Marathon Man on music

I have been given a lot of time to think about the theme for this week’s article. Indeed, whilst running there is scarcely anything else to do. This made me realise that exercise, though ‘wonderful’, life-affirming’, and all, can in fact be very, very dull, and jogging especially lonely.

For instance, on a typical jog I usually spend around an hour along West Sands with nothing to accompany me other than my thoughts. As such I decided to buy some jogging headphones to entertain me during my hour a day of isolation. This in itself was a bit of a nightmare, especially on a student budget. In the end I just settled for a rather cheap pair of so-called ‘Radiopaqs’.

Although they’re no Skull Candy’s they just about do the job, even if the right earphone has made it its life ambition to fall out for no apparent reason several times during the jog. On the bright side, at least this gives me another thing to do whilst doing nothing
other than moving my legs over and over again.

The ability to listen to music while jogging has, rather surprisingly, provided me with a few new issues.

What should one listen to whilst jogging? At first I assumed that a mix of high energy Rage Against the Machine (RATM), Queens of the Stone Age (QOTSA) and Prodigy would be the answer.

To some extent, it worked; very few sounds can spur one on in the final few kilometres like RATM’s heavy metal crescendo in “Calm Like a Bomb”, or QOTSA’s hammering riff in “You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar But I Feel Like A Millionaire”.

However, this new injection of energy soon proved to be both a blessing and a curse: though these tunes do make you want to run at a million miles an hour, something which is highly useful in the last and hardest stretches of the jog, the rest of the time this energy boost becomes a a real issue, often spurring me on to waste all of my energy in a few ‘lightning’ sprints during the first few kilometres.

It also provides me with a far more embarrassing problem, one which I am not sure whether is caused by the good endorphins released into my brain from the exercise or my inner illusion that I am some sort of rock god. Either way, I can’t help but sing out some of the lyrics of these power anthems as I jog along.

For the most part this is ok if I’m running along a secluded West Sands. The biggest issues arise when I’m jogging through public places such as Grannie Clark’s Wynd which crosses the Old Course. Rocking out to the lyrics of ‘Killing in the Name’ as I roll past some ageing golfers focusing their mind on the next key shot is probably not what would be considered appropriate behaviour.

To tackle these problems I have altered my playlist somewhat, adding the relaxing melodies of Elbow and everyone’s favourite Californian surfer Jack Johnson. Though ‘Cocoon’ is hardly energising it does actually help me pace myself somewhat. Furthermore singing choruses such as “Where did all the good people go?” is probably more publically acceptable than Rage’s “F*** you I won’t do what I told you!”…probably.

As such I’d like to know if you suffer from any of my aforementioned problems (If not, it’s ok; you can lie to make me feel better).

Furthermore I’d love to hear any recommendations for running music from The Saint readers, either by comment on my blog online or tweet me your recommendations @saint_sport.

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