The Run Down - The RunVermont Blog

This Rookie’s Ramblings, #19: Four Hours of Music to Run With

by justin on May 18, 2012 · 32 comments

in This Rookie's Ramblings (2012)

Race day is 1 week away, wow. When thinking about what to write this week I realized there’s not much left to say on mentally preparing yourself for the race or dealing with the taper that hasn’t already been said very well by others. There’s no doubt that we’re in the ‘silly season’ of training. All the long runs are behind us, and it’s smooth sailing from here. Or to quote Coach, the hay is in the barn.

I decided to write a fun post and share with you my musical choices during training. I run with my iPhone and use it as both my GPS distance/pace tracker and my source of music. Music is obviously a very subjective topic and with that in mind bear with me as I share with you my running playlist that contains four hours of music. And at the end, I will reveal a ‘Top 15′ playlist set that you will be eligible to win via an iTunes playlist gifted by RunVermont.

First, going from my entire catalog of 2,000 songs down to 60 was no easy task and I know if I tried it 20 different times I would get 20 different lists. To me, music is very mood dependent. These aren’t my favorite 60 songs, just a solid playlist that I could rely on to carry me 26.2 miles.

I know running a sanctioned marathon with headphones is against the rules at certain races and qualifying events and I have no plans to conquer VCM with ear buds in. Additionally, the running community is divided on the performance and safety benefits of running with music. All I can tell you is on 100% of my solo VCM training runs, I listened to music.

Time to proceed to the list. I have the songs broken down by genre/era ultimately culminating in my top 15. (* disclaimer – as a child of the 80s and 90s, my music tastes are decidedly reflective of that generation)

Hair Metal/Hard Rock Catgeory

  1. AC/DC – Thunderstruck (Great intro)
  2. Anthrax – I’m the Man
  3. Bon Jovi – Bad Medicine and Blaze of Glory (Young Guns II, very underrated movie)
  4. Cinderella – Bad Seamstress Blues and Gypsy Road
  5. Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar on Me
  6. Drowning Pool – Let the Bodies Hit the Floor; best use of simple counting skills in a song.
  7. Guns N’ Roses – You Could Be Mine; great combo of a video (back when they mattered) and a movie, T2.
  8. Metallica – Hero of the Day and Sad But True; as someone who’s seen them in concert A LOT, these are two of their best live songs (along with Creeping Death).
  9. Motley Crue – Primal Scream, Anarchy in the UK and Home Sweet Home; HSH was VERY popular back in the day of the daily MTV Top 5 countdown, so much so that the video is notable for its long stay on top of the MTV daily request chart, lasting over three months until MTV invoked the unwritten “Crue Rule”, dropping videos from eligibility on their request line after thirty days.
  10. Skid Row – Slave to the Grind

Guilty Pleasure 80s Cheese Music Category

  1. Animotion – Obsession; Any song that once rose to #10 in the New Zealand pop charts is good enough for me.
  2. Nena – 99 Luftballons; good back story if you interested in subtle German protests.
  3. Survivor – No Easy Way Out; honorable mention to Burning Heart. Each song remains iconic to me for their usage in Rocky IV.

Old and New School Hip Hop Category

  1. Beastie Boys – Sabatoge and Ch-Check It Out
  2. DJ Kool – Let Me Clear My Throat
  3. Eminem – Lose Yourself
  4. The Go! Team – The Power Is On; the song behind the newish NFL Play 60 commercials.
  5. Kanye West & Jay-Z – Who Gon Stop Me Now
  6. Notorious B.I.G. – Hypnotize and Mo Money Mo Problems

Alternative Rock Category

  1. Cold – Stupid Girl
  2. Eve 6 – Think Twice
  3. Foo Fighters – Everlong (Acoustic) and Times Like These
  4. Janes Addiction – Just Because
  5. Jet – Are You Gonna Be My Girl
  6. The Killers – When You Were Young and Mr. Brightside; saw them live in Montreal a few years ago, great show.
  7. My Chemical Romance – I’m Not Okay (I Promise); very underrated song.
  8. Nine Inch Nails – Hurt
  9. OK Go – Get Over It
  10. Papa Roach – Last Resort
  11. Pearl Jam – Given to Fly; saw them in Montreal back in the fall, probably a top 3 concert experience.
  12. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Love Rollercoaster; I’ll take any opportunity to link to the Beavis and Butt-Head movie.

Easy Listening/Other (Embarrassing to Admit?) Category

  1. Ani DiFranco – You Had Time; a constant reminder about opportunities lost
  2. Anna Nalick – Breathe (2 AM)
  3. Cage the Elephant – Shake Me Down
  4. Foster the People – Pumped Up Kicks
  5. Gary Jules – Mad World; a good song for introspective thinking that occurs on solo long runs.
  6. Hans Zimmer – You’re So Cool; not a song as much as a jingle/instrumental. Was used beautifully in another underrated movie, True Romance.

Top 15 – This is the playlist you’re eligible to win. To enter please submit a comment and share with us some of your favorite songs to run to. The winner will be randomly selected from those who comment in the same manner as it normally is during RunVermont’s Giveaway Thursdays. I tried to make this a balanced and diverse playlist. To be clear, these aren’t my 15 favorite songs, or even the 15 that motivate me the most while running. But it is, at least for me, a pretty good playlist that can get me through any stretch of a run.

  1. Beastie Boys – Make Some Noise; I always refer to the intro of this song as ‘funky’, an adjective I still find apt. The song kicks in at about 1:14 of the star filled video.
  2. Blink 182 – I Miss You
  3. Cypress Hill – (Rock) Superstar
  4. Death Cab for Cutie – I Will Follow You Into the Dark
  5. Disturbed – Land of Confusion; I liked the original ’80s version of this song, but this remake is great.
  6. Dropkick Murphys – I’m Shipping Up to Boston; despite being overexposed, the song still makes me run VERY fast.
  7. Eddie Vedder – Hard Sun; probably my favorite slower song for a long run.
  8. Enimen – ‘Till I Collapse; another song that gets my feet moving.
  9. Foo Fighters – My Hero; had to include one of Foo’s songs, I’m sure Mox would agree.
  10. Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out
  11. Jay-Z & Linkin Park – Numb/ Encore; may be my #1 song to run to.
  12. The Killers – All These Things That I’ve Done; no ‘Top’ list would be complete without a Killers entry.
  13. Modest Mouse – Float On; Hey look, it’s Ryan Atwood.
  14. My Chemical Romance – Welcome to the Black Parade
  15. Pearl Jam – Unthought Known; I’m more of a beat and rhythm guy than a lyrics guy. But the lyrics of this song make me thing of unfulfilled dreams & desires, which to me represents completing VCM for the first time. This song is the perfect combination of a slow and fast song; if it could somehow be combined with Numb/Encore the result would be odd, but to me, the perfect running song.

There it is. My attempt at a solid 4-hour playlist complete with a Top 15. Comment away with your favorite running songs to be eligible to win my Top 15 gifted to you via iTunes. Or just chastise me for my taste in music, it’s all fair game.

You have until next Thursday, May 24 at 11:59pm to enter, we’ll announce the winner Friday, May 25.



{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jay May 18, 2012 at 8:50 am

Looks like a great list!

I have everything from Kesha to Drowning Pool to CCR to Breaking Benjamin and Pit Bull

2 Adam Warrington May 18, 2012 at 8:53 am

Love the Foo Fighters selection. One of my all time favorite running songs.

3 diana May 18, 2012 at 8:53 am

Justin – Thanks for some great ideas, esp the Dropkick Murphys! My 5 plus hour (because I’m slow) marathon playlist has some overlap with yours. Notably Foo Fighters, Modest Mouse & the Killers. For my solo runs I alternate betw podcasts, music, and sometimes blessed silence. Some of my current favorites are:

Adele – Rumour Has It
Aretha Franklin – Respect
Cee Lo Green – F(orget)ck You
The Clash – Revolution Rock
The Felice Brothers – Run Chicken Run
REM – Can’t Get There From Here
Led Zeppelin – Ramble On
Rodrigo y Gabriela – Juan Loco
Spoon – You got Yr. Cherry Bomb
The Ting Tings – That’s Not My Name
Dick Dale – Misirlou
Fiona Apple – Fast As You Can
Immigrant Song (Trent Reznor cover)
Florence & The Machine – Dog Days Are Over

4 T May 18, 2012 at 8:57 am

I’m not up to the full marathon yet, but this is my half marathon playlist. I think its a good combo of songs that get you moving, keep you moving, and distract you from the fact that you are moving.

AC/DC- Hells Bells
Black Eyed Peas – Let’s get it started
Beastie Boys- Sabotage
The Black Keys- Tighten Up
Far East Movement- Like a G6
Dispatch- Bulls on Parade
Jurassic 5 – What’s Golden
Metallica – Enter Sandman
Phish-6/18/94 Mind Left Body>David Bowie
OAR – Hey Girl
Bob Marley- Trench Town Rock
Mumford & Sons- Little Lion Man
Phish – 6/18/94 Tweezer
Raq – Will Run
Flo Rida- Club Can’t Handle Me
Led Zeppelin – Good Times Bad Times
Metallica- Wherever I may Roam
Michael Franti & Spearhead – Hey World (Remote Control Version)
Phish- 12/29/1997 Run like an Antelope

5 Heather May 18, 2012 at 9:00 am

Awesome List love the INTRO AC/DC classic!!! And Killers are a fave of mine.

6 Linda May 18, 2012 at 9:08 am

What a great post with great songs. I’m trying to focus on my playlist this week, too…in hopes of getting my mind out of the worries that are no longer in my control (training) and worries that never were in my control (I’m starting to stalk the weather channel app like its my job)

In addition to your songs, I’d put in some Tom Petty. I think we all have “running down a dream” on our iPods, but “big weekend” is another great one. If you don’t run, you rust!

7 Em May 18, 2012 at 9:09 am

Great list!! I love that Modest Mouse is on there!

8 Mike May 18, 2012 at 9:15 am

My play list is peppered with “jazzercise” songs because my spouse is a jazzercise instructor…but I have loaded some 80′s and 90′s into the play list. Race day I will be headphone free and listening to the spectators and the drummers.

9 JB May 18, 2012 at 9:24 am

I like to throw in a random song somewhere in the middle of my playlist; at around mile 15 when my legs were starting to hurt, I was laughing at “The Hairbrush Song”.

10 Brad May 18, 2012 at 9:31 am

No thanks on the playlist…I already have most of that on my computer already. That said, I’m so glad to see that I’m not the only one who runs to phish. Thanks T. I’ve actually put my headphones down this year…haven’t run with them in about two months…I just decided to focus on breathing, pacing and having quiet footfalls…as the result of poor pacing and past injuries. So far, it’s been a good decision. Post marathon, I’ll be loading up the ipod though!!

11 stephanie shohet May 18, 2012 at 9:44 am

My friends think I’m crazy, but I’ve always got a good audiobook playing while I run. Instead of dreading long runs, I look forward to hours of uninterrupted reading.

12 Jason C May 18, 2012 at 10:06 am

CCR’s Lodi, for some reason, always gives me a push. It came on last weekend while I was at mile 19 of my last long run, winding along that bike path that runs parallel to 189 and connects Spear to Shelburne. Sometimes music is better than Gu.

My top picks:
Paul Oakenfold – Someone Like You
Band of Horses – Funeral
Nightmares on Wax – (anything by them, really)
Gaslight Anthem – Great Expectations
Big L – No Endz, No Skinz
EMF – Unbelievable (best for hill repeats, for some reason)
Beastie Boys – Sabotage
This Will Destroy You – There Are Some Remedies Worse than the Disease
Explosions in the Sky – Your Hand in Mine
Calm Blue Sea – Literal
Dr. Dre – Nuthin’ But a G Thang

13 Lindsey May 18, 2012 at 10:20 am

I usually only listen to music on the treadmill,and I try to avoid to eadmill running as much as possible, but some of my favorites are ‘Barroom Hero”- Dropkick Murphys, “I Will Not Fall For You”- Taproot, “If I Can’t”- 50 Cent, “Dog Days Are Over”- Florence and the Machine, “Helena Beat”- Foster the People, “Shake Me Down”- Cage The Elephant, “Raise Your Glass”- Pink, and “Admit It!!! “- Say Anything, “I’m On One”- DJ Khalifa, “Can’t Get Enough”- Black Eyed Peas, “Certain Shade of Green “- Incubus,. Good luck next Weekend! It’s a great marathon to run. Wish I was doing it this year again!


14 Brian May 18, 2012 at 10:25 am

My two favorite songs to run to now are:

Young The Giant – My Body
Nine Inch Nails – Beside You In Time

both rock out with awesome cadences! Try them sometime, you’ll see what I mean.

15 Becky Adolf May 18, 2012 at 10:53 am

We have an eerily similar taste in music. A few of my fav.’s are: Janes Addiction – Mountain Song, Jimi Hendrix -Voodoo Child, and Dave Matthews – Everyday always makes me smile!

16 rachel May 18, 2012 at 11:13 am

I have a very eclectic mix but many of ours overlap.

17 Tim May 18, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Awesome on the Metallica, Anthrax, Skid Row. You’ve got to check out The Darkness, got to! My faves:
Artic Monkeys – Mardy Bum
The Bees – Chicken Payback
Belle & Sebastian – The Blues are Still Blue
Beth Orton – Central Reservation, Conceived
Bloc Party – This Modern Love
Built to Spill – Conventional Wisdom
Bright Eyes – Another Travelin’ Song
Camera Obscura – Lloyd, I’m ready to be heartbroken
The Chemical Brothers – Galvanize
Citizen Cope – Penitentiary
Cold War Kids – Saint John
The Cult – Love
The Dandy Warhols – Down like disco
The Darkness – One way ticket, Is it just me, I believe in a thing called love
Eels – Novocaine for the soul, Trouble with dreams
The Elected – The Bank and Trust
Elliot Smith – Rose Parade
Fiona Apple – Get him back
Flaming Lips – Do you realize, The WAND
Hidden Cameras – Golden streams, Ban Marriage, The Day is Dawning
The Hold Steady – Southtown Girls, Your little hoodrat friend
Hot Chip – Colours, Over & Over
Hot Hot Heat – Running out of time, Island of the honest man
Interpol – Slow hands
The Jesus and Mary Chain – Reverence
Kaiser Chiefs – Modern Way, I predict a riot
Ladytron – Sugar
Laura Veirs – Galaxies
Metallica – Master of puppets
The New Pornographers – The Laws Have Changed, Sing me Spanish techno
Nine Black Alps – Get your Guns, Shot Down
Nortec Collective – Tijuana makes me happy
Pinback – Good to sea
Shout out louds – The Comeback
Sleater-Kinney – Dig me out
Sondre Lerche – two way monologue
Spoon – Sister Jack
Strokes – You only live once
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Y control, Phenomena

18 Jason C May 18, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Can’t forget Bright Eyes’ “If the Brakeman Turns My Way,” if only for the line “I never thought of running, my feet just led the way.”

Got me through those interminable neighborhood loops of North Ave. during miles 16-22 last year.

19 Sarah Page May 18, 2012 at 12:17 pm

great post, will definitely be adding some of these to my list! Here are a few of the ones I tend to listen to over and over again for motivation:
You Be Killin Em – Fabolous
Headstrong – Trapt
More – Usher
Hot Mess – Cobra Starship
Indestructible – Disturbed
Remember the Name – Fort Minor
The Fighter – Gym Class Heros

20 Rick May 18, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Man, I’m old! I don’t recognize 2/3 of the artists on any of the lists above! So I guess that it’s a good thing that I don’t ever listen to music on a run. Instead I listen to life happening around me.

21 Kevin May 18, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Good playlist. I don’t run with headphones unless I’m on the treadmill, which is almost never. If I’m out running I’m enjoying the whole experience. Since I don’t run with music I’ve been able to hear, and then see, lots of wildlife out in Westford and Fairfax. Plus I’m able to hear when cars are coming!

22 Kim May 18, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Great songs, I need to add some more variety to mine. I love anything with a hard driving beat when I am running, although I do have a couple of more mellow ones thrown into the mix, but I often hit skip when they come on. Black Eyed Peas are my favorite running band at the moment!

23 Laurie May 18, 2012 at 9:40 pm

My Little Potato performed by Malcolm Dalglish is one of my more weird selections – it is a bouncy little tune and reminds me of my kids when they were babies which makes me smile – always a good thing when running for many hours (which is how long it will take me to finish)!

24 Helen May 19, 2012 at 7:51 pm

What an awesome response! You’ve started a major playlist sharing event! Kudos!

25 Linda May 19, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Forgot to add Jukebox Hero…gets me pumped up every time!

26 Lindsay May 21, 2012 at 10:29 am

I’m with Stephanie — on the long runs, I go for an audio book. Tina Fey’s Bossypants was killer — since Tina also reads it, I was snorting GU out my nose from laughing so hard. YA books/those with easy-to-follow plots are also good — Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game was great — something about running and sci-fi intergalactic battles seem to go hand-in-hand nicely…

27 Val May 21, 2012 at 9:32 pm

The majority of my songs right now are trendy towards chick themes, so likely not of much interest to you, but I will share anyway, since you DO have an Ani DeFranco song up there! Shake it Out by Florence & the Machine, All I Want to Do by Sugarland, Tongue Tied by Grouplove, King of Pain by the Police (good hill song) and a BUNCH of cheesy 80′s tunes. I am downloading some of yours…great post!

28 Jess May 22, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Thanks Justin! I’m always looking for new songs to keep me running. Right now I’m really in GPN, Citizen Cope, Rihanna and Timbaland. Then again, I’m lucky to get 2 miles on the treadmill before i think I’m dying! Kudos to you friend!

29 Amber May 22, 2012 at 6:41 pm

I’m working on my playlist now. I don’t know what is going to be on it yet, but I wanted to share: with everyone. It is a great website where you can plug in your pace and it populates a list of songs with the right beats per min (BPM) for your pace. You can also plug in a song and it tells you how many BPM it is and what that correlates to in regards to pace. I’m sure songs that you like and that keep you motivated are more powerful, but I figure this doesn’t hurt in keeping me going when I need the extra push.

30 TLReed May 25, 2012 at 5:34 am

Just read the article about you in the Free Press. Very impressive! I ran VCM, 2006-and feel I am living a deja vu by reading your blog. It is the most exhilerating, incredible feeling to cross that finish line…not only that day…but for the rest of your life! You will use your experience and reflect upon it at moments that will surprise you! GREAT LUCK and all the best for a fun time and awesome run on Sunday!

31 Ginny May 25, 2012 at 6:11 am

Thanks for the list!

I’m Not Okay- Absolutely my favorite running song!!!

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