CF Reviews

Excruciatingly Honest Opinions About Health and Fitness Products.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Hella Sound Running Music


So what is Hella Sound?

It's a new company that produces original music designed for running. They've just released the first 30 minute song, "How To Turn Around a Bad Day," and they're hard at work on more to be released soon. (The download sells for $5, although if you are a Cranky Fitness reader you can get it for just $4. Or perhaps you can win one for free! (See below).

What's cool about Hella Sound songs?

Here's some product info straight from the source:

  • Because the songs are 30 minutes long, you don't need to assemble a whole playlist for your run
  • Each song is available in 10 versions to accommodate runners' stride rates: 140, 145, 150, 155, 160, 165, 170, 175, 180, 185
  • The tempo is consistent throughout, so it's perfect for long runs
  • They have several methods to identify the right song version based on stride rate
  • The music is extensively road tested to make sure it feels good to run to
  • It's original music played on real instruments--not the typical boil-in-a-bag techno remix stuff


The first song has already gotten great reviews--even one from Nitmos at Feet Meets Street, who is a very reliable source about All Things Running (even though he does apparently pal around with folks from the National Consortium of Kitten Drowners.)

Here's a quote from Nitmos:

"When the tune came on, I used it as a chance to remind myself to relax, loosen up, let the music turn your legs and focus in on my breathing and stride. I did find myself being carried down the road on a tidal wave of sound. I didn’t expect this. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about the concept at first but I DID match my stride to the song beat and just go with the flow!"

Now I wasn't skeptical about the concept--I know I like running to the beat of music paced for my tempo. But what I was more worried about: would I like the music? I know from reading other people's playlists that there a humongous difference in what people like to listen to; and I figured there was a good chance I'd have to wait until there were more songs available to find one I liked.

But I found I really enjoyed running to this first one! It's instrumental, so there are no lyrics to analyze and criticize, which I often do with pop music because I'm a neurotic freak. The song has a good beat which helps motivation, but it's also complex and intricate enough not to get boring over time. And the fact that the "song" unfolds over a half hour allows for themes to recur. This cohesiveness allowed me to get more "trancey" during my run than I would with a playlist full of different tunes that come and go.

The one downside (for me)? In keeping with title "How to turn around a bad day," the song has four major sections: "You're Starting Off Tense," "You're Warmed Up," "Time To Have Fun," and "Blast to the Finish." And parts of the beginning section--"You're starting off tense" do sound a bit jangly. Some people will probably love that but the sharper edgier sounds weren't really my favorite. But the music soon smoothed out and I found it very invigorating. It's great to run to a beat that keeps you moving!

(FYI: the man behind Hella Sound, John Frenette, is a very cool guy, and has been a good friend to Cranky Fitness. And he's got some great articles you can check out over at his blog at the Hella Sound site. Also, to quote Nitmos again, (because Nitmos always cracks me up): "Where else can you get 30 quality minutes of running music for less than a Wendy’s #1 without onion, regular size? C’mon, help out the small, entrepreneurial start up!")


How To Win a Free 30 minute Download:

Since downloads happen magically on the web and not via postal delivery, anyone from any country can enter! Just leave a comment explaining why you would like to have something new to listen to while you are exercising. Two winners will be chosen by the Random Number Generator. A third winner will be chosen by me based on mysterious criteria known only to myself! (But there's a good chance it will involve a comment that makes me laugh).

Please leave a comment by Tuesday, May 5th; winners announced sometime the next day on Wednesday May 6th. Winners need to claim their download by sending an email with your email address to Crabby McSlacker at Gmail dot com by midnight Saturday May 9th.

Also, for those who don't win, you can still save a buck if you want to download the song. Just go to the product page, add the song to your cart, and enter the promotional code: CRANKTASTIC.

UPDATE! WINNERS HAVE BEEN DECLARED! Go to the winner post over at the regular Cranky Fitness. Thanks for playing!

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  • I could really use new music because I get bored easily.

  • Wow, my odds are looking unusually good to win this one! Now I just have to figure out how to hack into your page and edit the link on the original page that reminds readers to post HERE in order to be entered to win, muahahaha.

    In Chi Running, the author recommends running with a metronome to learn to increase your stride rate. I just laughed at that. But this looks like a cool way to actually speed things up, and one that won't be reminiscent of piano lessons.

