UK-based sports pyschologist Costas Karageorghis says that listening to music while running may not only improve their outlook on exercise, but even improve endurance levels by more than 15 percent. He is about to publish his findings in the US Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, detailing how he found that when listening to tracks from Madonna to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, most runners found the exercise more pleasurable than usual, even those on the verge of collapsing on the treadmill. In general, they ran further and for longer.
"Think of music as a legal drug," Karageorghis explains, "It reduces the perception of effort by blocking fatigue-related messages to the brain. It elevates positive aspects of mood, like vigour and excitement, and reduces negative aspects, like depression, and this creates the right sporting mindset."
Writer/runner Claire Soares has a good article about meeting the author, and even running in one of his races. Check it out here.
I know I like to get my tunes on during those long runs. Right now "Thunderstruck" from AC/DC is my #1 tune for the week. Perhaps it's because the beats per minute is fairly close to my heart rate, as Karageorghis suggests.