After careful analysis of my many cramps, side aches, crashes, morale low’s, mood swings, mediocre results, motivation deprivation and various other technical factors, I’ve concluded that:

  • I run more often in my head than out there;
  • I run faster if I have something in the oven;
  • I run much better to music and even better to certain specific beats.

Granted, I’ve known all that instinctively for a long time; but it’s now scientifically backed up by over three years of seriousgoofy running.


Hence my recent problem: for most of those years, I have been running to the same repertoire of less than ten songs, half of which I actually use most of the time. Sure, they are pretty darn goods song and the repetition probably achieves some kind of hypnotic effect but still, I think a change is in order because as it is, simply hearing one of those tracks in a non-running environment gets my heart pumping, my forehead sweaty, my feet longing for running shoes and adrenaline shooting through me like if an invisible finish line had just materialized.

For the longest time, I had been putting off adding songs to my playlist based on the simple fact that finding tracks with an appropriate tempo within my 1500 song library was a daunting task of trial and error. The thing is, I use some tracks for warm ups and others for the two most common speeds I run at (slow and super-slow), and they each fit within their own rather narrow tempo range – 82 BPM for the slowest, 83 to 85 for the mid-speed ones and 86 to 88 for the fastest, as it turns out. It’s amazing how a change of six beats per minute can mean the difference between life and death!

Well, yesterday I found a nifty piece of software called beaTunes, which analyzes your MP3 tracks’ BPM (Beats Per Minute) and saves the resulting value in the file’s appropriate field via iTunes. I left beaTunes run overnight so I don’t know for sure, but the whole (one time) process probably took a couple of hours.

Result? I can suddenly browse through my music library, click on a column header and sort all songs by tempo! Nirvana! Not the band, the state! I now have an amazing variety of new songs to chose from and can tailor my running playlists to my needs based on the speed or rhythm I want to be running at on specific routes.

Now of course Microsoft is always behind and the Media Player which I use to upload music to my MP3 device doesn’t support the BPM field. Duh. Why would Microsoft natively support anything useful or cool? Mais qu’à cela ne tienne, iTunes does, so I made my playlist in there and then used the open source iTunes Export to turn it into a WMP-compatible list, and I was done.

The MP3 player is loaded (I refuse to run with the iPod – too bulky, too precious) and eager to get a field test. So am I. The new Asics rock. My runs are mapped over at MapMyRun. For only cramps, now, I will fight those in the hand holding the player. ;-)

[Note: this post was originally written about BMP’s but to accommodate the rigid perfectionist mind of some readers, later adjusted to BPM’s.]