Nervous before your race? Try Christmas music

I know the headline may seem odd, but trust me, it’s like ketchup and pizza–don’t knock it until you try it. Ultrarunner and 24-hour American record holder Nick Coury said on a recent podcast that he always listens to Christmas music before races to help him stay relaxed.

“Not many of you know this but before all my races, I listen to Christmas music,” said Coury. “I find it soothing and that it helps me feel grounded and happy.”

The ultrarunner is something of an authority on some esoteric things, like how to negative-split an ultra, something he attributes his success to being able to do. So we trust him on this.

“It stops my adrenaline from spiking or going out too fast,” said Coury. “It’s put me where I want to be for the first few kilometres of a race.”

At first, like many of you reading this, I thought it was odd. After I gave it a chance on my morning run, I couldn’t agree more. There’s something about Michael Bublé or Bing Crosby’s voice that calms your nerves and helps you feel a little more relaxed. 

Research has shown that listening to music can affect the rhythm of your stride and effort level, so it only makes sense that Christmas music would have a relaxing effect due to its slower BPM.

Coury may need to convince me a little more before I start listening to Mariah Carey at my mid-July track meet.

posted Monday November 21st
by Running Magazine