I have been using Eric Orton's training plans for runners since last fall. For the first 8 week course called Strength/Endurance, he focused on keeping a steady cadence (or footfalls per minute), adjusting the stride to adjust speed. He recommended a cadence of around 21 right footfalls per 15 seconds, which works out to 84 footfalls per minute (or 84 Beats Per Minute when related to music). During Eric's course, the New York Marathon took place, and on the web forum related to the course, someone mentioned that they counted the footfalls of a couple of the elite runners, and found that the particular runner was using 84 footfalls per minute (with the stride of a gazelle, of course).
While I am not sure how Eric feels about listening to music while running, I seem to enjoy the runs more, especially the long ones, when I have music to listen to that has a driving beat, or even if it just happens to be a song that I like with a pleasant steady lyric.
While doing the Strength/Endurance class in the fall, I only listened to music during the longer runs that didn't involve running on a track, and paying close attention to cadence and speed monitoring. The current half marathon course I am doing now involves working within a specific heart rate zone (with a heart rate monitor), so I have taken to listening to music again. I don't quite know the exact correspondence to Beats per Minute (BPM) for a song and the actual running cadence one keeps to the particular song, but I am sure there is a relationship. I haven't paid a lot of attention to the BPMs of the songs I like to listen to while running, but I have a feeling they are close to 84 beats per minute.
There is so much music available now, especially with the internet being what it is, that it is hard to filter choices for current and older songs that are good for running. Some musicians seem to have more songs that I never tire of (Peter Gabriel), and some that I have listened to so many times that I just can't stand to hear them again. What I want to do with this blog is to compile readers selections of music they like to run to, offering information about BPM, and to offer a wide enough selection of musical types that would appeal to a larger range of musical tastes (there are many older classic 60s, 70s, 80s songs I know of, but not so many contemporary).
I plan on using Grooveshark to offer listens to music that is available there (I noticed there was no Peter Gabriel available). If another outlet appears, I will switch, but for now, you can easily hear single songs with just a mouse click. So here we go...