Music to run by

I've started running again. The NYC weather is too gorgeous, and the Hudson River running path too convenient not to. CM read somewhere that once you've built up to running about 3 miles regularly, you'll always have a base to rely on, even if you stop running for a long time. I think that must be true, because it's been months since I was running regularly and yet my body seems to remember how to do it. In the past, trying to start running after any time away has felt pretty much like death; maybe I just didn't have enough of a base.

I use the Nike+ Running app on my iPhone to track my runs. I have a running playlist filled with the usual suspects: Beyonce, Britney, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson, etc. Your basic heart-pumping dance mix. It works for me. However, since last spring the Nike people have changed around the app a bunch, and it took me a few days to figure out exactly how to use it. Which is how I ended up with my music library on Shuffle by mistake during a run last week. Meaning I ran to a soundtrack of my opera season's greatest hits.

When "Che soave fanciulla" came on, I was tempted to stop running and figure out how to get back to "All the single ladies," but then I realized that listening to Bohème was actually distracting me from the fact that I was running (which, let's be honest, is the point of listening to anything at all while working out).

One of my colleagues had a professor in grad school who said that when you're working on a play, you should read it all the time, in as many different settings as possible. Read it right before you go to sleep, read it first thing in the morning, read it at the gym, read it over lunch. That way you absorb the play, and you start seeing it differently depending on the context. Surely that's a good way to go about immersing yourself in an opera, too, and it's actually easier to do with music, since when it's on you can listen as actively or as passively as you want to.

I'm learning a lot of repertoire this year, most of it for work but some of it just because I want to know more operas. It's a busy year (have to keep reminding myself that's a GOOD thing), and my usual procrastinating ways are not going to fly. So it seems a little multi-tasking on the running trail might be just what I need. I'm not ready to give up my running playlist entirely, but once a week I think I'll try forgoing it in favor of a little opera instead.

What do you listen to while running? And how do you fit in time for studying?

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