Getting in tune with running

It’s the time of year students dread: fitness testing.

Twice a year, students are led out to the field to perform a variety of tests, including curl-ups, push-ups, stretching the and pacer. But the one that’s particularly loathed is the timed mile run.

More and more students are discovering an easy way to make the mile more bearable—music.

It’s always a daunting scene—kids straggle across the turf, feverishly discussing the pros and cons of going in the first or second group. The athletes of the group stretch effortlessly, but the majority stare in dismayed anticipation at the chalky, red track coiling around the field. But a lucky few, the ones who didn’t forget their headphones, pop in their music and are immediately put at ease.

“I love listening to music when I run,” Sammi Kurtz ’15 said. “It helps distract me.”

Nick Greene ’16 echoed her opinion, saying, “It gives me motivation to run faster.”

Clearly students agree that music helps—but is it all in their heads? Apparently not.

According to Costas Karageorghis, a doctor at Brunel University who specializes in sport psychology, claims that listening to music while running can increase performance by up to 15 percent.

The Connecticut State Department of Education requires gym teachers to follow the regulations in a 42-page booklet when administering the fitness test.  However, in all those pages, there’s no mention of listening to music while running the mile.

Janet Zamary, a physical education teacher, said, “Technically, since it’s a standardized test, everything should be the same—that would mean everyone takes it on the same day, same time, same weather.”

But, she adds, “different beats and cadences could help motivate students.”

So really, she says, “it’s whatever works for that particular student.”

For any student whose staring in horror at that red track—remembering headphones might just make all the difference.