How to Use Music to Boost Your Running Performance

How to Use Music to Boost Your Running Performance

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There are a number of health benefits from music, but did you know choosing the right music while running can actually boost your performance? When listening to music your brain subliminally synchronizes to the repetitive beat, so playing the right songs, at the right pace, can help improve your running efficiency and pace.

Don’t believe us? Next time you’re out running, play a faster paced song, then try and slow down your speed or pace. Initially, you’ll think that maintaining this slower pace is easy, but give it some time, and when you don’t realize it, you’ll have sped back up to the pace of your music. This is your brain synchronizing to the beats per minute (BPM) of the music and matching your beats per minute in foot steps.

So what’s the ideal running BPM for your music? Think loud and fast, with the optimal BPM ranging from 120-140bpm. Although there is no single cadence to fit all runners, 120bpm is a good base depending on your running ability and goals. Use songs with 140-160bpm as a good pace for your regular jog. If you’re someone who’s aiming to increase their cadence, search for music tempo ranges within 160-180bpm.

For those looking to synchronize their pace with music or increase their cadence, here’s how to find your ideal running beats per minute.

  1. Run for 15 minutes on a track or pavement at a pace you are comfortable with.
  2. During the run, count your steps for 1 minute. Do this several times through the 15 minute period to get an average number of steps per minute.

Just to give you an idea what steps per minute (BPM) equates to for time per mile. These are estimated times as these will vary per runner based on running technique, stride length, and fitness level. Here are some examples:

  • 150 steps per minute = 16 minute/mile
  • 153 steps per minute = 14 minute/mile
  • 156 steps per minute = 12 minute/mile
  • 160 steps per minute = 11 minute/mile
  • 166 steps per minute = 8 minute/mile
  • 171 steps per minute = 6 minute/mile

To give you some song examples, here are the BPM of songs from Tom’s Go-To Playlist, available on Spotify.

  • Yes Indeed - Lil’ Baby & Drake = 120bpm
  • Butterfly Effect - Travis Scott = 141bpm
  • Humble - Kendrick Lamar = 150bpm
  • Everybody Mad - OT Genasis = 164bpm
  • ‘Till I Collapse - Eminem = 171bpm

Of course, your running performance is largely impacted by your training and endurance, but music has power to boost our mood and motivate us through our toughest workouts. Create a fast paced power playlist and allow music to boost your running performance!