Tag Archives: Tunes

New year, new running playlist

First, a confession. After posting photos of my carefully laid-out cold-weather running clothes yesterday morning, I experienced a sudden attack of “blah” yesterday afternoon. I realized it had been a while since I’d taken my last off day, and made an unusual move: I just stayed home and did nothing. And you know what? It was kind of glorious. But no worries: I’m getting back in the saddle for a solo run this morning.

Now. Onto the tunes. I’m working on my new perfect playlist. It’s not ready yet, but much like a favorite recipe you tinker with variations of, I’ve found some delicious new iterations of my old playlist by adding new elements to old standards. Below, I offer the ingredients I’m playing with — and humbly ask for new ideas to sweeten the next batch.

The new stuff: Intriguing suggestions that haven’t yet been approved for permanent playlist spots.

White Diamonds, Skeleton Boy and Photobooth by Friendly Fires

Too Fake and Song Away by Hockey

Graffiti Eyes by stellastarr*

Troublemaker by Weezer

The obvious stuff: These hip-hop and pop picks all seem fairly obvious to me, but they may be revolutionary to someone else. In any case, they’re what I turn to at the end of races, or during tough speed workouts. Not that I’m doing any of the latter these days, but you get the idea …

So What – P!nk

Empire State, D.O.A. – Jay Z

Going the Distance – Cake (almost anything by Cake will do)

Shake That – Eminem (ditto — I can run to almost any Eminem song. I’ve been digging A** Like That for lifting lately)

Run This Town – Jay-Z

Ain’t Nothing But a G-Thing – Snoop Dog

Fight the Power – Public Enemy

Rump Shaker – Wreckx N Effect

When Distaster Strikes – Busta Rhymes

You Can Do It (Put Your A** Into It) – Ice Cube

Kick In The Door – The Notorious B.I.G.

Bulls on Parade, Bombtrack, Killing in the Name – Rage Against the Machine

Scenario – A Tribe Called Quest

M-E-T-H-O-D Man – Wu-Tang Clan

B.O.B. – Outkast

Rosa Parks – Outkast

The stuff you may not think about: Some songs you know, but maybe didn’t think of as running songs, and songs you’ve never heard of, but will wonder how you lived without.

Percussion Gun – The White Rabbits

How You Like Me Now? – The Heavy

The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

The View – Modest Mouse

Ghetto Pop Life – Danger Mouse and Jemini

Did You See the World – Animal Collective

Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Wives – Voxtrot

Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured – Arctic Monkeys

Flathead – The Fratellis

How It Ends- DeVotchka

Walcott – Vampire Weekend

Catch 22 – Streetlight Manifesto

Vivrant Thing – A Tribe Called Quest (also good: Electric Relaxation, Award Tour)

Moving to New York – The Wombats

What else should I add to the list? Let me know by posting a comment below!

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December playlist: Carol of the Bells and other pump-up songs

Isn’t it funny the way playlists naturally evolve? Mine rotate about once a month through an organic process: I delete old songs one at a time when I get to the point that I just can’t listen to them one more time, then slowly replace them with hard-won new songs I deem worthy of running to.

I rename the playlist once a month, and usually find myself with a drastically different mix than what I started the month with.

December brings a boost in the form of the Christmas carols I add to the mix every year — kind of like the way pulling out my under-bed storage bin full of sweaters every winter makes me feel like I have a whole new winter wardrobe. That’s right — I run to Christmas carols. I’m not talking about “Silent Night” so much as “Carol of the Bells.” Get a good a capella recording of the latter, and I guarantee you’ll pick up the pace when it comes on. Vince Guaraldi’s tunes from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” are great for long runs, and almost any carol by Ella Fitzgerald will carry you through miles two and three of a mid-distance run.

Below is my carol-heavy December running playlist:

Carol of the Bells

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – Ella Fitzgerald

Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Ella Fitzgerald

Get Right Back – Army Navy (thanks to Erica from I Run For Dessert for recommending this great cover song!)

