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Music and Running: To Run or Not to Run with Music?

June 29, 2017 1 min read

Music and Running: To Run or Not to Run with Music?

by Wendy Winn, PT, OCS from NY CUSTOM PERFORMANCE

Research indicates that running to motivational music can improve performance and running efficiency by increasing both heart rate and cadence. Running with just a metronome beat increased cadence, while the motivational quality of the music increased volitional effort of the runner! 


Some of our more competitive runners at Custom Performance often forego the tunes. “I must admit, 99% of the time, I don't run with music. I like to listen to my natural rhythms and get used to running/pushing without it,” says Mary Cain (@runmarycain), sponsored athlete of Custom Performance.

For those of us who may need the motivation, using music measured in beats per minute can be a good tool when measuring cadence. Increasing cadence has been shown to decrease ground contact time and thereby decrease injury risk (because most injuries in running are on impact). A recent study demonstrated that even small incremental changes in music cadence made measurable difference in a runner’s step rate! The “gold standard” for cadence is 180 beats per minute, but every runner is different. Cadence goals should be set based on each individual’s goals and increased incrementally. Keeping in mind that step length, core control, and power are also needed to increase speed.

The bottom line: Downloading a metronome app or a motivational playlist to help achieve your desired cadence.

Custom Performance NYC provides physical therapy, performance, and recovery services for all humans empowered by running. @nycustompt

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