Music to Run to

Every fall I get the urge to start running. I don’t say “start running again” because I never make it far enough that I’d ever consider myself a “runner” once, nevermind subsequent times, but I do enjoy the crisp fall air when the cooler temperatures are a perfect compliment to a body in motion, generating heat as it burns energy.

Considering my limited success with making it more than a few weeks into any sort of running habit, the odds are certainly against me. But this year I have two new weapons in my motivation arsenal:

1. My parents have been putting some serious work into getting healthier this past year. It’s awesome to see. Healthy eating and exercise. Who knew? My mom specifically has gone from a size 14/16 last Christmas to a size 4/6 now. And when I was there for thanksgiving, she gave me a pair of her “fat jeans” from about halfway through the journey. I can not feel okay fitting into my mom’s fat pants mom jeans. I love her, but no.

2. The Couch to 5k iPhone app.*

I’ve tried running with interval programs before, as well as with the excellent Couch to 5k podcasts. Except it never fails that I end up becoming bored or frustrated before the end of the program.

I am not good at thinking while exercising. My brain is too busy keeping me from falling down dead from exertion/exhaustion to also remember how long the intervals are supposed to be and which one I’m on. The podcasts are great for that, but they were always lacking…. something.

Turns out it was the music.

I am far from an audiophile, but I’m as susceptible as anyone to the effects music has on moods and what I’m doing. A road trip just isn’t a road trip without the original Don Henly version of “Boys of Summer” blasting as I head off at sunrise. And Neil and I will always stop whatever we’re saying or doing, smile, and start singing along to the Beach Boys, since we’ve got the happy, poppy harmonies nailed.

But I never knew what kind of music I enjoyed while running.

Turns out, it’s hard, industrial-style rock. I don’t get much into a heavy bass grove, or even the high bpm repetitive beats of techno (which are generally popular for any sort of cardio activity), but give me some hard, crashing toms and assorted chest-thumping cacophony and I’m in heaven.

My revelation came when, using a random playlist with the c25k app, my iPhone delivered up Lounge Fly by the Stone Temple Pilots. And suddenly I’m no longer on the hamster wheel in the gym (it was raining, normally I’d be outside), I’m a crazy free-runner, literally pounding the pavement in time to the smash and crash of assorted metal and drums, leaping on, over and off of tall buildings.

I was actually a bit sad when the running interval ended, because for the first time ever (running-wise anyhow) I was in the zone.

So now, of course, I’m scouring my fluff-heavy music collection for some other tunes to run to. I’ve got the entirety of the Nine Inch Nails catalog, and a bit of Kraftwerk and Joy Division, and I want to add your suggestions.

Drop a comment with your favourite industrial or post-industrial songs. Or any other music you find it inspiring to run to. Or anything else that helps you get in the groove that I can use to make it to actually running 5k by the end of the year!

*Fun disclosure thing: I bought the app and happen to like it. So I’m sharing that with you. The end.

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6 thoughts on “Music to Run to

  1. wyn

    I hope you can update or post in the future even a short list of your favourite songs that never fail you, if not for the stats boost (I get hits from people googling for running playlists), but to remember what motivated you when your tastes might shift later on to different songs.

    Here’s my list of solid favourites ( Recently, I’ve added the song that my first marathon organizers decided to play to kick off our 4-hour run: The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside”.

    Hey, great comment-love plugin–I’m going to look for that now.
    .-= wyn´s last blog ..VAFF This Year =-.

  2. Nicole

    Good for you! I totally agree that fall brings on a running vibe. That’s when a lot of marathon training programs start too, so you’ll see tons of running groups out, which is inspiring. Some things that have helped me over the years:
    1) routine – if I get into a routine in terms of times of runs and the route of the run, I find I get annoyed when that’s broken (like if I have dinner plans one night and have to skip a run, I get pissy).
    2) company – I used to think of running as “my time” and was reluctant to run with people, but when I was training for marathons two summers ago, I couldn’t have done it without the group training, and without Jen specifically. Running can be very social, I eventually found that there was a definite limit to how far I could run alone without getting bored. Luckily, I have a dog that’s always willing to keep me company on a run šŸ™‚
    3) public runs (otherwise known as races, but I refuse to race). The goal of having a public run to do is really motivating, but more than that, they’re really fun. Just the energy and atmosphere of a public run is really encouraging and it feels good to be part of the culture. And, you get cool shirts that make it look like you “run” šŸ™‚
    For the record, I’ve never been a fan of interval running. It obviously works for some people, but I find it takes too much awareness to keep starting and stopping, and that I can’t get into a rhythm. So, if you’re finding that the on/offness of intervals isn’t working for you, perhaps just try slowing your jog down and going consistently for awhile. You’ll probably surprise yourself at how long you can go.
    Have fun! I suggest Prince tunes – although they may make you dance instead of run…

  3. Darren

    I’m with you on the music. I used to listen to audio books or podcasts, but now I run to music, though it’s a different genre than you. My favourite running song these days is a classic: Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child/Slight Return”.

    Once you get done the Couch to 5K, let me recommend the app. If you pay the $10 for the pro version, you can program a fitness training session and associate it with a particular playlist. Plus it uses GPS to track distance and elevation–all very handy.
    .-= Darren´s last blog ..Five Collaboratively-Created Soup Recipes =-.

  4. airdrie

    I recently started running, and am up to 5K, three times a week or so. I love it! I agree that the music makes it possible. Once my iPod died at the beginning of a run, and I just headed home instead of finishing without the music.

    Currently I”m running to bpm (beat per minute) music strung together for running. All the music is “indie”. Check out the Jog Tunes Podcast in iTunes, or find the link here:

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