  • i just got myu ipod stolen and need a little luck :(

  • Interesting about the Chi Running thing, thf! And yeah, this is quite a bit more fun than a metronome.

    Sorry happybunny to hear about the stolen iPod, that sucks!

  • I'm excited to hear this. I'm all about workout music and always looking for new workout playlists for the website.

  • This sounds so freakin cool! I am participating in the Nike Woman's Half Marathon this coming October and I have been trying to get a compilation of ass kicking jams on my ipod. HellaSound music would fit right into my "I need music so I can make it 13.1" plan!!! :-)

  • that is the coolest!! I'd love to win :) I LOVE my tiny little pink mp3 player but it would be even more awesome with that on it :)

  • You've piqued my interest! I *must* have music to run. But I also tend to have a wide assortment because I get bored easily. That means my beats are never right. I want to win and give this a go. Maybe it will solve all my running problems. : )

    said bdaiss on May 1, 2009 at 7:25 AM
  • I desperately need some new music. I sapped mine all up with my last race.

  • Every time I put new music on the ipod, it moves me faster. I get inspired to run harder, farther, and it helps keep me from clock watching.

    I would love to try something that's time to my stride. I've been timing the music to my target heart rate, never thought about timing it to my stride!

  • I get BORED with the same-old, same-old.

    I often work out to TED talks via podcast - but, only some of them inspire me.

  • I need something to get my jiggly butt movin! Most of my music is chill...which is great for studying, but not so much when you want to get your grove on.

  • I could always use new music, I'm sick of the same ol' running-mix-on-shuffle that I use now.

  • I would cherish the new tunes because "Staying Alive" by the BeeGees sucks so bad I want to cry. no motivation there. Yes, I'd really like to win this.

  • Cool! I currently don't listen to music when I'm running, but I'd like to start, because it sure gets me going in spin class (even though the lyrics make me blush like mad).

  • Umm, pick me!

    I desperately need some decently-paced music to run to. I infinitley prefer running to music that makes me move, but my attempt at putting together a playlist was BAD. I think I made it to last around an hour, but I end up skipping all but two of the songs. Which doesn't work out so well.

    So I tried timing my treadmilling to coincide with shows that I'm addicted to. And while the occassional commercial had a song that made me run, the over-all result was bad. It's hard to run when you're watching a show full of people eating or sitting around drinking cocktails. (And I ran the risk of killing the guys who got there before me a tuned it to poker tournaments... being on ESPN does not make it a sport!)

    And then there was a period of listening to books on ipod. Only, once my heart rate reaches a certain point, it's hard to concentrate on the finer points of the differences between agape and eros love, and people look at you funny when you suddenly burst out laughing or crying on the treadmill. Or anywhere in the gym, really. And it is hard to run while sobbing. (I think that's why when women do it in the movies, they end up collapsed in a puddle either from confusion or because they tripped over themselves.)

    So please, help a treadmill-challenged girl out!

  • It took me forever to put together some music to WALK to (no running here). I've been whining about it for over a year now...but TADA--my daughter put a list together, a couple of which I like (David Bowie), and by accident I have discovered I like to work out to Fred Astaire (not my daughter's suggestion). The Piccolino is the perfect brisk walk tempo, and it's campy funny.

  • I love loud music in the background when I work out - it covers the squeaks, groans and complaints. I sure wish someone would lube their equipment. And stop complaining.

    said Anonymous on May 1, 2009 at 11:14 AM
  • I need this because otherwise my husband will load up my ipod(he's the techie type you know) and he thinks it is H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S to put on "fun" songs that will bug me ie"Girl you are a woman now" by Gary Pucket. You see(hear) the problem. Please help (or if not please contribute to the Nima's in a mumu because she can't excercise to Gary Puckett fund)Thanks

  • I'd love to have some new beats to run to, but I'll be away when the draw is made so I'll keep my name out...as knowing my luck I would actually win but not be around tto claim it :) I'm looking for some new music...I"m sort of wearing out what I have and need somethign new...

    Good music MAKES a workout for me...techno and good psytrance get me moving. I've got a lot of 40 minute DJ mixes on my iPod, but having a consistent beat for an entire workout would be really great...I'm definitely checking these gusy out :)

  • I definitely could use some new music for when I'm on the elliptical.

  • I would love to try hella sound running music...

