How do I get motivated? The answer is music.

Someone asked me about motivation this week. What motivates me to run in the rain? What motivates me to run when work email is overflowing? What motivates me to run when there is a new episode of Man vs. Food on TV?

The answer came quick, however the answer took a few different angles.

I am motivated by the obvious health benefits I started feeling in just the first couple of weeks – more energy and deeper sleeping. I’m motivated by the physical changes I’m seeing in the mirror as we approach the half way point. I am motivated to accomplish the goal we all set out of completing the 2011 Vancouver Sun Run.

But how do I get motivated? The answer is music.

via: Sun Run celebrity blog

Brad Challoner, the author of the linked article, indicates that he starts almost every run with Eminem’s Recovery album. And in the post he tells a great story as to why.

An inspirational story

I like reading other runners’ stories. I find them inspirational.

This one is about Betty Soller, a 48 year old woman who ran a marathon to raise funds for the American Stroke Association as part of her quest to quit smoking.

She has an interesting view to running with music:

Betty Soller runs alone, but she’s never lonely. The 48-year-old woman runs with head phones, but most of the time the music is background noise. Sometimes during her marathon training sessions, she’ll break out an air-drum solo. That’s why she wears sun glasses and a hat.

I have to admit the same happens to me sometimes. I start really focused on the music but after a while I realise I haven’t really been paying attention and I’m not sure which songs I just heard. The beat keeps me pumped, but I loose track of the actual songs.

I guess that’s part of why I haven’t been posting playlists as often as I want to. I don’t want to just post whatever I ran to if I don’t think it’s good enough to share. I’ll expand on that in another post.

Meanwhile, I recommend you read Betty Soller’s story. After she ran her first marathon she got sort of obsessed (in a good way) and has run several more marathons since. As she explains:

I’m hooked. I’m crazy, but it’s a great stress reliever. I go outside and my mind is so clear. You take it all in and just think about the run.


Running for music

This is an interesting story about a guy who ran over 48 miles in 8 hours to raise money for music education.

By running the ultramarathon, Bedford combined two of his passions – running and music. Bedford ran cross country and track for Indiana State after excelling in the sport at Terre Haute North High School. He also plays tuba in the School of Music where he is a music education major. Bedford and his friend, Jeff Andrew, ran to raise money to aid music education in Terre Haute. They accepted donations of $1 per mile and raised $1,000.

via: Indiana State University: ISU Newsroom

Buy a Song for Japan

I’ve written a few times about this. I know it’s off-topic, but I feel it’s important, so please bear with me. Our friends in Japan are going through a tough time with the unfortunate events that happened in March. Sadly, another earthquake hit them this past weekend.

They need our help.

I’ve posted a few ways to help that are somewhat related to this site (ie. music or exercise). Here are the links:

I just found out of yet another way to help. A couple of guys decided to record a song, put it up for sale in iTunes, and donate the proceeds to Japan.

The Song for Japan project is a grassroots movement dedicated to raising awareness while spreading a message of hope and love in support of those who desperately need our help. Please join this movement by downloading the special version of The Beatles classic, “In My Life” by Jon Levy on iTunes.

Check out the video:

More info and their story here: Song for Japan

Clothing-optional running?

Readers, do you enjoy road racing but feel that shorts and singlets are just too… restricting? If so, you should meet Pete Williams. Pete is a triathlete and journalist who last year, in his words, “launched a business organizing clothing-optional runs in Florida.”

via: No Clothes, No Chafing, No Problem | RW Daily

Never imagined there would be organised nude running, but there you go. It’s an interesting article on a guy who’s organising 5k races, where clothing is optional, over in Florida, USA.

More on the benefits of exercising to music

This is a really interesting article.

Another new study by researchers from Liverpool John Moores University, and detailed online in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, looked at the tempo angle differently. Instead of a mix of different songs at different tempos, they asked a group of cyclists to pedal to the same song over three different trials.

What the subjects did not know is that the researchers first played the song at normal speed, but then increased or decreased the speed of the same song by 10 percent. The small change was not enough to be noticed, but it did have an effect on performance.

Speeding up the music program increased distance covered/unit time, power and pedal cadence by 2.1 percent, 3.5 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively. Slowing the program produced falls of 3.8 percent, 9.8 percent and 5.9 percent. The researchers concluded that we increase or decrease our work effort and pace to match the tempo of our music.

via: Music Benefits Exercise, Studies Show | LiveScience

A testament to the power of music

The first set went OK, but I was simply going through the paces. Then Brian Adams’ “Run to You” started playing and as I whispered the lyrics to myself, changing the words to “Run to Sue,” my energy increased. Bon Jovi’s “Runaway” came on next, and suddenly I felt like I was the strongest, most fit person working out.

via: Running and Music | Father Knows Last

Research on running barefoot or in minimal footwear

For those interested in barefoot running as I am, I just came across this study by the Skeletal Biology Lab at Harvard University on this very subject. This is how they describe it:

In Daniel Lieberman’s Skeletal Biology Lab, we have been investigating the biomechanics of endurance running, comparing habitually barefoot runners with runners who normally run in modern running shoes with built-up heels, stiff soles and arch support.

And a summary of their findings:

Our research asked how and why humans can and did run comfortably without modern running shoes. We tested and confirmed what many people knew already: that most experienced, habitually barefoot runners tend to avoid landing on the heel and instead land with a forefoot or midfoot strike. The bulk of our published research explores the collisional mechanics of different kinds of foot strikes. We show that most forefoot and some midfoot strikes (shod or barefoot) do not generate the sudden, large impact transients that occur when you heel strike (shod or barefoot). Consequently, runners who forefoot or midfoot strike do not need shoes with elevated cushioned heels to cope with these sudden, high transient forces that occur when you land on the ground. Therefore, barefoot and minimally shod people can run easily on the hardest surfaces in the world without discomfort from landing. If impact transient forces contribute to some forms of injury, then this style of running (shod or barefoot) might have some benefits, but that hypothesis remains to be tested.

link: Running Barefoot: Biomechanics of Foot Strikes & Applications to Running Barefoot or in Minimal Footwear

The research was funded by Harvard University and Vibram (who make the FiveFingers shoes), so one could argue it may be biased. However, given it comes from Harvard I would like to trust it was not influenced in any way.

It’s an interesting read and has plenty of videos to explain and support the findings.

One milestone at a time

For starters he had no clue what he was doing, but he just went a milestone at a time.

via: How To Run Like Forrest Gump | My Run Australia

This is a nice, short article about how Forrest Gump started his running spree. If you haven’t seen the movie (and you should), Forrest just starts running one day and doesn’t stop for three and a half years. He ends up running coast to coast across the U.S. several times for no apparent reason. Then one day he realises he was trying to deal with the death of his mother and best friend and suddenly decides to stop.

What’s interesting is how he started and how he achieved so much.

Simple, actually.

He just started. And kept going. One milestone at a time.