Wednesday, June 22, 2011

And I Ran... 

I listen to music when I run* and the last time I ran something funny happened. I checked my watch/Nike+ thingy (running computer?) and I was just hitting 7 KM when a song started ("Does Not Suffice" by Joanna Newsom). I happen to know this song is about 6 minutes. I also average about 5:30 to 6:00 mins/KM. I thought, "When this song finishes, you'll be at 8 KM." and like clockwork my personal odometer clicked over to 8.00 KM right on cue.

Looking at the playlist again I notice that a 5 KM run will usually land me between "Fields" and "California Stars" (Wilco) which is about 30 minutes from the start (my fastest 5 KM is about 27:30). I could almost tell you my distance by the song at this point. A longer run puts me into "The Wild Hunt" and I would have to guess a 10 KM run (which I have yet to do) would finish in the middle of "Go Do" by Jonsi.

Sometimes, because I don't always start the playlist in the same spot, I'll finish on "Move On Up" by Curtis Mayfield and no matter what state I'm in, I'll uncontrollably sprint to the end. It’s almost a 9 minute song. The drum break alone must be a minute. That is definitely a song for champions.

There’s no doubt that running is about rhythm and music can act as your running metronome and coach. You can create playlists based on BPM (beats per minute) so that you always have the right pace for a work out. I like it to be more organic and I’ve found some slower songs can have enough emotional weight to propel me forward. Another trick I’ve found is minding where you look. Watching your feet is sort of a good way to slow you down. You feel like you’re working but not getting anywhere, but looking at the horizon or skyward, makes you forget about your timing, or distance and you can just focus on your stride. Once you hit your stride, it’s almost like coasting in cruise control mode.

So that’s my running advice. Run with your head up and a song in your heart.

*there is no possible way these iPod ear buds could be louder than city traffic so it's not like I won't "hear" a car coming

UPDATE: Friday June 24, 2011, I completed a 10.6 KM run, completing 10 KM in 55:29. On schedule, Jonsi's "Go" started at around the 9.7 KM mark.

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