Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Music and Running

I am huge fan of listening to music while I run. It started back in '04 with a CD player and later that year became an Ipod. There are some running traditionalists that frown upon the use of MP3 players and such while running. To them, I say put on your short shorts and mind your own business. If listening to music makes running more enjoyable for some, who gives a crap? I would personally find running 40-50 miles a week without music rather mind-numbing. The only time I haven't run with my Ipod this training season are when I have done my Yasso's. If you prefer to run without music, feel free. Some people find it distracting. I think it should be up to each individual what he or she wants to do. I find it helpful. Some marathons are now not allowing them to be worn in the race. They cite communication issues among other things. I obviously disagree with the stance taken by some of these marathons.

On a side note, I have just about finished writing the long-awaited story of last few weeks of the 2004 Marathon training. I had to dig deep into the memory banks to pull out this wonderful tale.

Anyway, my point is that one song that has become somewhat of a staple on most of my marathon playlists is now featured in a commercial by Nike. The song is "All These Things That I've Done" by the Killers. This song carried me home during the last mile of the 2005 Las Vegas Marathon as I was passing people. You can go to to see each individual person on the video and get a brief description of why Nike feels they have displayed courage. Some are a little more inspiring than others, but is pretty awesome nonetheless. Take a look:

The mustachioed man at the 26 second mark is Steve Prefontaine. I am not a huge Lance Armstrong guy, but the shots of him in the hospital (at 34-36 second mark) receiving treatment for cancer followed by the shot of him peddling his ass off and winning the Tour de France is remarkable if nothing else.
I pounded out my 11 miler this morning. I came in right at 8:00/mile. It felt pretty good. My legs are still sore, but I feel good about posting back-to-back 8:00's after the 10K on Sunday. The reality is that I need to be able to put up 8 minute miles in my sleep to run the kind of marathon I am hoping to run in several weeks. Those 8 minute miles basically have to be the worst mile I put on the board that day. An 8 minute mile over 26.2 miles gets you to the finish line in 3:30. I need to beat that. A 7:50 pace gets you home in 3:25:14. A 7:40 pace will net you a 3:20:52. I am not sure exactly what I will be shooting for on October 12th just yet, but I will need to running consistent sub-8's for sure.

One site I frequent is On this site, you can find plenty of useful training tools. The page I linked to is the running calculator. It's not an exact science, but it does allow you to enter in a time for a recent race that you ran. It will essentially extrapolate your time across different distances while also including a multiplier in to factor in the added distance and fatigue. Based on my 10K time, McMillan suggests my current fitness level to be a 3:26:01 marathon. I think a 10K is a little short to judge one's performance for a marathon, but it looks like I am at least headed in the right direction. I will be very interested to see what time I can post at the half marathon and what McMillan says about my equivalent marathon time based off of that. In 2006, I posted a 1:39:56 in the half. McMillan said that should have translated into a 3:30:46 marathon. My time marathon time in 2006 was 3:30:57. So McMillan was within 11 seconds. Pretty amazing. Again, it's not the gospel, but it's pretty interesting.

1 comment:

Matt Rauls said...

I'm a big fan of the old iPod for training too. In addition to music I have been branching out into podcasts -- This American Life, Kojo Nmadi show, Fresh Air, Council on Foreign Relations etc. Great ways to pass the time especially on longer runs.

For races though, I am the exact opposite -- I never race with an iPod. I don't care all that much if others do -- it's a personal choice, though I think it is a disadvantage.

First, when you are racing, it hurts, and it is intense, and music just doesn't fit well with that vibe, at least for me. In fact even with interval workouts I often turn off the music otherwise I start feeling irritated or neurotic. Second, I think it is important to listen to your breathing, your heart, and the sound your feet are making as they hit the ground. It's boring and monotonous but those are pretty important feedback points when racing -- they tell you how you are doing, whether you are tired, fading, sandbagging, going too fast etc. I can often tell what my pace is based solely on my breathing. And lastly racing is mental -- at the end of a tough race I catch myself mentally drifting off and 9 times out of 10 when this happens my pace has dropped too. I think anything that distracts you from focusing on the here and now during racing can be detrimental to your results.