Does Music Make You Workout Harder?

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on August 25, 2010

Good morning!

I was so excited when my alarm went off this morning because that meant that I could run today! :) After a quick check of how I was feeling I deemed that it was a run day. Yippee.

Before I left, I had half of a Glo Bar. This bar doesn’t even exist yet! It is a trial from several weeks ago that I popped in the freezer.



After 15-20 minutes of digesting and reading, I was on the road. It was a cool and sunny morning. Perfect for running! I didn’t bring Dwight with me because I wanted my body to tell me how fast it wanted to go and not have any watch feedback. I find the best way to get back into exercise after several days off is to ease in slowly and let your body tell you what it feels up for.

I ended up running my 3 mile route and I felt pretty good, albeit a bit more ‘rusty’ than usual.

I was excited for my first Green Monster since before the Chicago trip. We haven’t had any spinach or kale in the house, but I picked some up last night when I got a huge craving for a GM.


In the mix…


In the GM = 1 cup Almond Milk, 1 tsp Raw Maca Powder, 1 scoop Amazing Grass Wheatgrass, 1/2 ripe banana, 3 cups organic spinach, 1 juicy nectarine, 2 pieces ice.


Mmmm it was silky and delicious! The nectarine was really nice in it too.

And of course loose leaf…


Does Music Make You Workout Harder?

This morning I read an interesting article on the NY Times website about music and exercise. Tara Parker-Pope writes, ‘It’s music’s dual ability to distract attention (a psychological effect) while simultaneously goosing the heart and the muscles (physiological impacts) that makes it so effective during everyday exercise.”

Personally, I have always been a huge fan of pumping the fast beats during exercise and I do believe that it helps me train harder and not give up. However, I will admit that sometimes music just doesn’t seem to be that effective and can even be annoying.

What I thought was most interesting was that research shows there are limits to the impact music has during exercise, most notably during intense exercise. Research suggests that when you exercise at an intense level music doesn’t really have much of an impact. In a recent review of the research in 2009, Karageorghis and Priest claim that music narrows attention and distracts the mind from fatigue during moderate exercise, however during intense exercise “perceptions of fatigue override the impact of music, because attentional processes are dominated by physiological feedback.” Despite music not having as great an impact during intense exercise, many participants still claimed that they enjoyed listening to the music regardless!

I can totally relate to this research because I find that music works great for me during training runs, but during all of my races, I found that the music didn’t have as much of an impact on my performance. At times I even found the music was annoying during a race, but during other times a certain song got me through a difficult mile. It really varies for me! Sometimes during a race I will turn my music off completely and just listen to my breath and focus on my stride, pace, and the course.

What about you, does music make you workout harder? Does it help your training? What about during for intense exercise?

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram @ohsheglows, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

Previous Posts

{ 106 comments… read them below or add one }

Freya (Brit Chick Runs) August 25, 2010 at 9:13 am

I think the only way music helps me training is to relieve boredom! I don’t reaaally think it makes me go faster, it’s just nice to have ‘company’ – but maybe i’m totally wrong and i’ve just never NOT used music so i wouldn’t know!


Alex August 25, 2010 at 9:21 am

Interesting post! I generally find that music helps push me through workouts, unless I’m having a tough day and it just irritates me, so that’s when I prefer to listen to plain sounds like waves or white noise. When I’m doing a workout video, I like muting the sound on that and playing my own mix of music. Oddly enough I’ve found that I complete workout videos when I don’t listen to the “motivating” (read: obnoxious) commentaries of the trainer. Have a nice day!


Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope August 25, 2010 at 9:21 am

I have found that running is easier for me with music. I learned to run with couch to 5k podcast, which had tacky techno music, so I wasn’t feeling it. Once that was over, I made my own playlist with favorite songs, and I could run much faster and longer, and HAPPIER. However, the worst part about this: over the weekend I did my first sprint triathlon (and first race of any kind), and NO IPODS are allowed, which made the run super hard.


Holly @ couchpotatoathlete August 25, 2010 at 9:21 am

Music helps me alot during training, but during a race I like to run without any music. I like to hear the crowds cheering, the other runners talking to me, talking to each other, etc. And I like to talk to other runners too.

There have been plenty of times when I am losing steam during a training run and then a great song starts and my speed quickens – it truly is amazing sometimes!


Camille August 25, 2010 at 9:22 am

Music does make me workout harder IF I am in the mood. If I am feeling really pumped up, music will keep me going, but if I start of with zero motivation, I am better off watching TV or reading a book while working out.


