Music perks up tired legs

27. August 2020

For many, music belongs to running. Under certain circumstances, it can even improve your performance.

Does music help with sports training? Studies of amateur endurance athletes on the treadmill and the cycle ergometer have shown that music can actually spur you on. When training with music, the athletes had a 7 percent lower oxygen uptake than without. Their movement sequences were also more consistent, which made the training more economical. Overall performance increases of up to 15 percent were measured, whereas values such as the heart rate and lactate concentration remained unchanged.

And which music is ideal? Music doping works best when the tempo matches the training intensity: for a moderate intensity this means sounds with 90–120 beats per minute (bpm), and for a high intensity it is somewhat faster with 120–150 bpm. One of the most popular songs among joggers is «Raise Your Glass» by Pink at 122 bpm.

The more beats per minute (bpm) a piece of music has, the faster you will run. Ideally, pieces of music with an even number of beats (2/4 or 4/4) should be used which are so fast, the legs can still keep up with the ears. Those seeking to do interval training with music should alternate between slower and faster pieces that range from 120 to 145 bpm – and don't forget to take into account the ground, weather, and gradient of the training run in the playlist. What sounds simple - «running training with music» - can therefore require a lot of preparatory work if done properly. And not to be underestimated is the fact that athletes are more likely to overexert themselves and thus wear themselves out in the long term if they are constantly running to peppy music. Music-driven training on the treadmill is easier. At least if the treadmill is somewhere where there is no annoyingly loud background music. Incidentally, special playlists for running training can be found on the website, and are also available as an app.