I must admit - I'm a dancer at heart. So when I hear a good tune, it usually gets me pumped. Which can be a good thing, when you're running a race. However, sometimes, if I'm in training mode, it can also mean that I get burned out before the halfway mark because I heard a good song and it got me excited and then all of a sudden my legs are pumping, my heart racing, I feel like I can fly...Till my legs give out on me and I realize darnit, I've done it again - let the music take over.
So there's a fine balance to choosing songs that will help you maintain your pace and not kick it too fast too soon on race day, but give you just the right boost at the right time when you need it.
Here's my list of songs that are always on my playlist, and that I just love to run to:
The "standing at the starting line" song: Black Eyed Peas, "I gotta feelin"
Every time I hear this song before a race or even before a tempo run, I just think to myself: "I gotta feelin' that this run's gonna be a good run...It's got the right tempo to let you start out slow enough out the starting gates but get your legs moving and the adrenaline pumping.
The "easy does it" song: Alicia Keys, "Empire State of Mind" (aka New York)
I love the piano and the beats in this tune. It's got just the right groove to keep me going at a steady pace, and for some reason I find whenever it comes on my iPod, I just feel inspired and the running feels light and easy. And yes, I do find myself singing along to it (apologies to those around me!). Good for partway through the run when you just want to maintain a steady pace.
The "I'm happy I'm running" song: Flogging Molly, "If I ever leave this world alive"
Whenever I hear this song, it reminds me of my brother, who made a playlist for me for my wedding last year. It's a great song for remembering that I'm alive, and thanking all of the friends and family who've supported me on my journey to race day. It's also got more of an upbeat tempo, so it's a good one for kickin' it.
The "extra push at around km 37" song: "Eye of the Tiger"
I know, it sounds cheesy, but believe me, it works. This is the "I'm invincible!" song. This one is good for that stage in the race where the pack has spread out, you might even be running alone (especially if you race in the Maritimes, where our numbers are a bit smaller). When this song comes on and it gives me that extra little boost I need to keep going (I recall listening to this song somewhere around km 37 of my first marathon, for instance).
The "kickin' it" song: "Sweet assed child o' mine" (DJ Donna Summer Remix)
This song...well, it just has that right mix of some cool dance beats, great tempo, and a nice guitar solo right in the middle. Maybe it's just me, but hearing it just makes me want to run, fast.
The "don't mess with me, I'm running" song: Beastie Boys, "Sabotage"
I just have to hear the opening beats of this song, and I just go...And I'm seriously "Don't mess with me!" The beat is great, the yelling into the microphone is great, and it's just a great song for giving you the extra kick in the rear to sprint it to the finish at the end of a long run.
Of course there are so many others I could list, but that's a little sample of the tunes I like to run to. What do you have on your playlist that you couldn't run without?