Sabina August 25, 2010 at 9:22 am

I’ve never exercised with music on, for a few reasons:

– don’t want to carry anything extra around with me
– don’t want anything in my ears
– don’t have the ability (or desire!) to put together exercise playlists
– have spent my whole life exercising without music and it works just fine! :)

i’m totally wary of running with music outdoors… safety, safety, safety!

that green monster looks and reads amazing! we’ve got some kale to use up so I think a green monster is in the near future for us. btw, my lovely husband now refers to smoothies with anything green in them (usually spinach) as green monsters. so awesome! thanks for introducing me (us) to them, Angela! :)


Kristina @ spabettie August 25, 2010 at 9:23 am

I say yes… I am so so huge into music, and an upbeat beat ;) will get a “charge” out of me and make me want to move!

Running outside, I never listen to music. I like the peaceful quiet and listening to my breathing.


Emmanuelle August 25, 2010 at 9:27 am

Music usually lifts me up and helps a lot during training. At the gym I always train with music, and now I’m using the couch to 5k app, with a version that picks up music from what I have in iTunes. It has given me a real boost on some running portions! I actually should be careful with this because I almost ended up breathless and panting a couple of times ;-)


Melissa @ Vegan CacaoBee August 25, 2010 at 9:29 am

Music is definitely a must for me when I exercise. Both the Glo Bar and Green Monster look delicious!


lynn August 25, 2010 at 9:32 am

I’m a relavitve newbie to the running workout but I have noticed when songs changes if it is a more upbeat tempto i will go faster and I enjoy the more mellow ones to warm up to. I always have the buds in my ears (prevent wind in my ears, get a lot of earaches) but often I will shut it off.

Green monster looks yummy. Does the wheatgrass supplement have any flavour to it?


Jazz August 25, 2010 at 9:32 am

I never run with music, I’m too lazy to bother with carrying anything and want to hear what’s going on around me since I often run alone… but in the winter at the gym, I love running to music!


Christal Espelage August 25, 2010 at 9:34 am

Music is great when I’m strength training and makes me push harder. When I run, I usually prefer to go sans the iPod. I found that I don’t usually pay attention to the music when I run. I’m more focused on my form and breathing.


Ashley August 25, 2010 at 9:36 am

I actually kind of hate listening to music while running/biking/etc. I don’t like taking the time to pick out songs. Then, I usually have a few I don’t really want to listen to, so I hate fumbling to press “skip.” When I did try music a few times, half the time I forgot to charge the mp3 player, so it would run out 1/2 way. Fail. I’m also not a fan of the cord bouncing on me and the ear buds usually make my ears a bit sore too. –Especially with biking but also running, I like to have both ears open to hear things around me. It’s hard enough to hear on a bike w/the wind…have both ears plugged into music scares me!


Jessica @ How Sweet August 25, 2010 at 9:40 am

I need music to work out! I hate working out without it. I like a good beat to jam to. :)


[email protected] August 25, 2010 at 9:41 am

i want that tea cup!!!! thats so precious <3

music definitely pushes me harder. i knock off a lot of minutes on my race time because of it. its amazing!


Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) August 25, 2010 at 9:43 am

Music definitley helps me get in the groove and keep moving. I like to sing along in my head, it gives me something to focus on!


Nicole @ yuppie yogini August 25, 2010 at 9:43 am

If I’m doing an intense workout with intervals music is sooo helpful. I also like podcasts and books on tape for long workouts and weight lifting…helps me zone out.


Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman August 25, 2010 at 9:44 am

Music definitely impacts my workout. The right music can make me push hard than I normally would. On the flip side, softer music slows me down a bit.


Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg August 25, 2010 at 9:45 am

I love music at my gym workouts, but when I run outside, I usually like to just take in the sounds of nature and my feet beating the path!


Christine August 25, 2010 at 9:48 am

I don’t usually work out to music in my ears – but sometimes I do in my head! It’s good this way that way I can “hear” my favorite parts – or the most upbeat part–of a song over and over again!

When I attend classes at the gym it goes both ways. Once a teacher apologized for not having music one day – and I didn’t even realize that we weren’t using any until she said that. I used to go to this early morning Pilates class and the teacher blasted the post sugary pop music…not what I would typically listen to – but I secretly loved going to that class for that reason!


