ST Run: Make training music to your ears

While there may not always be a live band during your training or race, listening to music might still help to raise your running tempo.
While there may not always be a live band during your training or race, listening to music might still help to raise your running tempo.ST FILE PHOTO

So you're Week Three into your training for The Straits Times Run. With 11 weeks of training to go, why not add music to help you.

I am often asked if I run with music. Some people feel that "elite" runners enjoy punishing our bodies and abhor all sorts of entertainment that may make our runs easier. However, fast and slow runners alike do get the same negative feelings on some runs.

Running can sometimes be mundane and painful - not something to look forward to on a lazy Sunday morning.

It's okay to "cheat" with music. I frequently do it too.


There is scientific evidence that running with music can enhance performance. The Journal of Sports Medicine Physical Fitness published a study last year which had 12 runners in three randomly assigned conditions - static noise, fast-tempo music and slow-tempo music. The participants were free to adjust the speeds of their treadmills independently.

Participants listening to fast-tempo music were found to have adjusted their treadmills to a faster speed - about 1kmh faster - than when listening to slow tempo music or static noise despite running at the same level of perceived exertion.

These results will not surprise those who run with music regularly. Getting into the rhythm with the latest hits on Kiss 92FM definitely helps my runs go by quicker!


Nowadays it is common to see runners bringing their music players to running events. In elite racing, this is not allowed as not only does it pose a safety issue, but it also affects the quality of the competition.

For The Straits Times Run and the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon however, there is no stopping you from bringing your iPod along if you are going for the finish or personal best. Of course, do follow basic running etiquette even while you're bobbing to the music.



    Inspirational. Always gets me running that last stretch faster.


    Fun song. Makes me think of my younger days.


    My wife Belinda recently recommended me this song. Been on my list since.


First of all, it is important to be aware of your surroundings either in training or racing. It is advisable to turn down your volume or use only one ear bud so that you can still hear vehicles or other runners. Latest technology allows for bone conduction music listening, ensuring that you still can hear your surroundings while listening to your favourite tunes.

Secondly, it is great that immersing yourself in the metallic bass encourages you to run faster, but bear in mind that someone else may still be faster than you.

It will be a nice gesture to keep to the left so that others can overtake you without needing to shout over your music.

Finally, do keep your headphone wires tucked in, or join in the latest trend with a pair Bluetooth headphones so that the wires will not get entangled in another runner's swinging arms in congested areas.

Personally, I like to tuck my headphone wires inside my shirt as this minimises any flapping outside or around my body.

•Is music your friend or your foe? Let me know on Instagram @mokyingren!

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 22, 2017, with the headline 'Make training music to your ears'. Print Edition | Subscribe