Music, Running and the Mind …

I’m sure everyone faces the same dilemma; what music do I run to? What is going to keep me motivated and energised?
In years gone by I’ve always settled on a mix of dance music, synthpop, and electronic to keep me going, but sometimes it either gets boring, or I’m not in the mood for it. The end result is that my running ability is hindered.

A while ago I had read an idea (can’t remember where) about listening to video game music while studying. The idea is that the music is designed to stimulate your mind and allow you to concentrate without distracting you. So, after getting bored of my stagnating gym playlist, I loaded up the soundtracks from the Final Fantasy game series (I-XII), most of which was composed by Nobuo Uematsu. I chose these soundtracks because these are the games I spent my childhood with, I have some emotional connection to the songs, and the games are full of personal challenges and stories of conviction.

I set off for my first run in well over a month and it was better than I expected. Despite fatigue, shortness of breath and a genuine lack of fitness, the music did exactly what it was supposed to do: it kept me calm and focused. The best part is that I never skipped a tune, something I did all to often with my previous playlist.
I have been for a number of runs since, and despite the fatigue I spent most of the run smiling. I was genuinely enjoying the run, which is something I have not done for a long time.

While I can guarantee this will not work for everyone, but for me … it has been liberating.