I know that not all races allow headphones, and some people prefer to run without music, and I do agree that on occasion it's great to just take in your surroundings and listen to your body.
But music can be very uplifting- it's been shown to release endorphins in the brain that make you happy, and when the right track comes on at the perfect moment, it makes your run feel amazing! Studies have even shown that listening to "joyful" music causes blood vessels to expand, increasing blood flow, therefore being great for cardiovascular health and while exercising. Music can both delay fatigue and lessen your perception of pain and tiredness as well. Songs with a steady beat at the appropriate tempo or running pace can help you maintain a constant rhythm too.
My playlist has a very random mix of cheesy and intense, to alternately make me lighten up and enjoy running, and then dig deep and believe in myself when things get tough. It seems to be working well on training runs so far!
If you have any other great suggestions I could add, please leave them in the comments. And I hope that those of you with races in the near future may pick up a few new songs from my playlist that will spur you on to the finish line!
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