I obsessed with music playlists. I not only have a running playlist, but a running playlist for 6 miles, 8 miles and so on. I can occupy hours searching for new music to add to my running collection and I love the feeling of discovering a tune that pumps me up again and again. And, while I can geek out making playlists, creating the perfect arc of buildup, climax and cool down, it’s finding that music that truly inspires me to keep on running that gives me the most enjoyment. Finding that rousing song that makes me run through the fog even when it’s 5:30 am and the last thing I want to do is venture out into the dark — that’s the motivation for my running music.
On each of my playlists there are standout songs. There are the dramatic songs that give me the ‘soundtrack to my life’ feeling. There are the songs that make me forget I’m pounding on the pavement and instead, make me take pause to survey the amazing landscape San Francisco. There are the songs that bring out the emotion that only running can incite. And there are also the songs that, if I wasn’t jogging in the park, I’d be shaking my booty to on the dance floor. Whether you’re a rock fan, en electro junky or anything in between, here’s a small sampling (rooted in the top five/perfect mixtape principles of Rob Gordon) of what has been inspiring me through my runs as I train for my first marathon this summer.
Music to get you going at the beginning of a run:
“There, There” – Radiohead: Thom Yorke’s voice and an easy beat make for a calming way to ease into your start.
“Sunrise” – Yeasayer: Yeasayer’s percussion driven music is perfect for running, this song being especially apropos for an early morning run.
“Moth’s Wings” – Passion Pit: Some songs just make me happy to be outside; there’s no rhyme or reason to it, they just do. This is one such song. This song also makes me want to wildly wave my arms around in the air with reckless abandon.
“Dashboard” – Modest Mouse: Sometimes you’ve got to rock out.
“Ghost Under Rocks” – Ra Ra Riot: I’m a sucker for a moody cello and baseline to start out a song.
Music for zoning out/or the dance party if you weren’t running:
“Phantom Pt. I” & “Phantom Pt. II” – Justice: While this is technically two songs, the two together are perfect for any electro house/dance music fans.
“Crimewave” – Crystal Castles vs. Health: A cool remix, great for getting into a groove. Plus, vocoders are pretty neat.
“All My Friends” – LCD Soundsystem: Although this is in the “zone out” category, the lyrics of this song are worth a listen. I’ve been listening to this song for year and I always get worked up by the end of the song.
“California Soul” – Marlena Shaw & Diplo (Diplo/Mad Decent remix): A funky jam from the 60’s remixed by Philadelphia-based DJ, producer and songwriter, Diplo.
Music for pushing through hills/getting you through the end of the run:
“Rebellion (Lies)” – The Arcade Fire: I will never, ever get sick of this song and the lyric, “Sleeping is giving in, so lift those heavy eyelids.” On a long run, this is the perfect song for kicking into high gear and re-energizing.
“Cosmic Love” – Florence and the Machine: Although this song is a soaring, epic ballad, it’s always the song that makes me visualize crossing the finish line. The harp solo at the end always gets me.
“1901” – Phoenix: Yeah, you’ve heard it a million times in that one commercial. Still a great song to run to! And Phoenix has more where this one came from.
“Home” – Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros: I frequently run in Golden Gate Park and this folksy, warm and fuzzy, love-fest of a song always seems to come on as I’m running amidst a bunch of trees.
“Staring at the Sun” – TV on the Radio: Everything about this song is suited for running: the slow, minimal guitar buildup, the driving chorus, the dramatic drop at the end… Perfect.
The majority of these songs can be found on my SF Marathon Blog iMix. Enjoy!