Starting a new routine (or pushing your current routine further than you’ve ever been before) requires some sort of self-motivation. Having strong and positive motivators are key in sticking to your goals. Whether it’s a new way of eating or working out, your motivation is critical to your success.
I’ve noticed the music I listen to while running directly affects how I feel during my run. Most (if not all) sports are partly physical and partly mental. This mental piece keeps you pushing through to the finished line, it allows you to enjoy your activity, and keeps you coming back for more. I can’t tell you how many runs I haven’t wanted to do because I wasn’t in the mood. Music helps me change my feelings within the first few minutes. I end up enjoying those difficult to start runs and completing the mileage I set out to do.
Music can make a large difference in your physical performance. It can change your mood, quicken your pace, and even change your mental perception. As an athlete music can help create a mindset for peak performance. You can create an invincible state of mind and push yourself further than you’ve ever gone before. It sounds so simple, but you develop a “can do” attitude, which gives you the mental ability to accomplish your goals.
Neuroscientists have found that musical sound waves translate into brainwaves. As humans we automatically feel the beat of a song. The human body wants to synchronize itself to music, even the heart, which we aren’t consciously aware of. Research has shown music stimulates the cerebellum, that part of the brain with a major role in motor control. This explains how music can quicken your pace.
An interesting tidbit is the randomness in song order can increase dopamine levels. Ever noticed how a predictable playlist can get boring after a while? Knowing what song is coming next can lead you dislike the song after too long. When we hit shuffle we trigger the same parts in our brain that enjoy gambling. We have the same euphoric feeling of hitting the jackpot when our favorite song comes on.
What I find really funny is the music I enjoy while running somewhat annoys me in other aspects of my life. Right now the song that gets me moving is Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke. I can’t imagine listening to that song in my car. My running music in no way reflects my maturity, tastes and IQ! It’s almost embarrassing.
Here’s a few of current my running favorites:
Blurred Lines [feat. T.I. & Pharrell], Robin Thicke
Shake It Off, Taylor Swift
Stolen Dance, Milky Chance
I’ve also found if I only listen to my running music while running it acts as a mental trigger to get my body ready to run. Maybe it has some sort of running Pavlovian effect?
What’s currently on your playlist? No, really, I need some great suggestions!