Connected: Swimming in the Sea

This article is in the SUP equipment category – an odd filing perhaps.  Surprisingly, music we listen to while we paddle has a great influence on many aspects of training and plain old positive vibes.

I go to yoga at Groove Yoga Bend where the majority of the instructors and students are in the age 30-40 range. Predictably, the music played before and during class is usually a mix of Top 40, island/ocean themed artists and great ballads. (Check out Colin Hay’s ‘Beautiful World” for example) I began to notice that I knew all the words to the Top 40 hits. At 63, it has been a lot of years since I had a teen in the house keeping me current on music. Then I realized why the tunes not only were familiar but they immediately created a very happy frame of mind.

My 10 year old granddaughter had made me a playlist during my last visit and the 90 minutes of music included most of the “yoga tunes” I recognized.  I have been playing that mix pretty much on every long distance paddle since July.  Every song reminds me of her excitement and comments as she explained why she added them. I might paddle a river in the Pacific Northwest while she goes swimming in the sea – but we are connected by music.

We’re creating a “share the stoke” playlist, tunes and why you love them – send us your favs.

My granddaughter connects with me across the miles via a shared playlist that gives me energy and smiles

For me, a great part of the playlist from my granddaughter is the connection I feel. I know how much she wants to standup paddle with me, but we live 2500 miles apart. For now she “rides the glide” across and dance floor soaring through the air in dance while Grammie surfs. We have a solid connection in both our love of graceful rhythmic movement and the music that brings a beat to the very practice that enhances our best loved athletic practices.

Candice Appleby’s got her music on at the start of the Gorge Paddle Challenge

Creating a powerful playlist for race days and getting breathing and timing steady for distance races is an art.  The right playlist gets us in the zone and then keeps us firing when the going gets grueling. In a like manner, post race music can chill us out.

Chuck Patterson chillin’ with his tunes

How do you pick what’s on your iPod or in your phone?

Have you got a favorite pair of waterproof earphones or a great case for your MP3 player?

I like to use a standard waterproof bag you can get in most marine or kayak shops. I put my phone, use Nike+ for checking distance and time, and select a playlist easily. The whole thing can be strapped to my waist or clipped to my Camelbak.

Maybe you like to go sleek, like the waterproof iPOD or Nano.

What’s in your playlist may not be as important as the tempo and the order of the music you select.

The effect of music on athletes’ emotional responses and athletic performance has received a good deal of attention from researchers. Many say that pre-performance music played at faster tempi and even at a higher volume induced more positive and aroused emotional states in athletes.

The rhythmicity of music heard is also highly motivating. A track with a strong rhythm whose tempo is similar to that of the activity we are performing can enhance sprint performance, by diverting attention towards maintenance of paddle stroke rate. While many researches say that lyrics have little impact, i find that when i am connected to a song because of an emotional connection, a great memory or an image of power and strength i simply feel like working harder or faster.

A key consequence of listening to performance music is visual imagery,or even daydreaming. Music that brings to mind performance-related images will tend to produce association and transfer. So if you have an amazing training session and can connect that to particular music, be sure to add that music to your race or future training playlist.

The pairing of a music track with extrinsic sources of emotion such as a film, artist’s video or a memorable life event is also an important consideration. Many of these connections happen unwittingly, indelibly pinning a track to a specific point or set of memories in time. Make your own heroic music video. If you have a clip of yourself performing particularly well why not have some fun by adding your own “power song” to the video clip. The surprising connection you gain to that positive music video could just add to your SUP fun! With a GoPro on your head, your chest or your board you can mix up the pace, the spirit and the images – have fun!

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