Producers and engineers spend their days locked away in dark studios, hunched over DAWs and instruments, so it’s no surprise that many of them try to fend off the monotony—not to mention lethargy—by running outdoors. Everyone knows the benefits of exercise, but it places pro audio pros in a quandary: When music is your life, what music do you run to?
The benefits of choosing a specific song to run to is no secret, as a certain playlist can help you keep a specific pace, or push you through that last mile to reach your goal. For some, they rely on a playlist of songs based on BPM, which help the runner keep a steady pace on his or her run. For others, the playlist also helps as an emotional motivation, and runners will include their favorite songs to their playlist.
When club DJ Adam Riggs-Zeigen started running on his own, he realized that there was potential for a service that could offer runners pre-made playlists, and created the smartphone app ‘Rock My Run.’
“People love to run to music,” said Riggs-Zeigen. “When I put my DJ skills to work, I found the mixes much more fun to run to. They are energetic, seamless and I’m not waiting for the next song or skipping songs.”
The ‘Rock My Run’ app and coinciding website offers members a variety of pre-mixed playlists, with each offering a specific BPM and genre, so runners can choose exactly what they know they will enjoy running to. A free membership allows users to stream 45 minute mixes from their smartphone, while a premium membership offers runners longer mixes in the case they are training for a longer race.
“We have a set format that we work with and it’s really important that our mixes are designed for running,” explained Riggs-Zeigen. “We don’t directly test our mixes with runners anymore, but we spent hundreds of hours interviewing runners before we launched the app to see how music plays a role in their experience. We wanted to make sure the music comes through to meet their standards.”
Users can choose mixes based on genre, BPM, length and lyrics (in case the runner doesn’t want to hear explicit lyrics while running).
“If they (the runners) want to run a half marathon at a nine minute mile, they can put on one of our mixes and they know if they run to the beat of the mix they will reach their goal,” said Riggs-Zeigen. “Others say it is more important that songs are emotionally powerful, and that BPM is not as important. If you hear a song that has an emotional impact, that’s important. We try to appeal to both of these types.”
Riggs-Zeigen said that while he has enjoyed DJing at clubs in the past, he finds creating mixes for runners to be a much more rewarding experience.
“It’s fun to have people in a club dancing and partying (to my mixes), but it’s even more rewarding in my opinion to have someone whose life was changed because they lost 50 pounds running to your mixes. Having that effect on someone really makes you feel good,” he said.
As a runner, Riggs-Zeigen said one of his favorite moments is when he hears a song he particularly enjoys while running, which motivates him to push through the rest of his work out.
“The thing that gets me fired up is the feeling you get when a song comes up at the right time. You’re tired and fatigued from running for 10 miles, and then the right song comes on and gives you goose bumps,” Rigg-Zeigen said. He said it’s that extra push that gets him to the end of his run.
With all the new exercise technology coming out for smartphones, such as the Nike Fuel Band, which monitors your pace, how much energy you are buring, etc. and records the information into your computer, Riggs-Zeigen said he hopes to eventually sync the mixes to the ‘Rock My Run’ app to allow the music to adjust based on exactly what the runner is doing.
Since the release of ‘Rock My Run,’ Riggs-Zeigen said he has received great feedback. “We get emails every day from people thanking us for helping them achieve their goals,” he said. “We view music as a tool, and at the end of the day, it’s about enjoying activities you love.”
Rock My Run