Can Music Make You Run Faster? – Listening To Music When Running
The use of music while running can sometimes be a polarizing topic for runners. First, some think using headphones during a run will prevent awareness of your surroundings. On the other side, some believe music enhances their running performance and listen to music on every run. These are the types of runners that might go so far to skip a workout if they had to go without music.
Personal beliefs aside, does music enhance running performance? And can music make you run faster?
Can Music Make You Run Faster?
To understand the effects of music on running performance, we must first look at recent studies. This will allow us to find out if music can make you run faster.
In one study, twenty-eight students (17 males, 11 females) were put through two trials. In each run, each student was evaluated over a 1.5 mile (2.41 km) distance with and without music. From these two tests, they were able to determine if running performance and RPE were affected.
The results show that listening to music while running had a significant effect on running performance. However, listening to music over that distance had no noticeable effect on RPE (rating of perceived exertion).
Another study examined the effects of running with music through various performances. The performances included total distance covered (TDC), running speed, and pacing. They also measured physiological performances such as blood lactate concentration and heart rate.
Before beginning the study, each subject performed the Vameval test to evaluate their maximal aerobic speed (MAS) and calculate VO2 max (maximal aerobic capacity).
Then the subjects were required to complete a 15-minute warm-up which included light jogging, lateral displacements, dynamic stretching, and jumping.
The study then required each participant to complete a total of three tests. Each test required the runner to perform a 6 min self-paced maximal run test under two contrasting situations, with music and without music.
The results found listening to music when running improved total distance covered (TDC), and blood lactate concentration decreased. Without any change in HR and RPE.
So to answer the question – Can music make your run faster? Definitely, the studies have shown that running with music can improve performance and delay fatigue during workouts.
Music Tempo For Running – Does It Matter?
Choosing the correct music tempo for running can have a profound impact on your running speed. But not only that, music can affect your motivation, and your ability to block fatigue. So, does the tempo of the music really matter for running?
When the beat of the music matches the runner’s cadence, multiple studies have shown that performance increases. From these studies, there is a general consensus that the best music for running sits between 120 and 140 BPM. This means that a lot of genres fit running, like hip hop, rock, and dance. However, there isn’t a particular tempo or BPM that will suit every runner.
The best music tempo range running depends on a number of things, from stride length to the intensity and speed of your run.
If you’re pushing yourself over shorter distances or running intervals, you might want to listen to music between 147 and 160 BPM.
Does Music Enhance Running Performance?
Just like anything else, there is a limit to how much performance can be increased. It is not how often or how much you listen to music on a run, but your actual experience as a runner.
Even though it has been proven music enhances running performance, gains are most evident within amateur runners or those with less experience in running.
Less experienced runners are most likely to decrease their intensity level when facing discomfort on a run. With music, it has been proven that the amount of discomfort you can endure before you reduce your performance increases substantially. On the other end of the scale, if you an elite runner it may actually reduce your performance by listening to music.
Dr. Jack Raglin, a sport psychologist at Indiana University, claims that during intense workouts you need to pay close attention to your body. This means staying away from music during faster workouts and tempo runs, and stick to music on the easier running days.