Empire State of Mind – Jay Z, feat. Alicia Keys

Ghetto Pop Life

Rosa Parks – Outkast

D.O.A. – Jay Z

Percussion Gun – The White Rabbits

How You Like Me Now? – The Heavy

So What – P!nk

Looking for more inspiration? Check out elite runner Lauren Fleshman’s playlist. This is basically a replica of my early-2008 playlist, and any runner looking to run off some emotional business should download “Maps” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It’ll make you run faster and heal your soul at the same time.

Speaking of healing, I had my first iontophoresis treatment yesterday. Iontophoresis is this nifty, non-invasive way to get inflammation to go down by using a small electrical charge to send an anti-inflammatory ointment through the skin. More details on this later in the week

What else should I add to my December playlist? Any great new finds, or classics that might be new to me?

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Perfect playlist: The Marine Corps Marathon

I’d like to start by justifying this playlist. Not everyone’s into music, and those people might have a hard time understanding why

My iPod is loaded with awesome music in preparation for the Marine Corps Marathon.

My iPod is loaded with awesome music in preparation for the Marine Corps Marathon.

an otherwise sane woman who already spends an inordinate amount of time running might waste hours poring over iTunes to create the perfect long-run mix. It’s simple: If running is how I unplug from the pressures of daily life, finding that space between the hustle and flow that leads to something like meditation, music helps me get there. And as someone who loves music to begin with, pairing a new favorite song with the rhythm of my footfalls can help me appreciate the song on a higher level than simply listening to it as background noise.

Now. When asking for new long-run-mix suggestions, it occurred to me that simply providing a playlist might not be that helpful for other runners. Running songs are so personal, and what pumps me up might leave you feeling flat and  (or offended, considering many of my pump-up songs are angry, misogynistic gangsta-rap songs that send my gender, and the human race, back a good century or so). So I’ve included my strategy for building the perfect long-run mix, in case you want to improvise and start your own.

I like to think of my races, and my playlists for them, in roughly five-mile sections (a marathon is nothing more than four easy five-milers, plus one really painful 10K, right?). I like to plan for almost 50 minutes of music for each, just to be sure I won’t run out too soon. I’ve made notes by a few selections that have special meaning to me. Others, I feel are self-explanatory (how can I NOT have “Baby Got Back” somewhere in the mix?). I even tested this on my 21-miler on Saturday to make sure it’s awesome in practice as well as in theory.

Don’t need four hours of music? Check out my previous playlists for distances ranging from a 5K to a 10-miler here.

Finally, if it seems like we share musical taste (or lack thereof), please let me know if you’ve got any other brilliant suggestions — I’m always, always looking for new additions.

START: You’re going to want catchy, mid-tempo songs that energize and excite you, but that aren’t so hard-core, you go into immediate overdrive. This is also a good spot for some slower songs that somehow make for good running tunes — I’m digging “Come to You” by Carina Round right now, after finding it on Kara Goucher’s endurance playlist (“Viva la Vida” is a Goucher pick, too), and “Punkrocker” by the Teddybears, which was recommended by a Twitter-runner-friend, Megan. In the Marine Corps Marathon, this will take me through the hills on Lee Highway, and across the Key Bridge into Georgetown.

Mudhouse – Bob Schneider — This song led my National Half Marathon playlist, and was a suggestion of my runner-friend Jim, who inspired me to run my first marathon. His story, which is almost guaranteed to make you cry, made me think back in 2007: If he’s running a marathon, what’s stopping me?

Going the Distance – Cake

The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

The View – Modest Mouse

Come to You – Carina Round

Viva la Vida – Coldplay

Let Me Go – Cake

Beautiful Day – U2

Never There – Cake

Punkrocker – The Teddy Bears

Stronger – Kanye West

Live Your Life – T.I., feat. Rihanna

Universal Mind Control – Common (another suggestion from Megan – thanks!)