    I have tried "pod runner" before, and even though I have tried a bunch of different songs and BPM I really never could get past the techno thumpety thump... it always made me think I should be jiggling around with a glow stick instead of running down the sidewalk.

    Of course, I also hope to be up and running again post injury on 5/12, and this would be new and awesome inspiration to get away from the crossfitters for a bit and run!

  • i NEEEEEDDDD new music because both my husband and youngest son are musicians, and i'm sick of their music!!!!!!

  • I would love to try some music like this!

    Now, I just have to figure out my stride rate.....

  • That's my basic complaint about running to music., It's not at the right tempo. This sounds like the perfect solution! Woo Hoo!

  • I would love to try this out because I'm too lazy to put together a really good playlist for exercising. If I throw in a song that's too slow, I slow down, too, making my workout lame. So, please save me from lame workouts!

  • ... because I sat down to read the blog and the first thing I saw was the ad to "Run to the Beat!" and I thought "Why would I want to do that?" and then I saw the post.

    Also because those of us forbidden by our docs to Run to the Beat because of bad knees, who must Stationery Bike/Elliptical to the Beat instead, are slacking on the requisite cardio b/c our current songs are looking at us like they will slap us if we try to play them one more time.

  • Cool! I would love to win some free tunes! When I lift weights on my own (sans video), I hit shuffle on my mp3 player and get all kinds of crazy songs, at all different tempos. I may have to download one of these if I don't win. :)

  • So, I'm music obsessed. My ipod has so much variety and extremes, it probably makes people questions if I have MPD or something
    Anyways, lately I've been trying to walk/run every Friday. And I have yet to make a 'running playlist', and it's annoying when you have to stop running just to change a song or something
    So, I'd love to listen to this, and try it out next time I'm out
    KawaiiNeko2008 at aol dot com

    said Valerie on May 1, 2009 at 9:57 PM
  • Thanks for the info about the neat product!

    Chronic pelvic pain has messed up my running schedule (and enjoyment) for about a year and I've been trying to get back into a routine that feels healthy. New music specifically designed for running is a motivator I could really use to inspire when I'm feeling discouraged.

  • I would love to try this. I usually listen to books while I run and it doesn't help improve my pace at all!

    cammi99

    said Anonymous on May 2, 2009 at 1:02 PM
  • Interesting thought, and probably better than trying to bribe one of the class instructors at the gym to slip me one of their workout CDs. (How do you bribe a skinny woman who teaches five cardio classes a day without even breathing noticably on the microphone? Most of my bribe thoughts tend to run along the lines of food - chocolate, homemade bagels, etc. Imagine that.)

    I've noticed that I can find a song that sounds really good and would theoretically make me feel pumped, but they all end up absurdly slow. The last attempt to find decent music was some of the opening and closing songs from my favorite anime, which were good...but if it's got words, I want to sing along (even if only in my head, but I do sometimes mouth along in the gym, I must admit), and the Japanese isn't really working for that. I also think if I do mouth along I look a bit more special than usual trying to mouth along with it.

    So yup, that's it. Save me from being kicked out of the gym by bringing the step instructor brownies. :)

  • I have to run with music otherwise I go insane with boredom and have odd thoughts of taking up sumo wrestling or yoga instead. So please enter me or I might have to dig out my old Huey Lewis & the News tapes...I'd much rather run to this new music...I'm intrigued.
    Lisa

  • As much as I do toil with going for a quick run every time I feel my overtly sedentary body needs to get moving, I rarely ever enjoy it because I don't have good running music, and street sounds suck.

    Plus this looks pretty cooool.

  • Fun. I'm working at increasing my foot turnover and consistent music would sure help.

  • I am bored with my music, and this sounds really cool. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Music? Did someone say music?

  • I just got an ipod and could definitely use some new music to put in it! As a former fitness instructor, I can totally relate to the motivational power of music!

  • Hmmm, a non-intelligent, non-thinking, vacation for my brain while my legs do all the work? Sign me up!

  • I "discovered" Hella Sound just yesterday. For 3-4 years, I've thought that somebody ought to figure out a way to put out music for runners that would help with pacing or with stride rate. Hella Sound has done it and I'd like to try it.

  • Yes please! I'd love some new music.

  • I am musically incompetent so it takes me longer than most to come up with a music list to work out to and I tend to fail at it. So it would be really helpful for me!

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