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Music Apps to Help You Run Faster And Smarter

Photo credit: iStock/Geber86

Photo credit: iStock/Geber86

As Philadelphians hit the streets in preparation for this year’s Blue Cross Broad Street Run, one thought on every runner’s mind is: how do I train more efficiently? The reality, of course, is that most people don’t have hours to log running the trails every day. So, it’s important to make each training session count. One way to do that is to change the way you listen to music during your run.

Many runners have pump-up tracks that they swear make them run faster (Kanye West’s “Stronger,” anyone?), but this approach isn’t particularly scientific. Now, app creators are bringing science to playlist creation with DJ functions that time music to your pace. Because, as it turns out, a playlist really can make you run faster — it just takes a handy algorithm.

Here are some apps to try:

RunKeeper lets you sync your music directly to the app and then assesses the tunes for mood and tempo. From there, you can select the genre and speed (think: relaxed, upbeat or intense) of the music you want to listen to while training. Your playlist will not only ensure you’re getting a fresh variety of music (no more listening to the same songs over and over), but also help you keep a consistent pace while running.

Spotify offers a similar function that creates a soundtracks for you while you run. Just pre-pick the genre you want — consisting of standard tracks or Spotify-created Running Originals. As you run, the app detects your tempo, and syncs steps per minute with beats per minute. Should you take a cool-down lap, the songs will correspondingly slow down too.

If you’re not ready to relinquish control of your playlist, consider using Nike+’s Power Song functionality. It allows you to add “power songs” to the app, which can be selected by swiping right and tapping the icon. These tunes can be used for mid-run motivation.

By aligning your running pace with music, you can potentially increase your speed. This chart by Run2Rhythm shows how many beats per minute your songs should have depending on whether you want to keep pace or increase your speed. If you decide not to use one of the aforementioned apps, you can create your own playlist using this song calculator, which will give you the beats per minute of your favorite songs. From there, you can curate your top picks into a playlist.

Of course, when you hit the racecourse, there will be live entertainment, competitive energy and crowds cheering you on, so you might want to forego headphones (plus, most races discourage them). But as far as training is concerned? Getting strategic with your playlist could pay off big come race day.

Get more information on how Independence Blue Cross can be a part of your plan for health and wellness.

Independence Blue Cross does not endorse, nor do they have any affiliation with the aforementioned companies or their apps.

Sponsor content is created for IBX by Philadelphia magazine as a marketing collaboration with IBX. This material is intended for reference and information only and should not be used in place of advice from a doctor or suitable qualified healthcare professionals.