I’ve been reading a lot recently about people who don’t run with music, but listen to podcasts instead. “What a backward step for mankind” I thought, “these are the kind of people who apply leeches to cure DOMS and believe the world is flat and they might run off the edge”.
When I first started running one of the big draws was an excuse to plug in to a new album or favourite artist and have an hour of uninterrupted musical application, it’s like Savlon for the soul. I’ve discovered countless new favourites by strapping in for a whole album and committing to see it through while I run, when normally I’d give them a half listen while distractedly getting on with life and never really engage with the music. Then I started to learn how the music could influence my running; I knew about BPM affecting heart rate but I always equated it to dance music. Suddenly I realised I could make a long run easier by planning my music, and avoiding the louder harder rock that saw me picking up my pace in response. Then there were speed sessions…Prodigy, obviously.
But something different happened this weekend. Spotify released a playlist of “The Best of British Comedy” and in the early hours of Saturday morning I just couldn’t choose any of the 18,000+ tracks on my itunes to get me out the house…so I took Eddie Izzard instead. I don’t know if I was subconsciously reaching out to the spirit of Eddie that got him through his incredible 43 marathons or whether I was just in need of a good laugh. What followed was the world’s fastest 10 miles, or at least that was my perception!
By the time I’d run 6 miles to parkrun, done that and then put in a fast last mile home I’d ticked off 10 miles, Eddie Izzard and most of Billy Connolly, and it had flown by! I guess there’s something in the psyche that knows how long songs are, and breaks down your progress in to 4 minute chunks. If you get a great track you’ll fly for 4 minutes, something you’re not overly fond of and it’s a 4 minute slog.
So, I’m a convert. I intend to use the whizzy spaceage 4G around here to stream comedy from BBC Radio 4 Extra, I’ve downloaded Serial which everyone has been raving about and I’m open to suggestions for what else I could listen to…this year’s marathon training could be the most educational, amusing and music free yet!
What do you listen to when you run? Any recommendations for good podcasts/downloads/radio plays I should check out? What about audiobooks, and classics?