If you’ve read our book or spent much time on this site, you know I love my music when I run. Seriously, gals, there are some mornings a new playlist is my main motivator to get out the door; my pavement-pounding session is often the only time during my day I can listen to my music. It can be tough to listen to the tunes I want: I can’t let the kids get schooled by Flo Rida and Snoop Dog in the minivan carpool, and while I write, I need quiet to concentrate.
I take pride in some carefully crafted playlists I’ve posted on our site, such as Carpoolin’ Fools (for a half-marathon) and Marathon PR. Here are some playlist pointers if you’re looking to put together tunes to help you through an upcoming race.
-Don’t wait until the last minute (unless you’re reading this post at 11:36 p.m. the night before your big event!). Making a playlist is a great way to productively use the “extra” time you have during your taper, rather than pacing with nervous energy. I usually compile a playlist on Monday or Tuesday before the race, then I have time to make some tweaks if I remember a “must-hear” song. That said…
-Don’t play your playlist into the ground before the race. I love having a fresh, never-played playlist to crack open on race day morning. Sure, I’ve heard all the songs before, but never compiled in the same way.
-Put some new favorites on it. Get suggestions from friends, Facebook pals, Twitter peeps, iTunes store, and my favorite source, Entertainment Weekly magazine. I stay true to my race-genre—pop and dance music—but I like to throw a few surprises into a mix. Like when our AMR intern turned me on to Jessie J.’s “Price Tag” right before a half-marathon last April—it put a huge spring in my step around Mile 10 when it rotated on.
-Contemplate the order—or disorder. I’m all about hearing the songs in the order I place them: I start out with slower tunes, then have them amp up as the race goes on. If P!nk started encouraging me to raise my glass at Mile 2, I might come up empty at Mile 11. But maybe you prefer the element of surprise. Either way, make sure you have the “shuffle” feature on your iPod set to whichever setting you prefer. I nearly tripped in a pothole in first mile of a marathon, trying to turn off the shuffle feature.
-Share your playlist with your running pals. That Carpoolin’ Fools playlist? I made it for Molly and me to listen to as I pulled her to her half-marathon PR last April. And I made BFF Half when I ran 13.1 in Philly last November with my, you guessed it, bestest bud, Courtenay. We kept volume low enough so we could hear each other shout encouragement or ask a question, but loud enough to keep us hustling.
What songs are in heavy rotation on your playlist? These days I’m loving “Lost in My Mind” by The Head and the Heart for the early stages of a race, then groovin’ to David Guetta’s “Little Bad Girl” when I shift into fifth gear.