Let’s face it; no one is motivated all the time – no matter what they tell you. Our motivation is largely based on our previous successes and as a beginner to running it’s easy to give up when you’ve only just started because you haven’t seen any results yet.
So what can you do to find motivation for running? How do you keep motivated on runs when all you want to do is cut it short, turn around and go home?
Music motivates at all levels of exercise; from high intensity aerobic workouts to boxers just before entering the ring for a fight and runners in gyms and on pavements the world over. Studies have proven that the type and tempo of music has the power to make you workout longer and harder because it is an ergogenic aid meaning that it enhances physical activity.
Multiple Studies have shown that it’s music’s dual capabilities to distract attention away from feelings of fatigue while exercising, as well as egging on the muscles and heart rate that makes it such an effective aid during exercise.
Music not only lowers your Perceived Exertion Level or PEL making your workout seem lighter but it also acts as a motivator – mentally and physically. This may not be the case at higher intensity sessions – roughly 90% of VO2 Max – at this level the perception of fatigue will override the effect of the music.
Finding What Works For You
All of us are individuals; what works for me might not work for you but my advice to you as a beginner runner is to experiment with different aids that will support you through the early stages of your running and find what works for you.
I’m not suggesting that you should never set-off for a workout leaving your playlist behind – there are at least two running sessions per week where I go without my music. Variety is the spice of a runner’s life – varying the kinds of music you use on your running playlist and matching up the music with your ultimate goal in a particular session will greatly enhance your experience.
There are fantastic resources on the internet and also some really crappy ones. I’ve tried a whole bunch of them and have come up with two really good paid ones and one DIY method for those of you who would like to put together your own running playlist for free.
This website is a gem and a great resource to use, I was sceptical in the beginning because there is no option to listen to a sample of the tracks but – take my word for it – any sample track would not have done the experience of running with the tracks any justice. I immediately noticed that these guys really thought this through.
The sessions are well organised and there is a distinctive warm-up, main and cool-down section although the track is continuous. They have 30, 45 and 60 minute tracks with or without mind and body coaching. The coaching (with male or female voices) is subtle and doesn’t interfere with the experience at all, in fact if you are a beginner the coaching is perfect and will support you in finding your step and breathing rhythm, and if you are an intermediate or experienced runner the tracks with or without coaching will help you build on your current capabilities.
They have also cleverly added ‘Run Free Zones’ where you have the option to run or walk for a few minutes, I find this particularly useful for clocking mileage and for increasing distance and for beginners to running this will be the perfect time to do some walking if you feel it’s necessary.
I love a good deal and what these guys offer is good quality at really reasonable prices. Check out MP3 Running, and just take your running to a new level!
This is another one of my favourite music resource sites. These guys deal in everything from fitness, racing and training packs, interval training and timed sessions. Their range is divided into three intensities based on heart rate bpm starting with low intensity working up to mid intensity and finally high intensity. Their range is well developed and there is something to suite every level of fitness and goal set. I like to use Rollercoaster for my mid intensity runs and the Gridmix which is a free download for high intensity running.
Their prices are reasonable and their product is top quality and with the wide variety of options there are endless ways you can spice up your runs with what’s on offer.
DIY – Create Your Own Running Playlist
If you don’t want to spend money buying music for your running you can create your own playlist for running for free – here’s how…
On my DIY running playlist you’ll find Guns ‘n Roses, AC/DC, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Aerosmith, Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire and then a little trance like Infected Mushroom to name just a few. Creating your own running playlist full can be a lot of fun and it’s great because you can tailor make it to your current mood, this is especially useful when you need motivation for running when you don’t feel like it – to bite the bullet and get out of the door or push through to the end or your run. And, it’s loads of fun to sing along to your favourite tracks!
I like to create my playlist for running based on my heart rate bpm and I’ve found free software that helps me do this. The guys at MixMeister have this nifty software called BPM Analyzer which determines the exact bmp of any song and it’s dead easy to use. Check it out and start creating awesome playlist for yourself!
So, although it’s true that we can’t be motivated all the time it’s great to know that there is an easily accessible aid like music to help us through the lower times in our training. Not only that, music can help our bodies work smarter and not harder when we run so grab your mp3 player and start creating your running playlist for motivation today!
I really hope you have enjoyed this article and that you have found the information useful. If you know of any other resources or you have cool ideas please feel free to leave a comment I’d love to hear what’s on your mind.