If you’re someone who needs a little rhythm to complete your run, you’re not alone. There’s something about the thump, thump, thump of the bass or drums that keeps our feet hitting the pavement at a steady pace.
“Just like in most settings, music can lift our mood and put more pep in our step!” says Juliet Kuehnle, a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor at Sun Counseling and Wellness. She was also a music minor in college, and studied both the sounds and the psychology behind it. “We also tend to have such an emotional connection to music, so if you have a personal playlist of songs that resonate with you, you’re going to have an endorphin release along with positive memories triggered.”
Aha! So there IS a scientific reason our tunes help our trot! “With all of those feel-good hormones flowing, you’re likely to feel much more motivated,” says Kuehnle. “Pay attention to what tempo, energy, and even emotional delivery of the singer resonates with you and build a badass playlist!” So if you start with Disney’s “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” and end with Black Eyed Peas’ “Pump It,” that’s PERFECTLY NORMAL.
Knowing that a playlist can be as intricate as the people who make them, we asked our Novant Health Charlotte Marathon Ambassadors to share the tunes that help them step up their pace in training. We heard everything from Bollywood to Metal to Podcasts to… nothing at all. Ah, nature… sometimes hearing the birds chirp is just what you need! Check out what our Ambassadors like:
Just like every phone book starts with AAA, we’re starting with Mr. AAA Plan, Arun Kallikadavil — aka Mr. Positive. He got our year started right with some positive pointers on setting new and attainable goals, like his own “Acquaintance, Accomplishment, and Acceleration” to get started, get stronger, and get faster. https://runcharlotte.com/2021-goals/ So what does he listen to?
“My choice of what I listen to is dependent on the type of run,” he tells us. “On a day which is focused on speed workouts or tempo runs, I focus on listening to upbeat music. It is all based on the intensity I want from that run.” That means Bollywood dance music, house beat, or pop. Jai Ho!
A combination of upbeat and inspirational songs power him through hill repeats or tough altitude runs. For his long run, he listens to ebooks, devotional music, or podcasts on interesting topics — or nothing at all. If you want to listen to an interesting podcast, try Running Around Charlotte! Our chat with Arun will get you started: https://runningaroundclt.blubrry.net/2020/03/17/arun-kallikadavil/
Mandy calls herself a “late bloomer” and “average runner” who just wants us to get moving. She got us up off the couch with her 20×21 Project in January and is another fan of running with podcasts — saving the ones she’s most excited about for her longer runs. (A favorite is Popcast with Knox and Jamie if you want to “join” her runs.) She takes it up a notch by updating her playlist continuously, but when she needs a kick, it’s Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder. Can you feel it all over?
If you want to listen to a podcast with Mandy, you can hear her talking about her 20×21 Project with Running Around Charlotte: https://runningaroundclt.blubrry.net/2021/01/26/mandy-carter/
Judy’s story will inspire you to run through your “wall” — She’s 65, and 5 years ago she was diagnosed with Stage 3 colorectal cancer. It was a shock because she eats right and runs often. Since finishing 6 months of chemo and her surgeries in 2017, she’s run 65 marathons.
Yeah… I’ll have what she’s listening to, please.
“My playlist is one for a person who doesn’t know what genre they like, so real oldies,” she says. “Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, Bon Jovi, to the other extreme of Pit Bull, Dua Lipa, and in betweens of Imagine Dragons and David Childers!!” It makes a lot of sense to mix it up, especially after all she’s been through.
“I find the music can help me keep a more consistent pace, but especially, it distracts me so I don’t notice discomfort or realize the effort I’m putting in,” she admits. She likes running alone because it has a meditative effect. “Afterwards I’m calmer and more focused,” she says.
In addition to a peek inside her AfterShokz, she gave RunCharlotte these tips last October for getting better with age as you run. ( https://runcharlotte.com/running-against-time/ ) You can hear more about her story from when she joined us on Running Around Charlotte. https://runningaroundclt.blubrry.net/2020/11/03/judy-caswell/
Michael has done a turn as the leader of NHCM’s Rucking Division, where competitors often find silence is golden (and most rucking events don’t allow music or earbuds). But when training, he likes to listen to Joe Rogan’s podcast or Spotify Daily Mixes like Beastie Boys, Tool, Weezer, RadioHead, Led Zeppelin, or “old school Metallica.”
Check out his spotify playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DX5M59nhwFlWl?si=B9BPFVXMTrGGQaZKLGH2cg Or the Running Around Charlotte episode where he describes Rucking https://runningaroundclt.blubrry.net/2020/06/02/michael-sweeting/ Or his other favorite: nothing at all.
“I do enjoy, at times, no music,” says Michael, “just the organic sound of shoes on pavement.” Ah, cue the birds chirping and frogs croaking. There’s value in being one with nature, says our counselor Juliet Kuehnle. It can, perhaps, make us more mindful.
“We spend so much of our days bombarded by sensory input that can keep us from paying attention to our thoughts, or being truly aware of our surroundings,” she says. “There is such value in learning how to feel comfortable in our own heads and really mindful of the beauty around us.”
Kuehnle reminds us that music is the one thing that is completely individual, and can be changed at will. Her playlist has Usher to Sara Bareilles to Broadway, “because it checks all the boxes for me.”
Or surprise yourself like Ambassador Margaret Taylor — throwing the old-school rap on her shuffle and letting it play whatever comes up. “It’s always a surprise what comes on!” she says. That, alone, can be motivation!