Running isn’t something that comes naturally to me – I have to work at it and fight my natural tendency to be lazy. There are three main things that motivate me to get out there:
- The desire for sunshine and to be out on a lovely day (which makes treadmill running extra-hard)
- The knowledge that I need to exercise to get fitter and to lose some weight, especially if I don’t want to go on one of those restrictive diets
- The need to take some time out and listen to my music
I really can’t control the weather (I've tried) and the improved fitness takes care of itself once I’m out there, so the one thing I can control 100% is my music. As long as the MP3 is charged up, that’s one less thing to worry about and very often, the choice of music is what pushes me through a less-than-great run.
So what music do I listen to? I’ve written a little before about my eclectic music choices when I am running. But what does my playlist actually look like? Well, I’m actually constantly refining it and now is a good time to share what is working for me when I’m running. Bear in mind that these days I’m running short sessions of 5k or less so I don’t need hours and hours of music – back in my marathon training days I did need much longer playlists as I was out there for 3 or 4 hours at a time!
My ideal playlist will start with something funky yet easy to warm up with. Something like “One day in your life” by Anastacia or “Lady Marmalade” from Moulin Rouge is great to get me in the mood for a run. Speaking of Moulin Rouge, “Rhythm of the Night” is a great song to follow up with, as it’s up-tempo and I can’t help but run faster (but it’s not too fast for my slow pace).
As I pick up the pace I like almost anything by Cascada, like “Every time we touch” because all her music has the same beat! It may not make a great album but it means that I have around 8 songs that all are the perfect tempo to help me run fast but not too fast. For sheer fun I also like to include some music from High School Musical (1 and 2!). The tempo for some of these is a bit slow for a run but I imagine myself dancing along to the music and it makes time pass quickly.
But what about the pure Disney songs? Well, I do listen to lots of those too. My favourite running ones are “Welcome to the Magic Kingdom” (which has the lyrics “I’m walking right down the middle of Main St USA…” and it’s very easy to close my eyes and imagine I’m doing just that!), the music from California Screamin’ and the Epcot Fountain of Nations (like “Iron Will”, “Rocketeer”, “Standing in Motion” and “Surprise in the Skies”), “Just like we dreamed it” from Disneyland Paris and “I’ll make a man out of you” from Mulan. Very inspiring!
There are also a few other pop songs that always put a spring in my step, like “Outside” with George Michael, “Rock your body” by Justin, “Wannabe” from The Spice Girls and “Gold” from Spandau Ballet. I do have quite a few Gloria Estefan songs in there as well as Wham, Blue, S Club 7, Jennifer Lopez, Steps, Ricky Martin and even Barry Manilow. I’m sure I’m forgetting many others!
When the run is winding to a close there are lots of great songs I can pick for that, like “We go on” which is an Epcot song just like another great one: “Promise”. I also love to use the music from “Soarin’” because it’s inspiring and it can sometimes make me feel like I’m flying! I also like “Arthur’s Theme” – an oldie from Chris Cross and most of George Michael’s ballads while I’m cooling down and stretching.
So there you have it – a very eclectic mix of music that keeps me energized while I run and at the same time it also helps to make the session more enjoyable and fun.