For a couple of years I have somehow associated most long ultras with a specific music track, typically a "trendy" electronic music. Often not the music I would listen every day. Trips in Southeastern France might have influenced choices...

Amusingly, I still remember fairly well some of the titles, mainly on the first of each event type:

  • 2005: UTMB. Dancefloor FG summer 2005 album, and more particularly "What A Feeling" (Global Deejays), but also "The World Is Mine" (David Guetta Feat. JD Davis) and "I Will Be There" (Muttonheads).
  • 2008: Ironman France. Fun Club Vol. 2, Le Son Dancefloor, and more particularly "Hot Summer Night" (David Tavare), but also "Cry For You" (September) and "Sleeping Satellite" (Junior Caldera). Strangely enough, the album was actually released a month after the Ironman, but I must have heard it earlier on the radio.
  • 2010: TSQ (attempt). "I Gotta Feeling" (Black Eyes Peas).
  • 2011: TSQ (attempt). "I Gotta Feeling" (Black Eyes Peas).
  • 2012: TSQ (attempt). Potential candidate: "Louder" (DJ Fresh feat. Sian Evans).

Listening to these titles not only makes me feel good for what they are (after all, listening to music is associated with dopamine release), but also because they remind me of the feelings experienced during a race through some kind of Pavlovian association. This association is subtle, though, since I haven't actually listened to them during the ultras, but rather before, during visualisation-type training. Therefore this music might bring back equally the image I had of the ultra before running it and the ultra itself.

Now the question is: could I use the music during the run to boost myself? I know lots of people do, but mostly to combat boredom. I have tried it only once, towards the end of the second night of the UTMB 2007. The aim was to wake me up as I was struggling, but it was completely ineffective. All I could hear is extremely unpleasant noise, that stressed me out more than anything else. I dropped it after less than 10 minutes.

What's your view on that?

Ultra music