Sunday, February 22, 2009

Training with Music

“She had them apple bottom jeans, boots with the fur, the whole club is lookin’ at her” …who wouldn’t be inspired to do hill repeats while pedaling to the tunes of T-Pain? Yesterday was my last big day of training before a rest week and I was feeling rather uninspired. My legs felt flat, I’m having a hard time getting my heart rate up, and I can’t stop thinking about eating food in my pajamas on the sofa while watching the Tour of California. It’s on days like these that I am reduced to the musical taste of a fourteen year old …perhaps it has something to do with the cerebral oxygen deprivation that results in this hypoxic state of pop culture craving.

“She hit the floor, next thing you know, shawty got low, low, low , low, low, low, low, low” …Oh yeah, I’m so ready to bust out the intervals. I think I would be mortified if anyone ever saw the songs that comprise my playlist entitled “long rides”. (photo:

Speaking of training with music, this reminds me of a conversation I had with the lesser known of the brothers Gwadz. (photo from DCMTB) Marc seems to think that training with music is a dissociative technique that is only a distraction from associating with the stress of training and pushing your limits (thereby weakening your workout). However, I really don’t think I would have been able to get through my hill repeats yesterday without the help of the Beastie Boys, The Rapture, Kanye West, and of course …T-Pain. Is it possible to use music when training as motivation rather than dissociation? It would be interested to conduct an experiment designed to quantify the benefits realized from intervals with music versus intervals without.


Blue-eyed Devil said...

Tunes are definitely a motivational tool for me--them Gwadz boyz got some strange notions. ;)

Remind be never to borrow your MP3 player!

Anna said...

No really ...I listen to good music when I'm not in spandex!

Chickin said...

Studies have already proven that music is a performance enhancer. Hence iPods are forbidden from marathons, etc. Of course people still use them, but if the elites were caught they would be disqualified. Not sure if the same rule exists in cycling.

Anna said...

I'd be interested to see those studies. I guess my big question is whether training with music is beneficial or not ...especially since you can't duplicate the same musical sensation while racing.

....road racing with an ipod might be more of a safety issue than anything else.

Chickin said...

I was thinking more of time trialing. Anyone who would do a mass start race with an iPod... well that's just stupid. Of course, I do know of several people who use their iPods during mountain bike races, especially the endurance ones. I'm sure Gwadz gets a kick out of that. I for one, never ride with music unless I'm on the trainer.

Anna said...

Yeah. Sorry, I was being a little sarcastic about the safety issue thing.

As for riding on the road with ipods, I always wait until I get to my place of intervals before I break it out ...if I got hit by a car (even if it wasn't my fault) they could probably use that against me.

Oh, and the beauty of endurance races is that the majority of them don't fall under the USA Cycling umbrella ...which means there is very little regulation. It's the wild west of bike racing!

Blue-eyed Devil said...

AK, if music helps training, and training helps racing, then music helps racing, n'est ce pas?

Oh, and you could always just hum or sing aloud during the race; depending on your vocal abilities, this may also help keep other racers at bay. ;)

Jordan Kahlenberg said...

When I was using a Power Meter during intervals, I held a higher average wattage with my iPod than without. I noticed this b/c I forgot my iPod one day and when looking at data a week later noticed the difference (it was roughly 20 watts less). It's not conclusive, but it was the only real difference on the day.

Anna said...

Thanks for contributing some real world data to our discussion. That's a significant increase in power output! I'm still wondering if it is important to train in the same kind environment you will be racing in. Kinda like how you're supposed to simulate the testing environment when studying for the GRE (or any standardized test). It's suggested that you not study with food or music because you won't have these things on test day. I'm just wondering if NOT having music could possibly dilute your peformance if you depend on it too much for inspiration. Can you (using the general "you") actually look within and find your own inspiration ...or is it dependant on the words of Iron Maiden?

Come down for a ride in the shed sometime! Welcome back to the east coast!