Lacing Up, Day Twenty-Three: Musicceleration

mu·sic·cel·er·a·tion [myoo-zik-sel-uh-rey-shuhn]

  1.  the act of accelerating your pace and speed while running due to external musical factors.
  2.  a change in musical tempo and rhythm directly influencing your running velocity.
  3.  Mechanics. the time rate of change of a musical score through rhythm and tempo changes directly correlating with your pace, gait and velocity with respect to magnitude or direction; the derivative of velocity and music with respect to time.

I’ve mentioned before that running has a few perks over cycling. One of those is being able to lawfully wear earbuds and listen to your favorite tunes while thumping (ok I’m not thumping as much as I used to, but I’m still far from elegantly gliding) down your running route. Now that I finally have those whipping headphone cords under control…thanks to LifeProof’s iPhone Armband…I’m thoroughly enjoying listen to my always eclectic musical selections while running. Listening to music increases the enjoyment and intensity of your workout. There is even scientific facts that back this statement up – research sponsored by the American Council on Exercise shows that listening to music during exercise increases endurance by up to 15 percent. It can get you going and keep your spirits up when the going gets tough, as well as drown out the environment (we currently run next to a busy boulevard…not on the street itself mind you, but on a wide dedicated bike/running path next to it).

Spontaneous smiling, the classic Musicceleration warning sign….after all, no one smiles when running.

Music is a great distraction. It helps you get “in the zone” and forget about the constant pounding, fatigue and exhaustion your body is experiencing. Heck it even helps you keep a steady pace…that is unless you fall prey to what I like to call Musicceleration.

You see, unless all the tracks you have chosen are similar in beat and tempo, you’ll easily find yourself speeding up and/or slowing down to match your running cadence to the music. For example right at the start of today’s run my iPhone randomly choose Billy Idol’s Dancing With Myself. For those of you who are 80’s challenged, it’s a very uptempo tune filled with aggressive punk inspired guitar riffs, repetitive melodic phrasing and…who am I kidding, everyone knows the song. By the time Billy was shouting out “sweat, sweat, sweat, sweat” my pace had dropped into the low 8 minutes…far out of my comfort range. Then my iPhone shifted gears and started playing Murray Gold’s I am the Doctor, which if you have any inklings of Time and Relative Dimension iSpace, you’d be flirting with new PR times. I knew I was pushing it too hard, but the Musicceleration had it’s hooks deeply implanted in me. It wasn’t until One Republic’s Good Life started playing that I was able to slow things down to a more sustainable pace…which curiously probably still matched the rhythm of the song. Luckily the next few random selections were more agreeable with my easy training pace.

Another Musicceleration danger sign…random public dancing during cool down walks.

As you can see, listening to music is a double edged sword. I’m sure an experienced runner can use it to his or her advantage. The right song at the right moment can easily give you a bigger boost than any caffein laced gel. But, in the same token, that “right song” at the wrong time can leave you gassed later down the road. Obviously it’s caveat cursor when choosing your playlists as matching rhythms, and tempo are the only way to avoid Musicceleration.

I’ll have to scrutinize my current play list a bit and try to match the tracks better. Perhaps I’ll make a couple of lists, one for maintaining pace…I’ll call it Cruise Control, and another for kicking it up a notch…I’ll call that one the Lagasse Special.

Running: 5K Plan
Run Time: 39:11
Stopped Time: 1:35
Distance: 3.30 miles
Average: 11:51 /mile
Fastest Pace: 8:38 /mile
Calories: 428
5K This Month: 28.61 miles
5K This Year: 66.32 miles

Click for Run Data


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