Guilty pleasures, we all have them. These are the things we shouldn’t like, but we love to do. They are the things we do but don’t talk about to anyone. The fact is that no person my age (35 years) would ever willingly admit to my guilty pleasure, yet hundreds of thousands of people do it every day, and we all know that they do it. The reality is that both men and women of all ages do it. I think my wife even knows I’m at it but we’ve never talked about it…. but it’s time to admit that I love listening to Liveline and Joe Duffy. One of my happiest days was when I realised Joe’s programme was podcasted, I could now bring Joe on my runs with me. So I happily tug my iphone around when running alone listening to Joe. Runners use music because pre-run music better prepares them for the workout ahead; it can make them run faster and may even help them recover faster (Bigliassi et al., 2015). So when running, and listening to self-selected, motivational and stimulating music (a matter of taste), it makes running feel easier and improves the effort during the run – it makes runners work harder. So the Chariots of Fire or the Rocky theme tune may do the trick improving motivation, mood and provide distraction from the pain of a long or fast training session. But I prefer Joe!
Running used to be a simple affair, stripped down, all that was needed was a shirt, shorts and shoes. It may seem trivial, but holding your phone or iPod while running may be a dangerous habit that can lead to poor running form and increase the risk of injury. Your iPod may be giving you motivation to keep running, but it may be harmful. Running with something in your hand causes you to use body parts differently than you normally would. Proper running form starts with muscle equilibrium and even distribution of weight across the body. Holding something in the hand creates asymmetry, as you use your hand and arm differently compared to when you’re running hands-free. These asymmetrical effects lead to poor form and muscular imbalance, which make you a less efficient runner. When any equipment changes the normal muscle activation patterns of running, the risk for onset of pain or injury increases (Vincent et al., 2014). During running the integration of the arms and legs is crucial. Arm motion plays an integral role in running and suppressing it can affect the corresponding movements of the lower limbs leading to injuries (Moore, 2016; Agresta et al., 2017). Luckily I only run alone once or twice week so I rarely get to indulge in my guilty pleasure, so this has probably saved me. I swamp hands regularly which keeps me balanced, so I will still get the best of Joe without getting injured!
Agresta C, Ward CR, Wright WG & Tucker CA. (2017). The effect of unilateral arm swing motion on lower extremity running mechanics associated with injury risk. Sports Biomech, 1-10.
Bigliassi M, Leon-Dominguez U, Buzzachera CF, Barreto-Silva V & Altimari LR. (2015). How does music aid 5 km of running? J Strength Cond Res 29, 305-314.
Moore IS. (2016). Is There an Economical Running Technique? A Review of Modifiable Biomechanical Factors Affecting Running Economy. Sports Med 46, 793-807.
Vincent HK, Herman DC, Lear-Barnes L, Barnes R, Chen C, Greenberg S & Vincent KR. (2014). Setting standards for medically-based running analysis. Curr Sports Med Rep 13, 275-283.