Running with Music


Running With Music 75I personally go as far as reviewing the course and arrange for certain songs to pop up at specific points when I definitely know I will need them.

I’m a runner. I’m pretty serious about my running actually. I’m not fast nor do I strive to beat those damn Kenyans in a marathon, but it’s all about the endurance and seeing how far I can actually go, which in fact is actually pretty damn far. I’ve run four marathons in the last five years, and I’m currently working on training for a fifth one, which will be the second for 2013 if I actually run one! I might just do the training. My last marathon was the infamous Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge, which is the half marathon, and the next day you run the full marathon. Like I said, I’m serious about my running. One thing that immensely helps me through the hours upon miles of running is a good running mix. Every year I actually stress over this. I really do, no joke. In fact, for my last race, I stressed so much that I created four playlists, as I wasn’t sure what I wanted and chose the one that felt right at 5:30 a.m. in thick humidity and heat of Central Florida during an unseasonably warm day.

There is something very magical about a really well thought out running playlist. If you are at a point in your run and you are just absolutely gassed and that one song comes on your pace does pick up, and you are able to make it through to the end. Adrenaline is a great thing. Or several songs like that in fact. Sometimes I don’t even go off a mix, I would just pick a band and hit random on their albums. That is kind of a lazy way of doing it, but sometimes it’s ok, especially if you are up at 4:30 a.m. and just can’t think past putting your shoes on, and if it’s someone like Hüsker Dü or anything Bob Mould has touched.

If you are building a playlist just for “normal” running and you are not training for a race, go with songs that get your blood pumping or motivate you to keep moving. It doesn’t have to be thrash metal where you are running for fear of your life. Anything works as long as it is what you feel. It doesn’t hurt to have a slower song in there as long as it is one that you like and you can draw energy from it. Now, for a longer playlist where you are training for a half or a full, it’s pretty much the same, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to strategically place those power songs here and there. By a power song I mean a song that is guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping, motivate you, and get your ass in gear.

When I build my really long run playlists or my marathon lists, I personally go as far as reviewing the course and arrange for certain songs to pop up at specific points when I definitely know I will need them. I know my pace, and I know almost to the minute where I will be. Most normal people don’t go that far, but believe me it really does help if you can do that. If the course outlines there will be some hills at one point, I make sure that there is something that will get me going just a little bit harder to make it up the hills. I make sure the back half of a long list is loaded with power songs. Load it up with more up-tempo tracks. Sometimes that song can be something just really up-tempo, sometimes it’s the really strong lyrical content, and others it’s just balls to the wall thrash groove metal. I have found that a good mix of different genres helps to. I will have Holy Fuck mixed with Pantera mixed with White Stripes mixed with Mates of State mixed with the Ramones and so on and so forth. Whatever floats your boat really; it is your mix so put what will get you movin,’ and keep at it. Change your list up every so often. Or hit random sometimes.

Listed are some of my playlists that I built specifically for running that I’ve put together in Spotify. Feel free to follow them if you like, or use them as inspiration to build your own. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that you need to be extra cautious on the roadways when wearing headphones. You are the only person looking out for you, so be careful. Turn the volume down just a smidge so you can hear sirens and horns. Be mindful of your other runners too. Run defensively. | Mike Koehler

2013 Marathon Playlist

2013 Marathon Britpop Playlist

Power Run 2013

Marathon Mix

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