Running with Music & Hella Sound Review

I used to always run with music. I didn’t know how to run without it. I remember my first group run with TNT and no one had music. My first thoughts, WTF? We talk the whole time? Seriously? How do you talk when you run? I quickly learned the reasoning behind it-get to know your TEAM, listen to your body, and for the other obvious, safety.

I ran my first (and soon to be second) marathon with no music. My last 1/2 marathon the same- no music because I ended up running with a group (all of my others I did listen to my ipod-maybe not the whole race, but parts of it). My Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday runs are always with a group from TNT and again, no music. But Tuesdays? MUSIC. Tuesday is usually my only run alone (at least when I am training with TNT) and is usually speed work or a hill workout. I usually listen to my ipod with a random playlist. Really random. It ranges from Band of Horses, Kings of Leon, Zack Brown Band, Journey, Black Eyed Peas, Usher, etc. Random hot mess. At least according to Hella Sound.
Let me say, the creator, John Frenette is a genius. Why didn’t I think of this?

Hella Sound, LLC was founded in 2007 by John Frenette, a musician and hobbyist runner who loves running to music but was frustrated with the choices available.

Hella Sound’s Mission is to provide the styles of music we like to run to—hard-rock, metal, indie/alternative, etc—in a format perfectly suited to running. 30-minute song lengths, pace-centric rhythms and driving riffs are the hallmark of what we do.

Some of the music has built in tempo and a coach (like what I purchased) or you can customize your selection to have just music that has set the tempo to your stride rate. You can read how it works here and here.

How did I find this and what did I buy, you ask?
I saw my friend Bonnie talking about Hella Sound on twitter so I checked out the site and started following him. A few weeks later…first purchase. I wanted to start with something basic and something I was working on. Speed work. And Hella Sound had a solution: Lactate Repeats: All my Everything. 36 minutes of work, coaching from Jeff Kline, and music.
The Review:
I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I first played the music I thought it was a little odd. I’m obviously used to head bobbing up and down and singing along down the street to my regular pop, rap, rock eclectic mix. Hella Sound is literally music (by that I mean no singing).
Coach Jeff comes on in the beginning and explains a 10 minute warm-up. Easy running music, keeps you pumped and feeling good. After 10 minutes he comes back on and explains what’s next-20 30 second repeats at 20 seconds faster than your 5K speed. 30 seconds later he is back on telling you to recover, and how to do it. I kinda missed the first one and realized the “beat guy” in the background explains it to you. He says (for each one) “Here it comes, here it comes, get ready now” over and over again until the music speeds up-letting you know to sprint. The music slows back down for the next 30 seconds and the “beat guy” lets you know again its “#19, get ready now.” This goes on and on, he lets you know each count, until you are finished. Coach Jeff comes back on and reminds you to cool down for 5 minutes. Easy as that.
LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. Did I mention LOVE? I have never had speed work or 4 miles go by so quickly. I wasn’t sure I would like just running to a beat, but after listening to this, I realized my other music may actually be slowing me down. It is really cool to literally run to a beat. And I can tell you after trying this, that while you think Imma Be or Don’t Stop Believing is pumping you up and has you moving correctly, it is not. I highly recommend giving this a shot.
My plan is to try out the other coach songs as well as a music mix set to my BPM. If you don’t know your stride rate, Hella Sound will give you music to test out and see what you like; or you can do the foot strike count test. After getting to a comfortable pace, see how many times your right foot hits the ground in 60 seconds. You can then enter the number on their calculator (on their site) and it will tell you what BPM to purchase. Pretty sweet.
Peaked your interest?
Then visit and download what you would like just like you would any other type of music. 🙂
Do you tend to run with or without music? Have you tried Hella Sound?
Don’t forget to enter my giveaway!!
I purchased the music and this is my personal opinion and review.

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  • Great review. I've followed HellaSound for a while and love what John's doing, but have only downloaded a few things of his. In general, I don't like running with music, especially races, but it's great for speed workouts (when I can find a track or safe place to run). I just did the Lactate Thresholds for the first time last week – DAMN it's tough! A good tough, though!

    Anyway, another cool feature of is the playlist maker; you give it your target bpm, duration, and preferred genres and he'll build you a list of suggested songs to get that "signalong" feeling while still pushing your tempo. I think you can even buy them from iTunes right on the site.

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