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Katherine Hopper: Pushing The Pace With Music

Katherine Hopper likes to listen to podcasts during training runs, but she always turns on the tunes for a race.

If you see me running down the street with headphones in my ears, chances are that I’m not listening to music. It’s more likely that I’m listening to a book on tape or a podcast. Podcasts are my favorite way to occupy my mind; they make the miles fly by. If I finish my run during the middle of a particularly awesome story, it makes me even more excited to get back out running the next day.

Although I don’t do it very often, there are certain times when I do enjoy listening to music while running. If I’m feeling sluggish on a run, music helps perk me up. I always listen to music when I’m racing.

Most of my running playlists are made up of high-energy electronic music, which is funny because it’s pretty much the opposite of what I listen to when I’m not running. My favorite artists to put on my playlists include Tiesto, Depeche Mode and Paul Oakenfold. When I’m hanging around at home, you’ll find me listening to something mellower, like the Grateful Dead.

My favorite way to find new running music is to look through the pre-made Spotify workout playlists. They have a huge selection of playlists that have been created by other users and you can just click through the lists and add songs to your own playlist. Some of my favorite pre-made playlists to look through include “Bollywood Workout,” “House Workout” and “Cardio.”

Some pre-made Spotify workout playlists are based on the number of beats per minute in the songs, such as “Running High Tempo 170-180.” Running at 180 steps per minute is associated with high-efficiency running, and I run faster if I listen to songs that are at 180 beats per minute. Some of my favorite songs in this range are “Lonely Boy” by the Black Keys, “My Name is Jonas” by Weezer and “Runnin’ Down a Dream” by Tom Petty.

Listening to music while racing helps me push the pace and I hope that some of these suggestions can help you as well!

For more on the Saucony 26 Strong program, which pairs up 13 coaches with 13 marathon rookies, visit 26Strong.com.