Peta Bee blog: running unplugged


Peta Bee is a health and fitness journalist who writes regular articles in The Times and other national newspapers and fitness publications. A Run England Group Leader herself, Peta still runs regularly and has completed six marathons.

"Do you listen to music when you run or do you prefer to head out unplugged? A new study by the University of Wolverhampton’s School of Sport is the latest in a flurry of papers looking at the effects of music on performance.

Many experts have shown that a good tune can distract the mind, enabling the body to work up to 10 per cent harder. It may also boost your mood and make you feel more alert, all of which sounds great news for runners.

But before you download the Rocky theme tune for your next 3-miler, it’s worth pointing out that these benefits don’t hold true for everyone. According to sports psychologists, there are two types of runner: associators who are entirely tuned in to their exercise and the way they feel, and disassociators, who like to switch off and forget what they are doing by concentrating on other things.

If, like me, you fall into the former camp you will find music an unnecessary intrusion when you run and will be content with the monotone sound of your own breath as a background beat. It’s the runners relying on external dissociation who might find carefully selected soundtracks motivational.

If that's you, then listening to music isn’t the only diversion technique you can use. Ever wondered why you find it easier to run with your Run England group than to go alone? Chatting to fellow runners is another great way to forget about the physical effort running entails - on a sociable run you will often find that you cover more ground (and at a faster pace) without realising it."


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