Need For Speed – How Music Messes With Your Body


Listening to music while running makes you feel lighter, better and studies show that you not only feel faster, but you actually are faster… at least a little. The research, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, tested the effect of music on 15 runners before, during and after they ran a 5km course. Important were measurements like heart rate variability, brain activity and arousal, during-run perceived effort and time, and post-mood.

Before the run test participants listened to motivational music, which sets at about 110 to 150 beats per minute – the measurements showed a decrease in vagal tone, which is a brain process related to the autonomic, or involuntary, nervous system; vagal tone affects the operation of internal organs, including the heart. In practical terms, a decreased vagal tone means that pre-run music aroused the runners and, according to the researchers, better prepared them for their 5K time trials. So far, so good.

Actually being on the 5km track, the runners listened fist to slow music with round about 80 to 100 beats per minute, and then to faster music, with 140-160 beats per minute. Although the first couple of rounds were run significantly faster then without listening to music, the time difference for the rest of the course was considered statistically insignificant.

Post-run, the athletes listened to calming music (95 to 110 beats per minute). As opposed to the no-music-at-all runners, their vagal tone increased, which means that their internal systems, including heart rate, were more quickly returning to normal. Because the goal of post-run recovery measures, such as hydration, nutrition and gentle exercise, is to speed the body’s return to its pre-workout state, this finding suggests that slow music after a hard run can help in that process.

So, what to make of this? Decide for yourself. Even if it doesn’t show in your actual laps times, and it’s just to make you feel better during a vicious hill sprint, or to give your life run a soundtrack, it’s worth it. Below there are some running music ideas to get you out of the house.




(not to confuse with the Ausfit Saturday morning run)

Eagles – Hotel California
Adele – Rolling In The Deep
Gorrilaz – Feel Good Inc.
Ben Howard – Keep Your Head Up
Passenger – Shape Of Love (ft. Boy and Bear)
Vance Joy – Riptide
Adele – Rumour Has It
Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines (ft. T.I. and Pharrell)
Sean Kingston – Beautiful Girl
M.I.A. – Paperplanes


Coldplay – Charlie Brown
One Republic – If I Lose Myself
AJR – I Am Ready
Kings Of Leon – Sex On Fire
Sheppard – Geronimo
Sam Smith – Money On My Mind
A-Track  – Push (ft. Andrew Wyatt)
Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks
Meghan Trainor – Lips Are Movin
Linkin Park – Bleed It Out


Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Can’t Stop
Michael Sembello – Maniac (from Flashdance)
MC Hammer – U Can’t Touch This
Skrillex – Bangarang (ft. Sirah)
The Prodigy – Firestarter
Tailor Swift – Shake It Off
Foo Fighters – The Pretender
Pharrell Williams – Happy
Mumford and Sons – Little Lion Man