Fitness Technology

I Tried a Music App That Adapted to My Run Speed, and I’ve Never Clocked Quicker Miles

Rachel Lapidos

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One of the best parts of a run is when the beat of the music drops at just the right moment as you’re conquering a sprint. The result is an explosion of feel-good chemicals in the body and the brain that I like to call a “brain orgasm.” Out now, the Weav Run app, an audio technology that is able to match your music to your movement throughout your entire run, makes getting that feels-so-good runner’s high even easier.

Weav Music, the original innovation, is the first technology that can change the tempo of a song—any song—without changing the quality of it. Helmed by Lars Rasmussen, one of the lead engineers of Google Maps, and Elomida Visviki, a marketing pro, Weav is meant to make the act of listening to music more immersive and engaging, which has major fitness applications. “There’s this relationship between endorphins and being in sync with music,” says Rasmussen. “With Weav, we create that all of the time automatically, where before, you had to be very skilled and lucky to find the right music for running.” Music is not created at a tempo to match your running pace, so being able to alter it to literally match your footsteps can boost your performance on a number of levels.

With the launch of the Weav Run app, you can stream audio runs that feature a trainer guiding you along with a playlist of your choice (you can pick any genre or artist), all of which adapt to your steps. “You get triple energy, from your trainer’s voice encouraging you, the energy from the tempo of the song increasing, plus you get the energy of the chorus, which all align perfectly to your run,” says Rasmussen. The science behind the benefits is legit. “Research in synchronicity and sports has shown that for the reasonably active person, you see a 10 to 15 percent improvement in performance in terms of how long you’re running or how fast you run,” he says. “And they’ve measured that the brain starts producing endorphins when we move in sync with the beat of the music. There’s a reason that every culture in human history has music as a core part of their culture—it feels good, and it works really well when you’re running.”

“The brain starts producing endorphins when we move in sync with the beat of the music.” —Lars Rasmussen

When I lace up for my first Weav run, I choose to have the music match my stride rather than be a fixed tempo (the latter of which encourages you to match that rhythm, rather than have the rhythm match you). After queueing up hip-hop music, I was off with my instructor Kelly Roberts coaching me through a warm-up. As soon as I hit my first interval and picked up my pace, the music magically sped up—without sounding odd or like Alvin and the Chipmunks. It encouraged me to stick with that cadence throughout the sprint. Then it returned to the slower tempo the moment I began walking to catch my breath. “Great job! Your pace was 7:48,” Roberts exclaimed at the end of the interval, which she continued to do throughout the run—something that motivated me to keep beating my pace each time.

My run times were better than they had been in recent months. As someone who already believes in the power of having a solid playlist for my workouts, the adaptive technology of Weav really appeals to me. That “brain orgasm,” or runner’s high, is not something I often get in each run. But with Weav Run, I could feel the surge of energy that traveled from my ears down to my feet, making me feel like I was flying.

“If you go out dancing, you’re having a great time. You don’t think that you’re exercising because you’re having so much fun, but you are exhausting yourself,” says Visviki. “You don’t get more energy from music, but your perception of how hard you’re working goes way down because of the endorphins flooding your brain.” If the mere change in tempo of the music played during your workout can make exercise more fun, all while boosting your performance, here’s hoping it’s about to become more of a thing.

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