SECTION TWO: Here, you want songs that encourage you to lock in the pace. I like the ones that help me channel past races, like “Here We Go Now,” which started my playlist for the Nashville Country Music Marathon in 2007, or “Award Tour,” which led my mix for my first-ever distance race, Gainesville’s Five Point of Life Half-Marathon. This section will take me through Georgetown.

Here We Go Now – Naughty By Nature

Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z, feat. Alicia Keys

Come On Eileen – Save Ferris. This song reminds me of being a high-school senior visiting Georgetown on a recruiting trip for swimming, dancing in some dive bar with the swim team, convinced I’d die if I didn’t get into the school. I didn’t get in, nor did I die, and I’m convinced that not getting in, which led to me moving across the country to attend University of Colorado, where I met my now-husband, Steve, was the best thing that ever happened to me. The dive-bar jukebox played the original version of this song. When this awesome cover comes on, I’ll simply think: Suck it, Georgetown!

Woo Ha (remix) – Busta Rhymes

Did You See the World – Animal Collective

Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Wives – Voxtrot

Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured – Arctic Monkeys

Run This Town – Jay-Z

Shake That – Eminem

Flathead – The Fratellis

What a Wonderful World – The Ramones

SECTION 3: This is typically a tough section of the race for me, and I like to pick songs that are meditative and thoughtful, that make me remember why I’m in this race to begin with. These are highly personal, and may not work for everyone. For example, “Cruel” and “Baby, You’re Amazing” are songs I ran to during Steve’s deployments. They’re not likely to pump up anyone else, but to me, they conjure a time in my life when I’d run so I could work out pain, and cry without being caught (I held the pace while bawling through these songs on many an occasion, thank you!) I pick some happy songs, too — “Brand New Colony” reminds me of my wedding. I bounce back from the heavier songs with a few that, if you don’t want to dance by the end of them, you should probably check your pulse (see “Kiss,” “Vivrant Thing.”) This section of the playlist will take me through Potomac Park, and should end when the course spits me back into downtown DC.

I Will Survive – Cake

How It Ends- DeVotchka

Cruel – Calexico

Breathe Me – Sia

Baby, You’re Amazing (live version) – Josh Kelly

Kiss – Prince

Gold Digger -Kanye West

So What – P!nk — This is a favorite of my hard-core runner-friend Sarah. I have it twice on this playlist to make sure I hear it around Hains Point (read my long-run report to find out why)

Two Step, Dave Matthews Band, Live at Red Rocks – My favorite version of my all-time favorite song!

Walcott – Vampire Weekend

B.O.B. – Outkast

Get Back – Ludacris

Catch 22 – Streetlight Manifesto

Rosa Parks – Outkast

Survivor – Destiny’s Child

When the Sun Goes Down – Arctic Monkeys

Vivrant Thing – A Tribe Called Quest

SECTION 4: I’ll be running around the National Mall here, and will likely be getting pretty tired. The serious pump-up songs start here. So do the ones that make me laugh, like “Baby Got Back.”

Run On – Moby

Make Her Say – Kid Cudi

Get High Tonight – Busta Rhymes

Baby Got Back – Six Mix-A-Lot

Shame on a N***a – Wu-Tang Clan

D.O.A. – Jay-Z

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Dear Sergio – Catch 22

Crack a Bottle – Eminem

Fugeela – The Fugees

Radio Nowhere – Bruce Springsteen

How You Like Me Now? The Heavy – A suggestion from another Twitter-runner friend, Dustin. Listen to it while you’re doing speed work, and you might just PR in the mile.

Still D.R.E – Dr. Dre

END: It’s “go” time. I like to start this section with “Ain’t Nothing But a G-Thing,” because Dre says it best when he warns: “Cause you know we ’bout to rip s**t up.” Indeed.

