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The Power of a Playlist

First of all, I want to thank you for all your sweet comments and support about my race.  Your comments seriously made my day!!

Secondly, if you’ve noticed, my posting has been even more irregular this week than normal. The reason for this is that I’m actually going through a big transition at the moment, and things have been a bit crazy as I prepare. I know that sounds mysterious (maybe my intention!), but I’m just not sure how much I want to talk about this on the blog quite yet.  No, this does not mean that I’m getting married, or having a baby…or running off to join the circus!  But it does mean that I’m taking a little break from blogging/blog reading this week.  I’ve still been trying to follow all of your blogs as best as I can, but if you don’t see me around as much this week, that’s why.

So for now, I will leave you with a slightly less than substantial post that should’ve been short and sweet…yet I’ve somehow managed to make long…

The Power of a Playlist

The right playlist has the power to transform your workout.  Music can inspire you to push harder, run faster, and workout longer than you might have been able to otherwise.  The trick to this is finding the songs that work best to motivate you. There has been a lot written about the exact tempo, cadence, etc most likely to get you moving, but when it comes down to it, everyone has their own taste in music.  The songs that make me want to run faster might make you want to cringe and plug your ears.

That being said, sometimes it’s good to branch out and try new forms of music while you’re working out.  Even if you think your “music palette” is pretty refined, you might be surprised how fun a little pop tune makes your workout.  As an example, way back when A Knight’s Tale came out (Heath Ledger’s true masterpiece ;)), the soundtrack was one of my favorite CDs to listen to in my discman while I ran.  Classic rock isn’t something I listen to on a daily basis, but the songs  on that CD were really fun to run to!

Personally, I love making playlists.  I love finding a collection of songs, putting them in the “right” order, and making sure they flow together.  There’s no real scientific method to how I do it, I  mostly just go by how it feels.

However, there are a few guidelines that I follow whenever I make a new playlist for an important run.  The list below includes the 5 key things that I include on every workout mix.

The 5 Key Ingredients to The Perfect Playlist

  1. “Hanging By A Moment” by Lifehouse. This song has started every single running playlist that I’ve ever listened to before/during races since I first heard it during my sophomore year in high school.  Jason Wade (the lead singer) and I have been through a lot together — high school drama meets, college races, 5Ks, qualifying for and running Boston, and most recently: a half marathon.  Whenever this song starts playing, my body automatically shifts into running mode.  I’m convinced that no playlist is truly complete without it.
  2. A mixture of songs.  Don’t just stick with one artist or one type of song…it gets boring, especially when you’re running for a long time.  I put some songs on a playlist for their fast tempo or good beat (“Replay” — Iyaz, “In My Head” — Jason Derulo, “Break Your Heart” — Taio Cruz), others for their lyrics (“Marching On” — Timbaland, “Stop and Stare” — One Republic, “Show Me What I’m Looking For” — Carolina Liar), and still others for their angsty melody that pulls on my heart strings (“Love Left to Lose” — Sons of Sylvia).  I then sprinkle in a few favorites (Lifehouse, Temper Trap and Vega4) and voila! a playlist is born.
  3. Separate out each “type” of song and artist throughout the list, so that one section isn’t just hip hop, the next rock, the next a bunch of angsty tunes.  The goal is to switch it up to keep your mind on its toes!
  4. Make the playlist longer than what you think you’ll need.  I do this for two reasons: a.) in case I end up hating certain songs while I’m running and want to skip them, and b.) in case something goes wrong during the race and I end up running longer than expected.
  5. Do not underestimate the power of boy bands.  Seriously, how can you hear a little BSB and NOT want to sing along??  (ok, maybe I’m just showing my age here).  And Justin Bieber may only be 12 years old, but when it comes to love (or at least catchy pop tunes), he definitely knows what’s up!

So, without further ado, here is the list that got me through my Half Marathon on Sunday.  You might think my musical tastes are akin to a 13 year old (no comment), but I’m telling you, this thing helped me sing my way through 13.1 miles.

Prov Half-Mary Playlist — 35 song; 2.2 hours

Prov Half Mary Playlists

I’ll be back to more regular posting next week.  In the meantime, I leave you with this little face.


DSC_0100I think he’s convinced that he’s a horse. He won’t stop grazing!

DSC_0101Not exactly the most motivated creature.  He’d rather lie in the grass all day then actually walk.

25 Responses to The Power of a Playlist

  1. “Don’t underestimate the power of boy bands” <– SO true lol. I've def. got some N'Sync on my ipod 😀

    Thanks for the playlist! I'm always on the lookout for new songs
    .-= Danielle (Coffee Run)´s last blog ..Things I’ve learned today… =-.

    • Love your post and just added you as a favorite! For my playlists, I can’t go without Frou-Frou Breathe; Kanye Stronger; Take Me Home Tonight- 80s song can’t remember who sings it!; and so many others. Love what you put about always starting with Lifehouse, I try to start all of mine with Frou-Frou!
      I am following the Hal Higdons plan- I was doing the Half Marathon plan but stopped at 10 miles. I need to start it up again, it is just so hot this time of year in Charleston so will need to be some indoor running. Have you followed Hal? Do you think this is a good way to go?
      Looking forward to staying in touch– I can already tell i will LOVE following your posts!
      .-= Madeleine´s last blog ..Atlanta Bread Company & a New Look! =-.

  2. Hey sista! Hope everything is going well with your mysterious mission!! 😉 Awwww…such a cute mini horse dog!
    .-= Lindsay´s last blog ..Cinco de Mayo with Ice Snow Cones =-.

