Music to my Ears

How do you keep motivated during your workouts? I’ve always found that I need something to listen to, regardless of whether I’m at the gym or outside.

The only exception is when I’m actively engaging with someone else – it’s hard to talk when your attention isn’t entirely there!

I’ve walked a lot this year – the first lockdown had me craving long walks outdoors, breathing in the spring air, and it was a habit I happily kept up (more or less) as the lockdown restrictions lifted. On these walks, I listened to a lot of audiobooks and podcasts. It was easy to give them the attention needed to follow them, and I really enjoyed being transported to these new worlds, with these new narratives, as if I was out on a long walk catching up with my friends.

At the gym, I was never able to do that. I couldn’t follow podcasts, books, or be one of those people watching Netflix on their phone while on the cross-trainer. I needed more ‘oomph’ to what I was hearing. But more importantly, I needed to be able to zone in and out as required – to check form, or to concentrate on a particular action – to get the most out of my session.

The right music is great for setting the baseline mood, and to get lost in when you need the mental distraction.

Now that I’m spending so much more time running outside, I find that I’m searching for another solution.

I think music is the answer – I need something with a good beat to keep me motivated, and I definitely need to be able to block it out without consequence for things like crossing the road or navigating obstacles (like today’s surprise wildlife).

But I would love something more than that – something to keep my mind engaged, like I was running with friends, to pull me out of the ‘oh-God-I’ve-only-been-going-10-minutes!?’ and help me settle into my rhythm earlier.

That’s exactly it. I’m struggling to find the right audio to help me find my rhythm.

Of course, like so much in life, it’s going to come down to trial and error to find out what works for me. That’s part of what this regular practice of running is all about…

… yes, my legs are getting used to running …
… yes, my lungs are getting used to this new way of breathing…

… and yes, I’m finding and strengthening the mental tools which will get me through, too.

Music is going to be one of those tools.

Sample of workout playlists on Spotify, Nov 2020

Currently, I’m experimenting with Spotify workout playlists. I haven’t built one of my own – I’m not sure if it’s going to be worth the effort?

But I’m very interested to hear what you do?
What do you find helpful (or unhelpful – that’s good to know, too!)?
Any suggestions for approaches I should try?

I don’t suppose you know of any magical music-podcast hybrid that will magically solve everything!?