The Sound of Awesome

Posted: March 5, 2011 in Playlists, Run, Training
Tags: ,
  • Long Run (click to see stats & route)
  • 22.59k (2:08:56)
  • Avg. Heart Rate = 171 bpm
  • Max. Heart Rate = 160 bpm
  • Avg. Pace = 5:42 /km
  • Max. Pace = 4:21 /km
  • Calories = 2158
  • Temp = 6º (wet and windy)

Running uphill into the cold wind and rain is about as shitty as it gets in my book.  And to top it all off, I’m also running without the benefit of the motivational soundtrack I usually have playing through my iPod ear buds.  If ever the thought of ‘what the fuck are you doing?’ was to go through my head – this would be the moment.  But usually, I have some ‘sick tunes’ to drive me up that hill into the rain; but today…nada.  It was pure, unadulterated cahones moving me up that slick incline.

The view from the top along Lookout Rd.

For the last month or so, I have been sunning sans tunes at the insistence of my coach (as well as another runner who has a rather auspicious-sounding K-9 name, but doesn’t like dogs…but that’s another story) who joins me on my long Saturday runs.  Recently, we were engaged in a light-hearted war of words over the topic of running with an iPod.  Now, I realize that I’m required – in most circumstances anyway – to race without the benefit of music, but why wouldn’t I at least enjoy them while I’m out training?  I mean, you have to pass the time somehow, right?  Not that pounding the pavement in sub-zero weather into the driving wind, rain and snow isn’t fun, but a little mental distraction is much appreciated.  I thought that music lowers your perception of effort which tricks your mind into feeling less fatigued during a workout.  This in the long run then, would assist you to achieve your personal fitness goals.  But my coach has different ideas (but doesn’t she always).

Thawing orchard along Tice Rd.

Prior to starting running with others, I was a firm believer that run training is a personal experience; something that you have to endure yourself.  It was as much mental toughness training as it was for endurance or fitness.  Running with people was a distraction, and therefore a liability in my training schedule.  So my playlists, and sometimes a good Audiobook, became the sole means by which I motivated myself through these long workouts.  But running with people is different.  Passing landscape is pretty as are the birdies, butterflies and babbling brooks, but it’s March here in the Niagara Region and there is nothing but the cold wind, snow, ice, sleet, and rain (like today) to torment you.  Having partners to run with provides brief conversation as a distraction, well, as much conversation as you can possible have anyway while you’re gasping for breath and your heart feels like it’s going to explode out your chest.  Sometimes there is good natured bitching, ribbing and teasing while at others we have a laugh or two about something topical (like my ongoing chafing issues).  At other times we just listen to our collective heavy breathing and the swooshing of our running tights.  But still, what about when I run on my own?

Heart Failure Hill along Tice Rd.

My coach’s standpoint is that listening to music is not a safe practice if you’re running outside – period. The music may block noise from oncoming cars, cyclists, other runners, and even unfriendly dogs. Hey, what dog could resist giving chase to a plump 190 lb. pork chop running in ready-made sausage casing?  I’m a practically moveable feast out there!  One of the basic etiquette rules of running is that you can hear others, so you can move out of the way or stop, when necessary.  And I learned while running with her out along country roads that this is very important so you don’t get swept up underneath a passing snow plow, or bowled over by some domestic schumtz behind the wheel of a huge ass Dodge Wrangler.  But surely you can turn the music down or just simply use one ear bud, right?  How about races then?

A brief shelter from the storm along Sulpher Spring Dr.

Again, she says ‘no’.  Listening to iPods, Walkmans, and other technical gadgets and gizmos while competing in triathlon is strictly forbidden as it is a definite safety issue, and I fully support that stance.  But, c’mon, even for running races?  I just don’t see the same risk.  Fortunately for me most local running events here haven’t enforced this rule and I typically plug into my big Race Day playlist that I queued up the night before – easy-peasy lemon squeezy.  But an argument has also been made that if you wear headphones during a race, you’ll miss out on a lot of the race excitement. You won’t be able to listen to bands, hear people cheering, or talk to other runners. Okay, that may be so but, again, this is the middle of freaking winter here.  Come the nicer weather events I may be more apt to listen to this kind of logic, but as for right now, I am still calling ‘bullshit’.  Seriously, who talks during a race?  Not this tough guy!  I go out to crush other people’s spirit and make them suffer.

The blind summit on Mt. Roadkill along Sulpher spring Dr.

There is the chance though that your music may throw off your cadence, as you’ll likely speed up and slow down based on the tempo of the music.  Well, this would more of an owner/operator issue wouldn’t it?  After all, who’s going to load up their iPod with Tori Amos’s Greatest Hits before they try and set a new PB at the half marathon distance?  Any idiot would know to look for some livelier paced music.  But there is still the whole dependency issue that worries me.  What if I come to need my fast-paced music to perform confidently and strongly?  Knowing that I will not be able to listen to music come time for my Half Ironman competitions this summer, can I risk becoming dependant on music to motivate me?

Roadside signs along Hollow Rd.

I decided on a compromise then.  As long as I continue running with my coach or other people I will leave the iPod behind.  However, for those quicker paced sessions on my own or while on a treadmill, I’m cranking it to ten, baby!  Likewise, come closer to race season and the nicer weather, I will still try to take the odd long distance run sans music to ensure I can rely on myself to push when need be.

Red curry pineapple & squash on jasmine rice from Gastronomo Vagabundo w/ recovery drink

However, just for shits n’ giggles, here is a list of 15 essential running anthems that I have on any number of my current playlists.  recently, these particular tracks are like throwing gasoline on a bonfire so I try and place them at certain intervals in the playlist in order to motivate me to pick up the pace.

  1. Little Bones – Tragically Hip
  2. Got to Get Better in a Little While (Live) – Derek & the Dominoes
  3. Mercy – Plants & Animals
  4. Hells Bells – AC/DC
  5. A Daisy Chain 4 Satan – My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult
  6. Begging You – The Stone Roses
  7. Money City Maniacs – Sloan
  8. Also Sprach Zarathrusa – Deodato
  9. Little Lion Man – Mumford & Sons
  10. Patrol – The Charlatans U.K.
  11. Phantom Limb – The Shins
  12. Still In Hollywood – Concrete Blonde
  13. Abacab (Live) – Genesis
  14. I’ve Been Working – Van Morrison
  15. Funky – John Butler Trio

I would welcome any recommendations and suggestions from your own running playlist favorites.  What gets your motor running?

  1. mom says:

    Come on Ter–Whats wrong with ‘ol Ricky Nelson or Gary Lewis and the Playboys?

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