By special request from a certain cousin who’s also in search of fast-twitch muscles and motivational songs…
It’s lot easier for me to come up with the ultimate Christmas (play)list than to develop the perfect soundtrack for a run. I’ve been on the hunt for the right mix of fast-paced, fun, and motivational songs for at least four years, which has benefited iTunes greatly (which reminds me that I should probably back up those hundreds of dollars in single song purchases).
I think I’ve come to the conclusion that there isn’t one perfect mix. I end up developing a new playlist for every run I train for, and inevitably head to iTunes for yet more new songs to add to the mix. It usually helps to have a couple new ones that I can get addicted to — that seems to actually make me want to break out the iPod, and my running shoes.
So the songs I’m listing below aren’t all on my current running mix, but are songs I’ve loved to run to over the past few years for one reason or another. Please add yours in the comments, though — I have another race on Thanksgiving and could use some help getting motivated to run on a cold and potentially rainy morning!
Songs with a beat to get (or keep) you going:
- Gimme Shelter, Rolling Stones
- Lose Yourself, Eminem
- Eye of the Tiger, Survivor
- Smooth Criminal, Alien Ant Farm remix of Michael’s Jackson’s version
Songs with an inspirational and/or ass-kicking message:
- Fighter, Christina Aguilera
- Unwritten, Natasha Bedingfield
- This One’s For the Girls, Martina McBride
- Defying Gravity, Wicked soundtrack
- Gives You Hell, Glee soundtrack
Recent additions to my iPod:
- Bad Romance, Lady Gaga
- Empire State of Mind, Jay-Z
- Forever, Chris Brown (OK, yes, I know it’s Chris Brown. But it’s a good song.)
Songs that remind me of our wedding (back when I worked out on a more, um, regular basis):
- Chapel of Love, The Dixie Cups
- September, Earth, Wind and Fire
Couldn’t tell you why I like these songs, but I do:
- Teenage Dirtbag, Wheatus
- I’m Coming Out, Diana Ross
- Son of a Preacher Man, Dusty Springfield
Requisite Beyonce dance songs:
- Single Ladies
- Crazy in Love
And, of course, any running playlist should include songs that mention running:
- Ready to Run, Dixie Chicks
- Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen
An added PSA: If you are going to run outside with headphones, please keep these tips in mind: Run only on streets that are well lit, and frequented by cars/other runners and walkers. Run opposite the traffic — even if you’re running on the sidewalk. Carry ID. Let someone know your route before you leave the house. And if you’re going to run trails, leave the headphones at home. There’s no playlist that trumps safety.