Ain’t Nothing But a G-Thing – Snoop Dog

Fight the Power – Public Enemy

Rump Shaker – Wreckx N Effect

When Distaster Strikes – Busta Rhymes

You Can Do It (Put Your A** Into It) – Ice Cube

Kick In The Door – The Notorious B.I.G.

Bulls on Parade – Rage Against the Machine

Scenario – A Tribe Called Quest

M-E-T-H-O-D Man – Wu-Tang Clan

Moving to New York – The Wombats

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New playlist alert!

This one’s a quickie, perfect for a 5K or speed workout (plus a nice warmup ipodsong from Feist). It’s inspired by my new running companion, Eminem. Who knew misogynistic gangsta rap could be so motivational? If you’ve tried any other songs from his new album, or if you’ve found any new running songs for me to add to the mix, let me know by posting a comment. Browse my past playlists by clicking here.

I Feel It All – Feist

Live Your Life – T.I. feat. Rhianna

Lost One – Jay Z (my friend Jen got through the hills in the ZOOMA 10K by repeating the part that goes: “Sorry, I’m a champion …”)

Nothin’ But a G Thing – Snoop

Crack a Bottle – Eminem

Shake That – Eminem

Stronger – Kanye West

Other things motivating me this week:

This cool story from O magazine about why we overeat — and why breaking the habit is all about declaring a truce on ourselves.

The list of motivational tips I compiled for Examiner.com. I may have reached the end of the Internet while searching for great links, so it’s a pretty good one, if I don’t say so myself.

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Perfect Playlist: The Two-Hour Workout

Editor’s note: The Mixologist, also known as Mer, is a music nerd (with a class called World Music and Gender under her belt) who also likes working out. She used to DJ and swim competitively, and is very excited to be here.

If I can’t go for a swim, my favorite hard-core, sweat-your-face-off workout involves running for an hour, then lifting for half an hour and then capping things off with a half-hour light jog/walk. It takes about two hours and leaves me feeling like a champ even though my muscles usually end up screaming for mercy.

But two hours is a long time. (You could see a movie in two hours. You could go out to dinner. You could hit both Target and Best Buy. You get the idea.) And it takes the right mix of tunes to carry you through. When I go for this particular workout, I like a mix of rap and hip-hop (some harder stuff and some of the stuff you’ll hear on the dance floor) that segues into some rock and punk (maybe a little ska thrown in for good measure) and then caps itself off with some angry, empowered chick music. This is the latest mix that’s kept my butt in gear:

Live Your Life – T.I. feat. Rihanna

Breathe – Blu Cantrell feat. Sean Paul

Cyclone – Baby Bash feat. T-Pain

Right Round – Flo Rida

Shake That Ass – Eminem feat. Nate Dogg

Stronger – Kanye West

‘Till I Collapse – Eminem & Nate Dogg

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Gangsta’s Paradise – Coolio

Izzo (H.O.V.A.) – Jay-Z

Roll – Flo Rida feat. Sean Kingston

Heartless – Kanye West

Wavin’ Flag – K’naan

Crayons – Donna Summer feat. Ziggy Marley

Devil In A Paper Cup – Colouring Lesson

The Boxer – Carbon Leaf

Is She Really Going Out With Him – Goldfinger

Sucked Out – Superdrag

Banditos – Refreshments

Beer – Reel Big Fish

Forever Young – So They Say

Umbrella – All Time Low

Duck and Run – 3 Doors Down

Minority – Green Day

Everything I Want to Be – Save Ferris

‘Cuz I Can – P!nk

Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani

Bad Influence – P!nk

Ladykillers – Lush

The Sweet Escape – Gwen Stefani

Valerie – Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse

U+Ur Hand – P!nk

Goodbye to You – The Veronicas

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New playlist alert: Perfect 10-mile mix

Regular readers of this blog know that the perfect running playlist is a ipodlifelong, ongoing quest for me. As soon as I’ve nailed the perfect mix for a certain distance, I’m sick of half the songs on it, or I’ve moved on to a new distance goal.

