Many studies have shown that working out to music can have a number of positive effects and help us to push ourselves further. Music is also strongly linked to personal memories and hearing certain tracks can transport us to a particular moment in time. In this occasional series of posts, I’d like to introduce some of my favourite tracks from my workout playlist and share some of the memories they have given me.
Mayhem – Imelda May
This is the first of two Imelda May tracks which have made it into my playlist. I love the upbeat tempo which keeps me going on tough runs and it’s one of those songs that just makes me smile for no particular reason. I don’t remember how I first came across it, but it’s been a constant in my playlist for some time.
Earlier this year, I discovered that Imelda May would be performing in Perth as part of the annual Southern Fried festival (a celebration of American/roots music) at the end of July. I knew right then that I HAD to get tickets, and luckily for me my sister works at the venue so she was put in charge of sorting it out. Truth be told, I was hoping she would be able to get a discount, so was thrilled when she managed to score tickets for free! It was a fantastic weekend of music and food, with this particular gig headlining on Saturday night.
The concert was fantastic – the atmosphere was electric and Imelda was in fine form. I sang along to the songs I knew, and enjoyed hearing some new songs too. But when the opening bars of Mayhem began to play, a strange thing happened.
I was transported to the streets of Paris.
Sounds weird, I know. I have no particular memory of hearing this song during any of my Paris marathon experiences, yet it immediately triggered a vivid memory of running along those wide boulevards with a smile on my face and the shouts of a supportive crowd at my side. I was flooded with the emotions of running a marathon, and despite knowing I was sitting in an auditorium in Perth, Scotland, in my mind I was immersed in the streets of Paris, France. It was the strangest thing, yet it’s exactly what I meant when I wrote the header for this post series – that music is linked to personal memories and can transport us to a particular moment in time. Until that moment, I was convinced that those examples would be ones I was much more consciously aware of – the first dance from our wedding, the moment that Gabriella Cilmi spurred me on through the wall in my first marathon, hearing the London marathon theme at the expo ahead of my first experience of that race. I had no idea that I could be so “blindsided” by a track, albeit in such a positive way. It was an unexpected, but enjoyable moment.
This particular track has been in my playlist for a while, but after that evening at the end of July when I heard it live, it’s now inextricably linked with the Paris marathon in my mind, and we all know how much that race and that city mean to me. I wonder what other memories my music may trigger in future…?
Please note that under UK Athletics rules, racing with headphones whilst on open roads is banned. If you choose to train with headphones, please be careful and make sure you are aware of your surroundings at all times.
Feel free to share your favourite workout tracks in the comments below…