I sat down to write this post a few weeks ago and ended up writing this piece instead. Turned out I had more to say on the subject of running with music :)
I strongly believe that music can either make or break your run. The wrong song can set you up for disaster. I hate to admit it, but I’ve actually had to stop to change songs mid run. I know I should’ve just powered through, but there are some things I just can’t do (ha, I just realized that rhymes).
Anyway, I’ve developed a few rules for creating a great running playlist. These are just the rules I’ve come up with over time, so feel free to pick-and-choose which ones work for you, add in your own, or ignore them completely. I call them “rules” but really, creating a playlist should be fun, so there’s really no right and wrong.
1. Any song with “run” in the title goes on the list. It seems like this should be an obvious rule. You are creating a running playlist after all. *Note: An exception to this rule is “Charlie’s Paper Run“. I don’t really view this as a great running song (it’s mostly instrumental and a bit too scary for running).
2. No classical, country, or techno. OK, before all the Kenny Chesney fans get upset with me, let me explain this rule. Basically, you shouldn’t put anything on the list that rubs you the wrong way. You’ve got enough going on during a run that you don’t need to force yourself to listen to something that will give you a headache. Country and techno music do this to me. It’s just a personal thing that I can’t suffer through. And I thought classical music would work because there is usually a gradual build up from slow to fast that you can adjust your running speed to (as compared to a hip hop song, which is just fast and doesn’t give you a break). This is true in theory, but the downfall of classical music is that the slow gradual build up is usually so quiet that you’re basically running in silence for 5 minutes.
3. Keep song choices to about 3 minutes long. No matter how much you love a particular song, if it’s long it will get old. 3 minutes in running time is actually a long time. By the way that classical music I just mentioned sometimes lasts for 10 minutes. You can see how this could be a problem.
4. You must have at least 5 guilty pleasures. My guilty pleasures include: The Spice Girls, N*SYNC, Rammstein, Justin Bieber, and Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff“. I can’t help it, these bands/songs get me pumped up. (If you ever see me dancing while I run, it’s probably because I’m that into a particular song and for a brief second I forgot I was in public.) If it makes you happy and/or reminds you of a happy memory put it on the list. I have a bunch of songs on the list simply because they remind me of happy times (ex: “Leader of the Pack” by The Shangri-Las is such a dumb song, but it reminds me of a funny time with my mom and any Neil Young song makes me think of Paul).
5. The three R’s: run, revise, repeat. You need to hear your playlist in action a few times. I am constantly making mental notes on my runs of songs that don’t work for me anymore. After I have a list I go though and take out what doesn’t belong. I also make note of songs I hear that I think will be good running songs and add those in. Every few months I repeat the process. Your music choices change over time, so be flexible, make the necessary cuts, and add in the new stuff you love.
So, there you go. I’ve given you all the tools you need in order to make a rockin’ good running playlist. I have over 300 songs on my list, so I won’t post the whole list. It was incredibly hard to narrow it down, but I will leave you with my top 10 favorite running songs. (Sorry for including a couple German songs on the list, but they are my favorites.) What’s on your playlist?
1. Eminem – “Lose Yourself”
2. Young the Giant – “My Body”
3. Feetwood Mac – “The Chain”
4. Rammstein – “Benzin”
5. Ghostland Observatory – “Midnight Voyage”
6. Nine Inch Nails – “Everyday is Exactly the Same”
7. Tom Petty – “Runnin’ Down a Dream”
8. The Verve – “Bittersweet Symphony”
9. Peter Fox – “Alles Neu”
10. Adele – “Rolling in the Deep”
I want to go running now….