Even with the right mix of songs, a race-day mix is tricky: Overestimate your goal time, and you’ll be listening to Bob Marley when you should be sprinting to the finish. Underestimate your time, and you’ll be listening to the same Tribe Called Quest song over and over. Trust me: When repeated six times, even the hardest-core gangsta rap song loses its power.

But thanks to a little bit of trial and error (otherwise known as the GW Parkway Classic Ten Miler on April 26), I ended up with the playlist to end all playlists for the 10-mile Broad Street Run on Sunday. It comprises some new songs for me, like Viva la Vida and Love Lockdown, which my girl-crush Kara Goucher allegedly likes. It also includes some songs that remind me of races where I felt fast (like, the front of the middle of the pack) and powerful — “So What” from the National Half Marathon, “Moving to New York” from the Gainesville Five Points of Life Half Marathon, my very first.

The best part: I must have skipped one song on the hour and a half playlist, because I crossed the finish line just as the closing chords of “Moving to New York” played. Amazing.

Hope the list below provides some inspiration for your own best-ever race-day playlist. What are you listening to right now? Let me know by posting a comment below. If the past is any indication, you might just introduce me to my next new favorite running song.

Mudhouse – Bob Schneider

Viva la Vida – Coldplay

Love Lockdown – Kanye West

Award Tour – Tribe Called Quest

Electric Relaxation – Tribe Called Quest

Mothers Sisters Daughters Wives -Voxtrot

Radio Nowhere – Bruce Springsteen

Beautiful Day – U2

Chelsea Dagger – Fratellis

Flathead – Fratellis

Run On – Moby

What a Wonderful World – The Ramones

Dear Sergio – Catch 22

So What – Pink

Fugeela – The Fugees

How It Ends – DeVotchka

You Can Do It (Put Your A** Into It) – Ice Cube

So What – Pink (Yeah, it’s on here twice. So what?)

Rump Shaker – Wreckx N Effect

METHOD Man – WuTang Clan

Vivrant Thing – Tribe Called Quest

Scenario – Tribe Called Quest

Moving To New York – The Wombats

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Mastering mapmyrun.com

Ever since discovering mapmyrun.com a couple years ago, I’ve regularly relied on the wide variety of highly localized routes it has to offer.

I haven’t exactly been paying it forward, though. I mostly pawn off others’ hard work, copying carefully measured routes without actually contributing anything myself.

To be fair, I tried. But I’m kind of grandma-ish about new tech tools, and the drawing function completely stumped me. I sat at my laptop, cursing as I somehow traced the same route four times before finally giving up.

After a longish run on Saturday I was desperate to find out the distance of, I decided to grit my teeth and try again. I’m proud to announce that I’m not so grandma-ish after all: I succeeded in mapping a run! The Woodland-Highland-Sligo Creek Trail 10-miler is a longer version of one of our standard Pacers runs, but I really think the four-ish miles on Sligo Creek Trail add something to the hill loop through northern Silver Spring. The other extra mile comes from starting at my front door, which may or may not be of interest to a general audience.

I didn’t find a magic trick that made route-tracing easier; I’ve gotta believe this just comes with practice. If you’ve got any tips to offer, let me know by posting a comment below.

What did I listen to on this 10-miler? A brand-new playlist inspired by Kara Goucher, my fellow University of Colorado grad and girl crush. Goucher shared her pump-up songs with Runner’s World this month, and the first five songs on the playlist below are hers:

Numb & Encore – Jay Z and Linkin Park

Viva la Vida – Coldplay

Mercy – Duffy

Love Lockdown – Kanye West

Gies you hell – The All-American Rejects

Nuthin’ but a “G” thang – Dr. Dre

Shimmy Shimmy Ya – Ol’ Dirty Bastard

The Watcher – Dr. Dre

Get Back – Ludacris

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