Anne @ a daily slice August 25, 2010 at 9:48 am

Music definitely makes me work harder. I tried to incorporate a couple of “head clearing” runs without music into my 10k training, and I just couldn’t do it. I need the added kick of motivation :)


Veronique @ Hooked on Health August 25, 2010 at 9:48 am

I can definitely relate to this research too!
I find that music improves my workout most effectively PRE-workout. If I am not feeling up to a run or resistance training routine, I listen to some heart-pumping music and it will get be amped up and actually excited to workout.

As I listen to music while working out, it will pump me up as long as I am doing a moderate level routine. Otherwise, it will distract me and make me lose me focus. If I am near the end of a run and feeling a bit sluggish, that is when music can really push me.

Long story short, music helps my workout routine in some ways more than others, but i find it essential for giving me that energy boost to get moving.

p.s. that mystery glo bar looks amazing! What is in it? :)


Kristina August 25, 2010 at 9:49 am

That was really interesting! I’ve found that when I’m strength training, I HAVE to have music playing or all I think about is how many more reps I have to do and how my muscles are burning, and it makes me lose motivation. If I have music on, I focus on the rythm and beat and my workout flies by.

The opposite happens when I’m running, though. Because running is really hard for me, I find that listening to music makes me extremely grumpy and annoyed! I can’t focus on my running and I want to give up. I definitely prefer to listen to my heartbeat and my feet hitting the pavement. Did you feel that way at all when you started running?


Alison (Fueling for Fitness) August 25, 2010 at 9:50 am

When I had a smaller ipod (I now have an iphone which is too big for my fuel belt!) I would sometimes do my solo runs with it but now I don’t run with music at all anymore. When I’m running outdoors, I love just taking in the scenery and getting lost in my own thoughts. Also, it’s a safety thing for me, since I run in the city and I want to pay attention to everything around me. I’ve also heard that music is not allowed for a lot of bigger races (especially in the US), so I’m hesitant to get dependent on it if I find out that I can’t use it.

Having said that, a few of my running friends told me that music may have helped my race experience this past Saturday! May be something to consider for that final lap in a difficult race. :)


Elli @ 16 and Losing It August 25, 2010 at 9:50 am

Music definitely helps me! Certain songs will come on and I can all of a sudden run faster and harder! Before I was struggling but then that songs comes on and my feet stop dragging! There are definitely days though when music isn’t as helpful but I know I run faster and stinger with it! Its even more important in kickboxing! The music’s beat is really what determines how fast we are moving and the right song just helps you get out of your head and just move.


Heather (Heather's Dish) August 25, 2010 at 9:55 am

i love music when i exercise but i tend to get lost in it and then overtrain (sounds weird, i know!) so i have t be careful to pay attention to what i am doing so i don’t hurt myself. what am i, 3 years old?! :)


Lizzie August 25, 2010 at 9:55 am

For outdoor running, I stopped listening to music 3 years ago after I almost got run over by a truck (plus my mum was worried about it), and I don’t really miss it at all. I tend to pay more attention to my surroundings and enjoy listening to and seeing what’s going on. In the gym I have switched to watching some tv shows that I put on my phone – for the elliptical/biking/treadmill it makes the time fly by. Everyone has their own means of motivation and as long as it gets you out there and being active, who cares? :)


Tina August 25, 2010 at 9:56 am

I don’t often use music for workouts but when i do it motivates me. I just dont own an ipod or any mp3 player. I feel so old school.


AGS August 25, 2010 at 9:57 am

I think that music assists with maintaining a rythm. For instance, when I run intervals on a treadmill, I find songs with a beat that matches my pace (or that pushes my pace) are very useful. Likewise, I find that certain songs (with certain beats) don’t so much distract me, as much as decrease my perception of excertion. It’s that change in perception that I believe causes you to be able to run faster.

There is a point, however, usually at the end of a hard run, where music becomes irrelevant (which the article you reference suggests), and I have to just focus on my body, breathing, and finishing strong.

I write this with a sign, because the only running I’ve done in 2.5 weeks, is running to catch a taxi to work (this morning). Good news is there was no pain with that little sprint, so I think that my injury is close to gone. Fingers crossed.


Maria @ Oh Healthy Day August 25, 2010 at 10:00 am

I agree 100% with this. During my moderate-hard workouts, good music makes me kick it up a notch, but during anything super hardcore, I can’t even hear it – all I can focus on is finishing my workout and trying to breathe ;)
I also believe that just as good music improved moderate workouts – BAD music makes them more difficult. I once left in the middle of a spin class because the music was so terrible and I felt like I was wasting my time. Sad, but true.


