Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Please Don't Stop the Music

For me, music and working out go together like peanut butter and bananas (If you haven't tried the combo, stop reading and go have a snack.).  Both elements are good on their own, but together they're really good!  When I first started working out, I used to spend most of my solo gym time, back around 2003-2004, plodding slowly along on the elliptical trainer (treadmills and running hadn't even entered my mind yet) staring at the tv's mounted to the wall. I was, to say the least, bored. One day, I borrowed The Husband's mp3 player and my workout seemed a little less dull.  I felt a little more motivated - sort of like I did in the classes I was taking at the gym at the time.   When The Husband upgraded to an iPod, I had him load a bunch of songs that I liked at the time on the old mp3 player and it became my constant companion on the elliptical, in the weight room, and eventually on the treadmill and the roads.  If memory serves, my playlist at the time included songs like Dirrty by Christina Aguilera, Crazy in Love by Beyonce, and Smooth Criminal by Alien Ant Farm.

Old School (source)

When the old Rio died, I upgraded to an iPod Nano and started training for longer distances.  That iPod was with me as I trained for and ran my first half marathon. I found that the music gave me something to focus on besides how many miles were in front of me!  When I started training for my first marathon, this became even more important.  Running 20 miles takes a long time and scenery is only interesting for so long!  I also started listening to audiobooks during my runs at that time.  I think I listened to all of Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain (probably my favorite book on the planet) and several of the early Harry Potter titles.  I also recall listening to lots of  AC/DC, KT Tunstall and U2 as well.


Of course, my first marathon occurred during USATF's ban on music devices, so I had to race without it!  It wasn't bad since there were spectators to look at, other athletes to chat with, and just a general sense of euphoria for the first 18 miles or so.  By the time I ran my second marathon in 2011, the USATF ban had been lifted, so I was able to train and race with music which helped in so many ways.

These days, I usually choose to run with my iPod and have some sort of music (Spotify, iTunes, etc.) on if I'm riding on the trainer - but never when I'm riding outside as that would be unsafe.  So here's the part of the post where I get to embarrass myself by publicly admitting to what I listen to. 

My Spotify Spin Playlist
These days, my running companion is my iPod shuffle.  It's loaded with about 8.5 hours worth of music and I tend to just hit play and start running, usually content to listen to whatever happens to come on.  Here's a sampling of what I might listen to during a typical long run.

I think one of the most important factors in choosing workout music is finding songs that motivate you in some way. Maybe it's the lyrics. Maybe it's the beat. Maybe the song reminds you of someone or something.  For example, He's A Pirate always reminds me of climbing a nasty bridge during the Green Bay marathon since that was the song that happened to come on when I started up that hill and I then played it over and over until I got down the other side.  It reminds me of how strong I felt that I never stopped running on that bridge and pushes me to keep going. Then there's songs like Sexy and I Know It that just have a great beat, fun lyrics, and just amuse the hell out of me!

What about you? Do you like listening to music when you're working out or do you prefer nothing but the sounds of the world around you and your own breathing?  If you're a music listener, what do you listen to - I'm always on the lookout for new tunes!


Anonymous said...

I have to admit I laughed at Eye of the Tiger Lmao! I love Fat Bottom Girls! Badboy has that as a ringtone for when I call!

April said...

Love your playlists, nothing to be embarrassed about!

Delyth Edwards said...

Oh how I love that Fluorescent Adoloscent is in your top songs! It's one of my favourites too, it seems to cheer me up when I feel a little downbeat!

Another song I ALWAYS have on repeat if I am down is Wonderful Life by Hurts a British duo, for easy listening I have Elbow on play and of course Arctic Monkeys are always at the top of my list. Then for old school I have some Simple Minds!

I still own an MP3 player but it's on its way out so it looks like I might be heading to the Apple store soon!

Mary said...

I'll have to check out those tunes since you introduced me to the wonders of Fluorescent Adolescent. I seriously fell off the couch from *bouncing* when the Arctic Monkeys were part of the Olympic Opening Cermonies!

I highly recommend the iPod Classic for every day use and the Shuffle for working out. The latest generation of Nano just doesn't do it for me.