Friday, 7 March 2014

Music : Response

So how have you been? Long time no see. Have you missed me? Not half as much as I've missed you.
I was, err, umm,  abducted by an elite team of Kenyan runners last month partly because they wanted to put a dent in my marathon training plans and partly because they just fancied kidnapping somebody. I'm fine and thanks for asking and I guess you can stop worrying now.
So this month I thought I'd blog about music and it's (sometimes) positive effects on my long runs. You see I can't imagine doing anything more than 21km without some form of onboard entertainment. Sure, the KL half was fun last year purely because of the sheer size of the group you are running with but that was my one and only time running without music. I appreciate there is an etiquette to running and being a social event you shouldn't have any headphones on but unless someones going to talk to me the whole way and appreciate that I will be running at a pace that will only allow me to respond in short sharp grunts then you can forget it.
My 33km long run today took me all the way from Ampang through the city centre and back home and as much as I try and be careful with my musical selections there always seems to be a track that sneaks its way onto the playlist for the morning when it quite clearly shouldn't be there. Todays pace killing, positivity sapping mogadon of a track was Peter Frampton - Show Me The Way. Don't get me wrong, I love a bit of Frampton as much as the next man but not during a run. The Eagles could have popped on next and I would have been running like Mo Farah after and I HATE the Eagles. With a passion.

But it got me thinking during my run about how much of an affect music can have on your performance? How much response do you get from listening to a certain track? It's been said that listening to music can boost your performance by up to 15% but i'm not sure what that means. Make your legs go faster by 15%? Overall performance improved by 15%? 15% off your PB? I don't know but what I don know is there are certain songs on my playlist that when I feel I have nothing left to give I can suddenly find a new lease of life in these old legs and things pick up again.
One such genre of music that I love to listen to not only during long runs but during interval training also is northern soul. I'm not going to go into what Northern Soul is here as it's such a long story and I have bored many a partygoer with my views on the same subject. Each track is basically 2.5 to 3 minutes long and very rarely longer than that so during fartleks or interval training you can pretty much set your clock to it.
During fartleks I try and break it into 3 minutes slow and 3 minutes fast or 3 Slow 6 fast. I'll typically start with something slow like this -

And then something more up tempo like this -

and then keep it up there with something like this -

and then back down for three minutes with something like this -

And then repeat again etc etc.

It certainly works for me and it doesn't necessarily have to be that type of music. It would be interesting to see what everyone else listens to and if they listen to music as a way of improving their performance or to just pass the time. A fellow runner offered kudos on one of my recent long runs and the ability to run without a running partner. Music certainly allows me to do just that but I do occasionally find my mind wandering into the strangest of places. One that springs to mind was musings on whether the amount of dog shit on the streets of a capital city can directly equate to how advanced a civilisation is. You see things ARE better with music. This of course is also an opportunity for me to impose my musical tastes on you the general public in the vague pretence that I'm writing a blog.
On that note I'm away to go listen to some more music and drink some lovely beer.

Have a great weekend oh and good luck to the Brooks HM runners on Sunday and ALL THE LADIES (Beyonce face) running next weeks Malaysia womens marathon.
I still hate The Eagles.