Krista (kristastes) August 25, 2010 at 10:06 am

I hear ya on the bad music @ spin class issue…not cool!


Olya August 25, 2010 at 7:44 pm

I agree! In my gym, some of the music they play is great and I feel like exercising more and push myself harder, but sometimes they would play a song that I don’t like and I want to leave the place.


Krista (kristastes) August 25, 2010 at 10:05 am

I love pumping up the techno on runs — especially when I’m doing a speedy, longer-distance run. It keeps my butt moving! I have total workout music ADD and change the song if I need a boost. Not sure if it actually helps my performance, but I’d like to think it does! :)


Laura August 25, 2010 at 10:10 am

Music is a definite must for me on my runs. Good music too! (I did my fair share of runs with bad music found in various C25K podcasts when I did the program thi spas winter). I find the better the play list, the better my run. It also helps to strategically place my favourite uplifting songs towards the middle of my playlists so that it helps pick me up when I know my body with start to feel tired.


Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf August 25, 2010 at 10:11 am

I get bored of my workout if I’m not listening to music. In fact, if my iPod is dead and has yet to be charged, I don’t go to the gym or run! So yes, the music definitely affects me.


Mary @ Bites and Bliss August 25, 2010 at 10:11 am

I think music really helps my workout..unless a slow paced song comes on. Then it’s kind of hard to keep up the pace/intensity. But otherwise it really gets me pumped! I actually don’t think I could lift weights of jog without some type of my own music. Cause even though the gym plays stuff, there’s still so much background noise it’s hard to concentrate.


[email protected]:// August 25, 2010 at 10:12 am

I think music definitely impacts my workout. When a faster beat comes on or a song I really like it gives me a boost of energy to work harder.


Corey @ The Runner's Cookie August 25, 2010 at 10:16 am

I like having music most of the time (especially for long runs), but sometimes I don’t think it makes much of a difference. When I’m in need of a motivation boost or when I’m tired, I think it helps, but sometimes I think I just tune the music out anyway and would be better off not having the discomfort of wearing headphones.


monicanelsonfitness August 25, 2010 at 10:17 am

It is interesting with music. I find it depends on my energy and what type of workout. For weights…NO MUSIC, I believe you should be focused on form and breathing 100%. Cardio for the most part… absolutley music is a must, for ex. a spin class(duh! right) but I find for Tabbata training no music is great beause you are focused on your counts so much more. Nothing sucks more though when you are doing cardio and you are all amped up and then your battery dies on the ipod:( That green monster looks so tasty..Have a great day!


Marcia August 25, 2010 at 10:19 am

Through experimentation, I found that music makes me run slower during a race. On training runs, it can keep me going longer. But it distracts me from my pace (something my boss keyed me in to.)

When I am focusing on my stride and my breathing, I run faster. With music, I tend to follow the beat, which is most often slower.


[email protected] August 25, 2010 at 10:24 am

I love being on the elliptical or the treadmill with my music on. I think it gets my heart rate up and makes me work harder. I try to put fast upbeat beats on my playlist because I can always run or exercise to the beats.


Therese August 25, 2010 at 10:24 am

I can also relate to this research. A lot of the time I actually just ignore the music in my head but it comes in handy when I’m getting bored. But when it comes to trying to push myself to run faster, I find that it hinders me because it feels as if my body just automatically adjusts to the music. When I run harder I need to focus ONLY on running.


Molly @ mollyrunsfresh August 25, 2010 at 10:25 am

I strap on the iPod for long runs but leave it at the house for anything short and fast. I have two friends that run with their iPods because they have asthma and say that it freaks them out if they hear their own breathing. Not sure if that’s a good idea but it seems to work for them!


Marlène August 25, 2010 at 10:30 am

I am a die-hard no-music runner. I just don’t like having earbuds in my ears, I don’t like not being able to hear traffic or other sounds around me, and I don’t like the feeling of “escaping” my workout. I love focusing on breath, pace, muscle tension and enjoying the scenery. I find music WAY too distracting. For me, anyway! ;)

Question for you Angela: how many bananas do you go through in a week??? I never seem to have enough, whether I buy 4 or 10, they’re always all gone way before the week is done. Just wondering…


Kristina August 25, 2010 at 10:30 am

I’ve always loved running with music. Actually, if I have some new music it motivates me to run! However, sometimes I get sick of listening to intense music and would prefer to listen to the birds. During these moments, I just take my earphones off, and enjoy the world. I consider running to be a BIG stress relief. So, sometimes just listening to the silence of a suburban neighborhood is calming while I run. In the case of more intense exercise, I definitely think music pumps me up to go faster!


