The Perfect Running Playlist

"You might be a RUNNER if the only time you update your playlist is right before a BIG race."

A girlfriend of mine is training for her first 5k!!!! This is SO exciting, because it means another person might catch the running bug...or she might decide she's NEVER running again...(she'll probably do both, in a matter of moments after crossing the Finish Line:)

But she asked me a question I get asked a lot... What songs should I put on my running playlist? While this is a loaded question, as the number ONE requirement for a song is that it be a song you like, there are some general rules of thumb I like to follow. 

1. Keep Your Ears & Eyes Open - If you're anything like me, you spend an obscene amount of time in your car. When a song comes on the radio that makes you want to do an embarrassing car-dance, grab your phone (without taking your eyes off the road or hands off the wheel...just like you do when you have to hand your kiddos a snack in the backseat) and take a picture / or screenshot if you're on Spotify or Pandora or whatever new music APP I'm behind the times to discover. After you have the name, you can search for it later in iTunes (preferably while not driving.)

 I'm always finding pics like this in my Camera Roll - like little hidden gems of songs I forgot about...usually right before a marathon which is the only time I update my playlist.

I'm always finding pics like this in my Camera Roll - like little hidden gems of songs I forgot about...usually right before a marathon which is the only time I update my playlist.

2. Measure Your Cadence - Cadence is a word that actually ties music and running together. In music, cadence is a melodic or harmonic configuration of notes that creates a sense of resolution...In running, cadence is the total number of 'revolutions per minute' (RPM), or number of full cycles taken within a minute, by the pair of feet, and is used as a measure of athletic performance. There are a TON of really cool running APPS out there to help determine  and increase your cadence...But the LONG story short is, YOU WANT YOUR MUSIC TO HAVE A FAST BEAT THAT YOU CAN TRY TO MATCH WITH YOUR CADENCE. The best tool to use for this is a Metronome, which measures the Beat Per Minute of a song.

 Search the word metronome in Google and the free metronome will pop up...Find your favorite song on iTunes and listen to the free sample as you hit play on the metronome. Move the scale up or down until you find the Beats Per Minute that will get your feet moving.

Search the word metronome in Google and the free metronome will pop up...Find your favorite song on iTunes and listen to the free sample as you hit play on the metronome. Move the scale up or down until you find the Beats Per Minute that will get your feet moving.

3. THROW MY PLAYLIST OUT THE WINDOW IF IT'S NOT YOUR JAM (If it's your jam, then jam away) - I have an eclectic mix of running friends, which is why I love them! We all have different tastes and that is most evident in our playlists. I'll never forget finding my friend Carey around Mile 12 of The Flying Pig Marathon and she told me how excited she was because her favorite musical had just come on her playlist....WHAT?!???? You're listening to ShowTunes during the marathon? Now, don't get me wrong - I love Wicked & Rent just like a normal person (and I'd probably have to make an amendment to this now that Hamilton is out...I COULD run to Hamilton...) But my point is, what I like isn't necessarily going to be what you like. You have to download a few songs and see how they make you feel. You'll have songs you can listen to for five years, and you'll have songs that you know after five seconds that you need to remove them from your playlist IMMEDIATELY!

I had fun going through my Flying Pig Marathon Playlist that has evolved a lot over the last four years. I went through and picked my fav songs in a few categories. I hope you enjoy & download a few...

SONGS WITH A GOOD BEATH (150+ BPM)

  1. 15 Step - Radiohead
  2. Green Light - John Legend (John Legend, you ask? YES! John Legend!!!)
  3. Bring it Back - Shy Carter
  4. Handclap - Fitz & The Tantrums
  5. Whistle - Katy Tiz

SONGS WITH SOME IRONY (If we can't laugh at ourselves during the marathon, we're in BIG trouble!!!)

  1. 500 Miles - The Proclaimers
  2. Feels Good - Tony! Toni! Tone!
  3. How Far We've Come - Matchbox 20
  4. Go Big Or Go Home - America Authors
  5. Life is a Highway - Tom Cochrane

SONGS THAT MAKE ME FEEL LIKE I'M IN A SUBARU COMMERCIAL (or a National Park) (or Robert Redford is narrating my marathon)

  1. Hold Back the River - James Bay
  2. I Lived - One Republic
  3. Gone Gone Gone - Phillip Phillips
  4. Brand New - Ben Rector
  5. Geronimo - Sheppard