  3. those are all great songs! uve got good taste in music!

    i always need music when i run.. otherwise my mind wanders and i cant stay motivated.

    have a beautiful day!

  4. Love these tips, especially that last one! :)
    .-= Katie @ Health for the Whole Self´s last blog ..Ode to Sandwiches =-.

  5. AWWHH at the dog!! TOO CUTE!
    Great playlist…bar Justin Bieber!? NOO!! Just plain wrong 😛

    • Hahaha don’t hate on JBiebs!! I never said he was an artist…but he’s a great addition to any running mix 😉

  6. I hope everything is going well with you; I’ll miss your posts! And I am completely with you on the J Bieber thing. He’s a child phenom, no doubt about it. =P “Break Your Heart” is another one of my faves.. oh and I love how your playlists always begin the same! For my half-marathon training I ALWAYS started with a Train song. Your dog is insanely cute by the way!

  7. Quite frankly I probably couldn’t even name you 1/2 the songs on my playlist, but if there’s one thing I hate for sure is when the i-pod get stuck in a “one-genre” type of songs (although I always put it on shuffle) so I agree: separate out types of songs! Although I have lost my i-pod… so for the last 3 weeks I’ve been doing without 😉
    Is this a puppy Boxer??? He’s adorable!

  8. This is so great to read because I have been in SUCH a music rut recently while running and cross training. I actually do listen to classic rock a lot because I was raised on it but it never really feels right while running (with the exception of a few songs). I always do speedwork with that song Run by Air. It is pretty weird and intense but it works…I get fast. I listen to a lot of eclectic stuff like Empire of the sun, MGMT, fleet foxes, M.I.A., Passion Pit, Santigold (heard a lot of this at the Lollapalooza festival but it is upbeat and that is what tends to work with me). Ok, now it’s time to save your playlist! I wish I had a starting song…I need to get on that!
    .-= Claire´s last blog ..why “we blog” =-.

  9. I give myself a free pass when it comes to my running music! I just downloaded the newest New Pornographers (very respectable), but my shuffle also contains stuff I normally wouldn’t be caught dead listening to (Black Eyed Peas, Pussycat Dolls, etc)!

  10. Oh my goodness, what a cutie!! I’m guessing he doesn’t go with you on runs 😉

    Thanks for the playlist! I have to admit, I’m REALLY boring when I run – I either listen to podcasts, or to the same music over and over. I really need to switch it up, so I should take some of your suggestions. Oh, and I NEVER underestimate the power of boybands! A little NSync or BSB will take you far. We definitely grew up at the same time 😉

  11. You cannot stop blogging! I look forward to reading your blog every day. Can you share with us a great core workout that might include weights, and give you not only a wonderful core workout but actually has cardio benefits built in? I heard you have a terrific one, please post it so I can start getting my core strong! Thanks and good luck!!

  12. I used to listen to Jock Jams non stop when I would run back in the day! now I’m more of a yoga girl : )
    .-= Jocelyn @ Peace.Love.Nutrition´s last blog ..Meditation =-.

  13. I haven’t updated my playlist in ages. I need to do that. Recently I’ve been listening to a book on my ipod and it’s been awesome to just tune out + I can’t wait to go for a run so I find out what happens next :)
    Not particularly good for speed work though but I’m into “just running” lately vs. “running fast.”
    Good luck with your transition thing. 😉

    • Oh, yeah….that definitely makes a run more relaxing and fun! :) I haven’t tried listening to a book on my ipod in a really long time though — I think I’m going to have to download one ASAP!

  14. So forgive me for being a complete rebel, but I never run with music. It’s partly because I can’t mentally focus on working hard with cords dangling out of my ears and something fragile attached to my arm; the other part is -I think – simply because I prefer the sound of my own heart beating and the steady rhythm of my breath. It’s kind of like running raw. *Shivers with glee* I guess maybe one day things might change – but they haven’t since I was 13! :)

    Best wishes for whatever transition you’re going through –


    • You’re forgiven. :) I think it’s great that you enjoy running without music. There is definitely something freeing about running with just the sound of your breathing and footsteps to listen to. And I actually do enjoy unplugging once in awhile. But…I can’t make it through long runs without my tunes!

  15. btw thank you so much for that comment on my blogging breakfdown post. i totally know 100% what u meant about anxiety. that the only thing about blogging that bugs me if i let it get to me. anxiety is so horrible! oh my and yes if i see my reader built up and im pressed for time i feel this horrible stress and if i try to do something else i can just picture more blog updates piling up! lol… not cool…

  16. LOL. I can not run to boy bands or hip hop. It usually has to be some early 2000s or late 1990s pop punk. And, the power of shuffle is amazing. Even if I’ve ordered the list a certain way and listened to the same songs thousands of times, when it’s shuffled and arranged in a different pattern, it makes a world of difference.

    You should email Lifehouse and tell them how much they’ve changed your life. Maybe they’ll give you free concert tickets or something :)
    .-= Jess´s last blog ..Day 99: Then and Now =-.

  17. My “playlist” suggested by Sarah is NPR podcasts; I especially love The Diane Rehm Show and Fresh Air. The podcasts have replaced my prior favorite activity while running: listening to books on tape.

  18. Maizey eats grass too…then pukes it up. :)
    .-= Teri [a foodie stays fit]´s last blog ..Guest Post: The Food Safety Problem =-.

  19. David Archuleta has a great voice but i do think that it is not the best voice“;

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