The effect of music type on running perseverance and coping with effort sensations

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Objectives:To examine: (a) the effect of music type on running time and on sensations and thoughts experienced by the runners under high physical exertion, and (b) the role that music plays in the use of two distinct self-regulation techniques during high exertion, namely dissociative and motivational.Design and procedure:Three studies were conducted. In Study 1 and Study 2, performed in the laboratory, participants ran at 90% of their maximal oxygen uptake on a motorized treadmill four times, once each with rock, dance, and inspirational music, and once without attending to music. Ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) and heart rate (HR) were monitored during the run, and discomfort symptoms and music-specific questions were examined. In Study 3, performed in the field, participants ran a hilly course eight times, four under a competitive-pair condition, and four under a single-mode condition. Running time was the dependent variable.Results:Music failed to influence HR, RPE, and sensations of exertion in the three studies. However, about 30% of the participants indicated that the music helped them at the beginning of the run. The participants stated that music both directed their attention to the music and motivated them to continue. Despite the heavy workload reported by the runners, running with music was perceived as beneficial by many.Conclusions:People engaged in high intensity running may benefit from listening to music, but may not increase their ability to sustain that effort longer than they could without music. Further research that incorporates personal music type and rhythm preferences should be carried out in order to advance this line of inquiry.

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