Lisa August 25, 2010 at 10:31 am

YES! The right kind of music can pump me up and make me run FASTER and HARDER! On the flip side, slow music makes me slow down.


Leah @ Why Deprive? August 25, 2010 at 10:35 am

I ususally run with music, and I find it helps towards the very end, when Im fighting my way up the hill I live on. But for the most part I dont know if it makes much difference. I got used to running without my ipod in the winter because it was dark out and I wanted to hear everything around me, so I can really go either way.


Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday August 25, 2010 at 10:36 am

Music has no impact on me when I’m working out with high intensity. I don’t notice it at all. I’m so focussed on what I’m doing that I don’t find music helps.


Cynthia (It All Changes) August 25, 2010 at 10:36 am

The faster the music the more I push myself. Also if I love the soundtrack or songs I may go longer than if I’m in silence.


Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans August 25, 2010 at 10:41 am

Music is a must for me. I can’t even recall a time when I have worked out without it. The right music can make even the toughest workouts/runs seem a little better.


Brittney August 25, 2010 at 10:43 am

I love running with music unless I’m running with someone, then I just talk with them instead. If I’m alone, I really think music makes a huge difference though. I tried running a 10K with no music (for comparison) and was missing my music the whole time. I definitely think music helped on my half marathon to get me through!


Caroline August 25, 2010 at 10:44 am

I would tend towards no music because I have heard elites say they don’t use music because they like to focus on running. Of course, I also can’t handle carrying an iPod and the earbuds never stay in my ear. That has a lot to do with it too!


Becky August 25, 2010 at 10:48 am

Okay, so I don’t work out much at all. I’m lucky if I decide to go for a nice, long walk every once in a while. BUT when I do go for a walk, I like to have music with me. Otherwise, I’ll have some song I heard earlier in the day stuck in my head for the entire walk, and that is really annoying! I’m also “old school” in the sense that I don’t own and IPOD or mp3 player – I still listen to an old Walkman. Yeesh – I need to update my technology…


Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine August 25, 2010 at 10:52 am

Some music definitely helps my workout!! There are a few songs that I find myself unconsciously pushing harder during, which is always funny. And downloading new songs on iTunes always motivates me to have a good workout as well!


Mrs. Muffins August 25, 2010 at 10:55 am

It definitely depends on the workout I’m doing… For running, I definitely enjoy it but I don’t think it HELPS. And during my cooldown, I usually yank out my earbuds, annoyed at all the noise, hee hee :p



Jenny August 25, 2010 at 11:03 am

I feel like when I am just going on a normal run, music rocks! But when I am doing my final sprints or sprinting ever, it distracts me and can frustrate me because it’s not what I want to hear. Really interesting!:)


Liz August 25, 2010 at 11:03 am

I ran my first 10k without music (I made the mistake of thinking it was anti-social….when I got the race everyone had earbuds in and I was on my own!) and my second 10k with music. I have to say I didn’t notice a huge difference. There was a moment in the second race where “Don’t Stop Believin'” came on and it was definitely perfect timing – but I probably would’ve gotten through the moment without it as well!


Amber K August 25, 2010 at 11:04 am

Music really, really helps me to work out harder and longer! It keeps me entertained and motivates me.


Jenn August 25, 2010 at 11:07 am

I’m also one of those people who, when my ipod has run out of juice, thinks, “Can I even DO this? Can I legitimately work out to Gold Gym’s horrible playlist of Wham! and Paula Abdul?”

(JK. I love Wham. And Paul Abdul.)

The problem I run into, during cardio on the elliptical at least, is that I have this natural fixation on keeping time with the music. Which I’m noticing can either hamper me (I’m not pushing myself hard enough on slower bpm songs) or help me (pushes me to keep up with the music.)


alexa @ Sohdalex August 25, 2010 at 11:08 am

mmmmmmmm. That looks like a GOOD green monster ;)
Music definitely makes all the difference in my workouts. When I have a playlist on with songs that I really like [fast beats, usually really catchy stuff] Then I go harder to the music and feel more accomplished b/c the music normally puts me in a good mood.


Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter August 25, 2010 at 11:21 am

Doing sprints and very high intensity workouts music doesn’t affect me very much, but it definitely keeps me going during those lonnnng runs!


Jessie (Bites and Pieces) August 25, 2010 at 11:23 am

That green monster looks so refreshing! For me, music can make or break my workout. I need something with a good beat to keep me going throughout the workout. I usually wear my headphones at the gym so I can tune everyone out and focus on myself. When I am taking walks outside, I leave the headphones at home so I can hear my natural surroundings instead. :)


Kristin August 25, 2010 at 11:31 am

Music always pumps me up no matter what the workout. I notice when I’m hiking I keep a better pace with Trance/techno music that keeps my beat for me. If the music works with you in keeping the beat or pace then it is helpful, if it is nothing but a filler to keep your mind off the exercise, then it’s not always productive. My favorite workout right now it Turbo-fire which has amazing music, plus the sound effects, it helps pump you up to hit it harder.


Stacy August 25, 2010 at 11:33 am

When I first started running, I NEEDED my ipod. I would even postpone a workout if I forgot it. Then, when I started running again after my knee injury was semi-sorted out, I ran without my ipod. I think it helps me stay more in tune with how my body feels. Music is a nice distractor and motivator when you need it, but I was surprised to find out how much I love running without it!


Allison August 25, 2010 at 11:42 am

music definitely makes me workout harder, it kind of distracts me from what i am doing so that i just GO rather than thinking how tired i am and want to just give up


Lauren August 25, 2010 at 11:42 am

Speaking of music, do you have a good site that you download from other than iTunes?


Kali August 25, 2010 at 11:46 am

I read that story too and am actually working on a blog post about it! I can’t imagine my workouts without music. I feel like it always keeps me motivated and when things get tough, I just listen to the music and kind of zone out.


[email protected] August 25, 2010 at 11:53 am

I definitely think that music makes me work out harder. I find myself trying to keep up with the beat and use fast-paced songs for motivation, especially when I’m running. I don’t think I could even run without my ipod!


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat August 25, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Music is an absolute must for my cardio sessions! I don’t think it makes me work out harder, but it definitely makes long runs more entertaining. I don’t think I could run for AS long without it, but I’m not sure it has a huge impact on my actual speed.


Tanya @ Life with the Kummerows August 25, 2010 at 12:16 pm

I don’t ever listen to music. When I first started running 4 years ago I got an iPod and almost always listened. Ever since training for my first 1/2 marathon with a partner, I quit that habit. I love the sound of my feet and breath, and even the sound of my creeky knees…music to me is a distraction and takes away from the organic experience of running. Certainly somedays I think I would benefit from the use of music, but for the most part, I would rather run with someone else even if we aren’t talking.


Natalie August 25, 2010 at 12:17 pm

It’s funny, because before this year I would never want to run with music if it was outdoors (on a treadmill though, I would). I used to like the sound of nature and would be paranoid that some big commotion would occur as I was running, and wouldn’t hear it if I was listening to something else :|

A year after my last run, however, I decided that the reason why I was never motivated to go for a run, besides the anxiety that came from lack of energy as a result of my ED, was because I felt that I would get bored too easily. So I bought myself an iPod jogging band and a Garmin Forerunner 305, and within the next few days (weather-permitting!) I will be going for my first run.

I am extremely nervous as I have held myself back from doing it for so long, but I think listening to some upbeat music will help me overcome my fear (it’s a silly fear, I know, but this coming from a person who went from loving to run, to hating it). I guess I’m just afraid that I’ll dislike running again, and/or I’ll put too much pressure on myself :(

I guess I’ll find out how music works on me during my runs though, soon enough!! I really hope it’ll be a good first-run! :)


Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] August 25, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Interesting topic. Most of the time music pumps me up and keeps me going, but I have also felt that ‘annoying’ feeling during a race. So interesting. One thing that helps is keeping my iPod stocked with new tunes.


adina August 25, 2010 at 12:57 pm

I must say I’m addicted to Green Monsters now and have one almost after every long workout! But yeah I need music to workout with. I feel that upbeat, fast paced songs really get me motivated and really into whatever workout I may be doing. Especially running and spinning! Music is a must for me in both these types of workouts. I’m running my first half marathon this upcoming Oct. and am still debating on whether I should or shouldn’t use my beloved mp3 player during the race. I’ve always been interested in seeing how I’d do without music during long runs, oh well we’ll just have to wait and see ! :)


Jessica August 25, 2010 at 1:00 pm

I love music when I run. I don’t use it when I hit the trails or for any trail marathons for safety reasons and also because I love just focusing on the nature around me.
However, for flat (sometimes boring) road races…I love my music!


