Not about the running. That was hard and my body hurt, a lot. No, my smugness had to do with the use of music.
Given that the use of headphones was either impractical (it’s hard to keep headphones and music player dry during a triathlon) or against race rules, I figured it would be best to avoid using music on my runs. And for a while, all was good.
But then I hit a running wall, and after a few more rest days than I had planned (both physical and psychological), I realized there was one way for me to get over the hump – turn on the tunes.
Too lazy to go through my music collection to create a playlist, I instead used the Genius feature of iTunes to create lists of tunes from my collection “inspired” by songs like “Let’s Get This Party Started” by Pink and “Hip to be Square” by Huey Lewis and the News. While most of the songs went well together, there were a few times odd selections (for example, how “Rag Doll” by the Four Seasons ended upon my my 80′s inspired list, I will never know).
Looking for something new to listen to, I decided to try using Pandora to add some diversity to my listening. Using the Music Genome Project to compile selections based on songs or artists of my choosing, Pandora was able to create a running mix inspired by the band Fun which was modern, upbeat and kept up a good beat. I was a little concerned about AT&T throttling my usage (I’m on an old unlimited plan) so I’ve kept my use of Pandora to a minimum.
Most recently I discovered Rock My Run, DJ mixed lists designed specifically for runners. Using a coupon code sent to me in an e-mail newsletter from Brooks, I downloaded a free 40 minute mix featuring some of my favorite artists including the Foo Fighters, Rush, U2, and Tom Petty. Not only do all the songs go together perfectly, they are mixed together to avoid any dead air. (I swear the new mix also makes me run faster – on a recent run I clocked a personal best 8.27 min/mile pace while running 3.27 miles – but can’t actually prove it.)
According to the Rock My Run site, mixes cost between 1 to 3 credits, and you earn 1 free credit when you sign up plus 1 free credit a month. Which means “if you only need a mix every now and then to keep you going, you can use the service 100% free of charge.” Additional credits can be purchased for as little as $2.00 to download more mixes.
When I started running, I was a little worried about exposing my Apple iPhone to the heat and humidity. Fortunately, safely encased in my hot pink Tuneband, the phone has stood up to the abuse. Fed up with constantly having to untangle my earbuds, I found a pair of Behind The Neck Sport Earbuds with interchangeable cord lengths (meaning I could use the short cord to connect the iPhone on my arm to the headphones).
Do you listen to music when you run?