The Right Track

Running music Saul Ward Rohan Windrider Jacket

Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there- Will Roger

I recently signed up to the Leeds half marathon, on the 13th of May and my training has stepped up a notch, my aim for the race is hopefully to come in before the costumed runners, I hope that with a fair wind I can run faster than a man in bear suit but secretly I have my doubts..

Here is an excerpt from Haruki Murakami’s book ‘What I talk about when I talk about running’ which has given me great inspiration. Seriously if you are at all interested in running and haven’t read this book yet, don’t step away from the computer until you have bought this on Amazon or wherever.

“No matter how much long distance running might suit me, of course there are days when I feel kind of lethargic and don’t want to run. Actually it happens a lot. On days like that, I try to think of all kinds of excuses to slough it off. Once I interviewed the Olympic runner Toshikio Seko, just after he retired from running and became the manager of the S&B company team. I asked him, “Does a runner at your level ever feel like you’d rather not run today, like you don’t want to run and would rather sleep in”? He stared at me and then, in a voice that made it abundantly clear how stupid he thought the question was, replied, “Of course, all the time!””

Saul Ward Running Music Rohan Windrider Jacket

If you see me running around Harrogate or the Nidd Gorge I’ll usually have on my Windrider Jacket but I will always, always have my iPod. Having a soundtrack distracts me enough to keep me going further and sometimes just having a new album to listen to is a good enough reason to look forward to a run. Oftentimes, when training or doing solo sports other people listen to music as a motivator, dance music helps you move that little bit faster or work that bit harder. I have found whilst running listening to dance music I find myself speeding up, growing more and more exhausted. I very quickly realised that if I’m to make it around the 13 mile course of The Great North Run the last thing I need is speed. As Seb Coe puts it: “I have always felt that long, slow distance produces long, slow runners”.

Murakami advocates listening to the The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Gorillaz and oldies like Credence Clearwater Revival and The Beach boys: the beat is a good accompaniment to the rhythm of running. Wise words indeed.

Here are some pieces that I have found to be good or just interesting:

De La Soul: Are You In. 45 minutes long, a variety of paces, all slowish, a masterpiece designed for running to, every time I go out early in the morning I have this on, it’s like a clarion call to get moving  

Ghostpoet’s album, Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam was a real find, running at night in the rain with ghostpoet’s album on has truly been a highlight of this process so far

On several running websites Ludovico Einaudi has been offered up as good long distance running music, in a ‘head down and keep going’ sort of way, personally I prefer Philip Glass, maybe try Glassworks as a good introduction.

Scroobius Pip’s albums have provided a distraction recently, performance poetry with heady beats. Quite a lot of swearing though, not suitable for everyone.

The Bad Plus: Suspicious Activities, the version of Chariots of Fire is a dystopian masterpiece, it sums up many of my thoughts on running. If you only listen to one thing today, this is the one.

Please add your suggestions and we’ll have a listen!

Saul Ward – Rohan Harrogate Founder of Rohan Harrogate Lectures

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