On ipods and unexpected motivation

The only time I really listen to music is when I am running. Sometimes I’ll mosy on over to grooveshark when I have a moment to write at home, but that is pretty rare. When Rob bought me an ipod for my birthday several years ago, (one of his not-so-subtle encouragements to run) I thought I would never use it. At home, my ears are one of my most valuable mommy assets. If I’m blaring Adele while doing the dishes (oh how I wish!), then how could I determine whether or not to run when I hear a crash from the other room? (post-crash hysterical screaming = run, otherwise you’re good) Or worse, how would I hear that suspicious silence that tells me I’d better go see what’s afoot and quick? That kind of quiet in a house with four kids is never good. So nope, doesn’t get used at home. But it has become an essential in my running regime, and I never leave home in my Asics without it.

But making a playlist for it at first was kind of baffling. The music that I normally loved just wasn’t that great for running. Turns out that The Beatles can’t really throw down the kind of beat necessary to motivate me as my legs scream for mercy out on the trails. And some songs that I would have never listened to in my real life, actually are great to run to. I have been surprised by which songs motivate me. And since I am always looking for new music to run to, I thought I would share some of my playlist with you. And maybe, if you are nice, you will share your favorite running songs in the comments for me. Here is a sampling for you…

Songs that never ever get skipped:

Viva la Vida by Coldplay – because it is the best song ever. EVER. If this is not on your ipod, go put it on there right now.

Human by The Killers – I listened to this song like 17 times when I ran my first 5K, so it is tied emotionally to running for me. It has this great build that gets me going every time.

I Feel it All by Feist – Try thinking about your aching body parts as you sing “I feel it all, I feel it all” over and over again. It is strangely soothing. Plus it’s just a really great song.

Songs that make me run faster:

Mr. Brightside by The Killers – if you are sensitive to racy lyrics, you might not like this one. But the tempo is great for increasing my pace.

Dog Days are Over by Florence and The Machine – when Ms. Florence tells me to “Run fast for your mother and fast for your father, Run for your children for your sisters and brothers,” I have no choice but to obey.

Perfect by Pink (I have the clean version, pay attention when purchasing if you are concerned about such things) – Believe it or not, I have several songs by Pink on my ipod. I can’t explain it, but she pumps me up.

Songs I don’t like in real life, but somehow transform into the best song ever when running:

The Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga – There are just way too many, “tonight, yeah baby”s for my liking. But as a running song? It’s perfect.

The Middle by Jimmy Eat World – Normally the lyrics of this song drive me crazy. It’s like a whole list of cliches about believing in yourself all strung together. But I saw that Lance Armstrong had it on his playlist, and he’s a pretty decent athlete, so I thought I’d try it. And wa-lah! It works.

Songs that put me in a better mood when I don’t want to run:

Merry, Happy by Kate Nash – Do you like British accents and lyrics about checking out bums? Me, too.

Birdhouse in Your Soul by They Might Be Giants – because whose mood doesn’t improve after listening to They Might Be Giants?

So, what are some of your favorite running songs? I want to know. One time I listened to Shakira’s Whenever, Wherever 4 times in a row to get me through the end of a run. And we didn’t even talk about all the Kelly Clarkson that may or may not be on my ipod. So, fess up.  I’m sure nothing on your ipod is quite as embarrassing.

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