had a much easier time exercising to music compared to no music. According to the study, music appear to result in a reduction in the perception of respiratory discomfort.
The main point of this study is that listening to music can make your training runs feel easier. The music itself holds no special power; its importance is the way that it distracts your mind from the fatigue caused by running. It is important to note that any running with an iPod must be done with great care – it is hard to hear cars with your music blaring.