[email protected] August 25, 2010 at 1:02 pm

I’m the same way….on my moderate days of workout I LOVE music it definitely helps the time go by, but if its an intense workout I dont need any music whatsoever b/c I’m so focused on my training goal that music just becomes an annoyance and distraction.


Kacy August 25, 2010 at 1:10 pm

I love to listen to music when I’m running, but I have found that sometimes it causes me to go too fast on long runs when I should be running slower than normal for my training. I try to put a lot of songs on that are a good tempo for my slower pace, and that works out well.


Dee August 25, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Hmmm… interesting article! I find that music allows me to keep going. I don’t know why but when I feel like giving up I put on a really fast track, pump up that volume, and bam I have my second wind. :)


Alison August 25, 2010 at 1:36 pm

I’m glad to see a few non-music folks. Running is meditation for me. I get to hear my body breathing and I like to focus on what that breath is doing for me – it’s helping my circulation, my focus, and keeping me strong. Also, I run with my dog and I want to make sure he’s breathing how he should, too :-)


L. Andrea August 25, 2010 at 1:37 pm

I like music for outdoor runs when they’re intense runs. I find for my ‘relaxing’ runs, music can be annoying and distracting. I prefer to contemplate and let ideas flow in during those peaceful runs. For workouts in the gym, however, I always have my iPod with me. I work in a relatively small gym, and I find there’s a lot of gossip exchanged. My iPod keeps me focused on my workout, and less annoyed by the Gossips(tm) or the Braggarts(tm).


Tracey August 25, 2010 at 1:40 pm

I absolutely need music when I run. I don’t run with anyone else so I need the distraction of music. I find if I don’t have it, I often focus too much on my running and make it harder on myself or find that it is easier to talk myself out of going that extra mile without music.


Michal August 25, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Music does help me, but my mind gets really focused on my body, which is both good and bad. I find a running partner helps much more than music! My awesome nephew went running with me today even though he hasn’t been running in months and it was cold+raining.


hamutal August 25, 2010 at 1:57 pm

i usually train indoors (at the gym) and i find that music really helps me through my runs, moderate or intense, and makes me push harder.
but when i weight train i find that music sometimes distract me, especially on my intense workouts.
i also find that when my earphones are on (with or without music playing) i’m focued on my workout with no one to distract me (chating etc.)


Katheryn August 25, 2010 at 2:01 pm

When I race I have 3 songs that I play during the last 2 miles to give me that extra something, but that’s it. During all my training runs and all other exercise I listen to podcasts. Much more enjoyable to me.


Monika @ Forever-improving Girl August 25, 2010 at 2:03 pm

I used to be completely dependent on music during my runs, but ever since I started training for a half-marathon I find it actually detracts. These days I prefer to go out without my iPod and tune myself into the experience, into how my body feels and into the world around me. It doesn’t matter is it’s a long distance run or hard speed-work, no-music works well!

However for OTHER workouts – like a Body Attack class I take twice a week (an hour of intense aerobic-like exercise) – music is non-negotiable and I enjoy it immensely. Go figure.


Nour August 25, 2010 at 2:04 pm

When I’m working out, or just running errands, I like upbeat music. It pumps me up and helps me keep going. When I’m studying or writing, I like to listen to instrumentals or nature music. I like to create a zen feeling and it helps me focus.


Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin August 25, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Fast songs really help me push up the intensity of my workouts! But if I’m just doing a less-intense run, I prefer to watch the tvs at the gym to keep me from getting bored.


[email protected] August 25, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Music does help me to workout harder often times, but I have gotten used to working out without it. After my iPod died a few years ago and I didn’t have the money to replace it (still don’t), I got used to running music-free. Now i prefer it, I feel safer and I am able to think more clearly while I’m running, which is a big benefit of it for me. Time to myself to think through Things and Life :-)


Alaina August 25, 2010 at 2:33 pm

For me, music is absolutely ESSENTIAL, especially during group fitness classes like kickboxing or Zumba. I often leave if the music isn’t to my taste, ha. I also require that it be loud, which I know is bad for my ears :[

Also, random question, but where do you get your raw maca powder? Is it something you order online or can you find it at a health foods store?


