Could it be that listening to music during training is Gebrselassie’s secret weapon? New research suggests listening to music while exercising increases endurance by 15%. I think the only questionable thing is that there is no ‘may increase’ or ‘up to’ surrounding the ’15%’ claim. 15% would mean Gebrselassie could run the Marathon in about 1:46 if he was listening to the right music, which is obviously ridiculous. I suggest if the real benefit was in fact 15% then athletes would have developed all kinds of illegal audio listening devises that sit in their ears during competition.
Is it currently against the rules to listen to music while competing? It is in some events, yes – for example USA TF sanctioned events listening devices are baned for safety reasons.
The motivation music gives is something Nike and iPod have been aware of for a while. For stationary equipment I think these type of products (that play music relative to the tempo/intensity) are great.
I would never listen to music while riding a bike on public streets myself. Running is a little different. On quiet, long, safe, wide footpaths or track I don’t see the problem. The real benefit music gives is in extra motivation on one of those days when you don’t feel like pushing yourself to the required intensity on the treadmill or stationary bike.