Last weekend’s run contained a downhill stretch of happiness that propelled me to a record time. But after the race, I wondered if my music didn’t also have something to do with it. I had tossed aside my faithful playlist (unchanged since July) and instead listened to one of those hits compilations that I am publicly ashamed to own but secretly love. (Shhhh, don’t tell anyone.)
I hadn’t played this Record of Shame before, so each track was a fun surprise, which I am sure inspired me to keep going, and go faster. It made me think about music and its relationship to running.
Expert types say the best tunes to play on the run are those whose beats per minute (BPM) match your mile pace. To test the theory in my world, I decided to put together a quick BPM-savvy list based on a small portion of my iTunes library.
According to jogfm.com, my ideal BPM is 135-150 (based on a 10-11ish pace). Using that website, plus a combination of the free BPM analyzer from MixMeister (crashes a lot and can’t handle large volumes, but hey, it’s free) and an app called Easy 5K With Jeff Galloway, which has a function that analyzes songs (more on the app in another post), I came up with a bunch of tracks that are allegedly the ideal tempo for my pace but for the most part are not songs I would have necessarily chosen to run to.
Bizarrely, few of my poppy playlist stalwarts (which were mostly Kylie songs; I am a longtime fan) fell anywhere near my ideal BPM range, nor did the majority of tracks from the Record of Shame (OK fine, it’s Now That’s What I Call Music, 40). They were too “slow.”
But the big question is: Should I care about the science, or should I just run to what I like?
Below is the fancy new list. I’m going to try running with these tracks over the next few races to see whether they (a) drive me to go faster or (b) just make me pine for my old song-selection methods.
I’ll report back on my, er, findings.
My Hero Foo Fighters (135BPM)
Human The Killers (135)
Limbo Kylie (136)
Mamma Mia Abba (137)
Viva La Vida Coldplay (138)
Somebody Told Me The Killers (138)
Feel Good Inc. Gorillaz (139)
Red Blooded Woman Kylie (139)
Love Song The Cure (140)
Wish Run Lola Run (140)
For Reasons Unknown The Killers (141)
Feeling Called Love Pulp (142)
Just a Kiss Lady Antebellum (142)
All of the Lights Kanye West (142)
Rio Duran Duran (142)
Midnight Show The Killers (144)
Rehab Amy Winehouse (145)
Alright Supergrass (145)
Tiny Dancer Elton John (145)
Dreams Kylie (146)
The Scientist Coldplay (147)
I Ran (So Far Away) A Flock of Seagulls (147)
Sabotage Beastie Boys (147)
Mr Brightside The Killers (148)
Common People Pulp (148)
Kookachoo Kylie (149)
Mis-Shapes Pulp (149)
E.T. Katy Perry (150)