Bend the Round

…where the madness is recorded.

Results of Music Experiment March 3, 2008

Filed under: music,running — bendtheround @ 2:59 am
Tags: ,

A recent post on Podrunner started a conversation with Prisco of the Gospel According to Prisco about workout music. I hadn’t really put a lot of thought into it before, but it turns out that I have three categories of workout music: running, lifting, and yoga. The running music is by far the hardest to nail down.

I haven’t spent much time listening to music while doing yoga…or much time doing yoga lately, to get right to it… but the stuff I like to listen to tends to be pretty standard ambient sort of stuff. If I was practicing like I’d like to be, I could pick up a couple CDs with spandex bedecked women in improbable positions on the covers and pretty much be good to go music wise. Maybe one of these days, I’ll get back into yoga like I was and start putting some yoga music collections together.

Lifting music isn’t too hard. It pretty much encompasses anything I like to listen to period. It doesn’t have to be pumped up, fast-paced or anything. I’ve even listened to audiobooks while lifting and been perfectly content. I am a complete book nerd, though, so that’s not all that surprising.

Running music is much, much harder for me to get worked out. I tend to run to the beat to whatever I’m listening to, regardless of whether the beat is appropriate for running. That’s great when I’ve got a song with a good running beat to it, but I’ve never put the effort in to figure out which songs really work for me. The reason is that the only real way to tell if a song is going to be a good running song is to try to run to it. I’ve tried guessing plenty of times, and about 4 times out of 5, I’ve been wrong.

So, I tried an experiment. I used Thursday’s 3 mile run to listen to an album and make notes on what pace each song set for me. It turned out to be far less precise than I had hoped. When a song did work well to run to, it would work for a range of speeds. What I really need is a way to tell what the beats per minute (bpm) is for a given song.

I listened to Eagles of Death Metal’s album Death by Sexy. Here’s the song list and my notes on each:

  • I Want You So Hard – great running song! 5.8 – 6.3 mph
  • I Got a Feelin’ – 3.5 – 3.7
  • Cherry Cola – I think my legs are too short to take steps long enough for this one to work.
  • I Like To Move In The Night – 3.2 -3.7
  • Solid Gold -Chose this album for this song – one of my favorite running songs – 5.7 – 6.5
  • Don’t Speak – 3.1 – 4.0
  • Keep Your Head Up – 3.3 – 3.6
  • Ballad of Queen Bee – 3.4 – 3.6
  • Poor Doggie – 2.4 – 2.8
  • Chase the Devil – too fast to do on the treadmill – faster than 7.0
  • Eagles Goth 3.5 – 3.7
  • Shasta Beast – 4.0
  • Bag O Miracles – 2.5 – 2.8

There are two problems with measuring songs by the mph they set. First, it’s inexact. They set a range of mph. Second, it’s only good for someone with a similar stride – so someone significantly taller or shorter than my height of 5′ 2″ will likely have a different mph for a song.

Still, it was an interesting exercise.


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