Runner Tip #3 - How to select the right song list
When I first started running in college on the treadmills at Lantz (EIU is awesome!) I ran with a portable cd player and a mix cd I made from illegally downloaded songs! And that was in the year 2003! We've come a long way in our technology, especially in our devices that are super small and super convenient to run with! That said, I've had a Nike running device and 2 iPod's since then but any mp3 player works great. There frankly is no rhyme or reason to selecting music to exercise to but here is what I do....
First, in iTunes, I create a new playlist and label it, "Running 1" or "Indy Mini Mix" if I have a big race coming up. Then I scroll down through all of my music. You should really do this when you have 10-20 minutes. I sometimes sample them to see if they get me going at all. Some are fast songs and some are slow. If they are inspirational to me at all or have a good running beat to them, I drag them over to my playlist.
Now, let's say I'm done and have about 25-35 songs in my playlist (which is frankly a lot...I'm very picky). I then sample the beginning and ending of songs to see which ones I want in what order. This may be a little anal for some of you, but honestly, that's how they put recording artist's albums together. It does have a purpose. Music should flow from one song to the next....especially when you are running! If not, I find it jarring and I almost always skip the song when I end up running to it.
The type of music is also very important. I know someone who only listens to slow, mellow Christian music when he runs. That's great, but I need a little umph (sp?) once in a while. I have another friend who listens to sermons and various podcasts when he runs. Boring for me, but works great for him. Run to whatever gets you in the mood to run. There are some songs that come on, that I will hit repeat on 3-4 times during a run, because on that particular day, that song just has "it". I tend to be very eclectic in my running mix music.
Here is what is on my playlist right now and what I used for the Indy Half Marathon:
1 Chariots of Fire theme song - great for a beginning of any race
2. Pump It Up - don't know the artist but it's sort of a techno song (probably not the 90's song you are thinking of though)
3. Barefoot Blue Jean Night - Jake Owen - just a fun song
4. The Way - Jeremy Camp - when this song came on during the race, I ran to it 4-5 times because it had such amazing lyrics
5. Airplanes - B.o.B - sort of weird transition because this song has some cuss words in it but it is still a good fast paced song.
6. Christ is Risen - Matt Mahar
7. Happy Day - Tim Hughes
8. Separate Ways - Journey - great and a long song which helps to pass time
9. Jesus Paid It All - Kristian Stanfill
10. Forever Reign - Shane and Shane
11. Umbrella - Rihanna - guilty pleasure!
12. Your Grace is Enough - Matt Mahar
13. 4 Minutes to Save the World - Madonna ft. Justin Timberlake
14. Gone in 60 Seconds - Moby
15. I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) - Steven Curtis Chapman
16. I Can Transform Ya - Chris Brown
17. In My Head - Jason Derulo
18. The Stand - Hillsong United
19. Baba O Riley - The Who - oldie but a goodie
20. Living on a Prayer - Bon Jovi
21. Salvation is Here - Hillsong United
22. How He Loves - David Crowder Band
If you know any of these songs, I can tell you I'm really into a repeating anthem that builds. For instance, Jesus Paid It All, "Oh praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead." That phrase is mighty and it repeats and builds over and over. Another one from Christs is Risen is "Oh death where is your sting? Oh hell, where is your victory? Oh church, come stand in the light. Our God is not dead, he's Alive! He's alive!"
Some of favorite Christian artists right now are: Matt Mahar, Hillsong United, Shane and Shane, Francesca Battistelli, The Afters, and Chris Tomlin. But I very much need some pop/rap songs in there for the beat. It's funny because sometimes I need a boost and other times I can forever to songs like How He Loves which has parts that are slow.
My advice is to pick what you like, can sing along to, and works for you. Afterall, you are the one it's for. If you are into podcasts, do that. If rap is your thing, put that on your mix! Run to what you like and make sure it flows so it's not just a mix of random stuff.
Hope this helps and happy running!