Alaina August 25, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Also, you should do a post on your favorite running songs! I know you occasionally mention a few that you like, but I’m constantly on the lookout for new music to stock my ‘pod :D


Joanna @ August 25, 2010 at 2:34 pm

I definitely find that music makes me work out harder. It can get me feeling like I am on my runners high before I actually get there. It is amazing that way. However, I do get sick of songs and have to change them up. Novelty is a big thing for me.

PS- I also put almond breeze and maca into my morning green smoothies! Great addins!


Neen @ Broad Bean to Runner Bean August 25, 2010 at 2:42 pm

That GM looks awesome, beautiful glass! i like to workout to music, it makes working out more fun! i’ve never tried running without either company or music, i dont think i’d like it.


Little_Jo August 25, 2010 at 2:42 pm

I’m actually writing the biggest essay of my life (the end of all my studies at university, big deal!). Does it count as “workout”? For my brain, the answer is obviously YES! The fact is that I can’t help myself to put my earplugs and listen all kind of music… I need it… The silence is so deafening.
The funny part is that when my brain tremendously is building huge theories, I’m so concentrated that I hear that music no more! Weird, isn’t it?

I like your blog very much, even if english is not my mothertongue and it’s hard for me to understand the recipes (I need to convert measures and to use a dictionnary for ingredients)… Another kind of brainiac workout, in a sense ;)


jodye @ 'scend food August 25, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Music can definitely make me work out harder, depending on what’s playing. If I’m at the climbing gym and a really great, pumpy song is playing, I’m bound to climb better than if I hear a song I hate. It’s crazy how the mind works!


Maria @ runningcupcake August 25, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Hey- when I am running (esp a long run) I have a tendency to get slower and slower, so if a fast track comes on it will make me think about my pace and try to run in time. I have had races where I have chosen faster music to make me run faster. It does help to stop me thinking about my breathing too.


Kristy August 25, 2010 at 3:12 pm

As long as it’s a fast song, yup I def work harder! :)


Sana August 25, 2010 at 3:17 pm

I used to be a music only runner. But now I love to just zone out in my own thoughts and just zoom!


Jess *forever addicting* August 25, 2010 at 3:29 pm

That GM looks YUMMY! I’ve been eying Maca Powder for a while now..I think it’s a necessary addition to my smoothies. I’ve heard such great things about it! As for working out to music…yes, yes, yes! Music pumps me up and allows me to run or lift weights for longer!


chelsey August 25, 2010 at 4:24 pm

I don’t always listen to music while I run – some days, I just need to think and clear my mind! Other days, I want to rock out. It really just depends on my mood!


jennifer August 25, 2010 at 5:31 pm

music MAKES my workouts. I don’t really pay attention to the music itself, but I subconsciously pace myself with the beat while I think about other things, and it just keeps me going.


Callie August 25, 2010 at 6:31 pm

I actually prefer to run without music. I plan my day, solve problems and get into my thoughts. :)


Wei-Wei August 25, 2010 at 6:54 pm

I was doing my Couch to 5k run last night, and listening to house music that has lyrics and beats which are DESIGNED to get you pumping and ready to go in clubs really helps on runs. :D


Kristen August 25, 2010 at 7:24 pm

I like listening to music because it helps me go. If I don’t have music to distract myself with if i’m on a stationary bike or elliptical I focus too much on how much time I have left.


Kirsty_girl August 25, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Whether or not I listen to music depends on the exercise.
Hiking – no
Yoga – never
Running – sometimes but I have to have good tunes
Weight lifting – hard rock, punk (anything else is distracting)
Walking – sometimes


Trance Musics October 6, 2010 at 11:46 am

For me it’s like breathing, I cannot “live” without music. Electronic musics is the only thing that left for me that makes me enough inspiration for lliving.


Carol October 25, 2014 at 9:08 am

Every time I plug in my ipod I want to go for my walk. When I’m stopped at the lights (I live in the city) I want to dance while I wait for the green light. Do you think people will stare lol and wonder…….what is that woman doing? Maybe I will one day when I work up the nerve. ;)


Rachel February 12, 2018 at 5:22 pm

I literally can’t run without music. Sometimes my poor ol ipod shuffle says, “battery low” and I run faster to finish my run before it dies. I’ve had the same playlist for 10+ years (more or less) with all of my favorite songs. My body is conditioned to run along.


Cancel reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: