My Top 10 Running songs

I am motivated by music. Most people are, but I REALLY am. If you are with me and we are going to Les Miserables, I am going to cry ( unless they really screw it up and them I’m going to be very, very angry) If Salsa is playing, I’m going to want to dance, even tho I can’t dance salsa to save my life. I am motivated to happiness, sadness, joy, anguish, etc. I feel all the feels. So it’s no surprise that music motivates my workouts as well.

But not your music.

My music.

That’s not a slap at you. We are all different. If I have to listen to top 40 music, I get bored. Or frustrated. Or angry. Or disgusted.  We have started pumping music into my office at work. That’s an entirely different blog.

But I digress. Again.

Yes, music can carry me through a bad day at the gym. Or a rough morning after on the running trail. I create a custom playlist for most major races I run. So here, in no particular order, are my favorite 10 running songs.

10) Twenty Five Miles (Edwin Starr)

You know who Edwin Starr is. You just don’t know you do. Ever heard “War..good God ya’ll. What is it good for, absolutely nothin”. That’s Edwin Starr.  Twenty Five Miles addresses covering long distance with your feet, while giving you that Edwin Starr attitude and “Wuah” . And Edwin’s “Wuah” comes from down somewhere around his gonads. It’s the best “wuah” I’ve ever heard.

9) Freedom (Robbie Williams

Uplifting, soaring music, with Brit Pop bad boy Robbie singing “I won’t let you down, so please don’t give me up”. Freedom baby, freedom.

8) Stronger (Kelly Clarkson)

Right around mile 9 of 13, or 20 of 26, or even 2 of 3, the words “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” starts to take on a whole new meaning. Stronger? Damn right Kelly.

7) Say My Name (Florence & the Machine)

Florence seems to be half singer, half wood nymph, floating shoeless around the stage and wailing (and I mean wailing) about righteousness and truth and “ we will never be the same again …SAY MY NAME!”  It’s motivational. Trust me.

6) Wake up ( Brass Against)

This one is not crazy well known. But Brass Against does covers of metal music featuring primarily brass, and I really dig brass. And Sophia Urista’s vocals on this “Rage” cover? Damn. Girlfriend is SPEAKING!

5) Theme from Peter Gunn (Henry Mancini)

Sometime around the mid-60s. A group of musicians got together in a room and laid down the theme song of a detective series starring Craig Stevens. (I did NOT have to look that up, people)  No mixing, no sampling, no fixing in post. Just a group of kick ass musicians. It is short, cool  and makes you feel like a bad ass, even if you just got passed by the 75 year old woman who runs like a wind-up doll. And it ends with a french horn. How cool do you have to be to end a song with a french horn? Henry F-ing Mancini cool, that’s how cool.

4) It’s Raining Men ( The Weathergirls)

I don’t know why. Don’t ask me why. I’ve asked myself why a song about an endless supply of sexy men should motivate me as a runner. I don’t have an answer. But when Martha Wash starts wailing about “ God Bless Mother Nature, she’s a single woman too”. I feel her. I feel her, man.

3) Bodies (Drowning Pool)

When you put your run list together, put this song where you are going to be most tired, or discouraged, or wanting to quit. When original lead singer Dave Williams starts screaming about “ Let the Bodies hit the Floor” you’ll be like “Yeah, M-F , that’s right”. Hard, fast, metal motivation.

2) Fields of Athenry (Dropkick Murphys)

Funny. This is actually an old Irish ballad about an Irish guy getting transported on a prison ship by the British for stealing food for his starving family. But the Murphys took it WAY the other way, driving it with punk intensity. Maybe this works for me because of the Irish thing as well, but this is my list after all. You don’t like the politics, make your own list, dammit!

1) Party Train (The Gap Band)

Oh hell yeah. If you can’t groove to the Gap band, I don’t know what to do with you. 70’s funk. That syncopated beat that they had in every song they did. The “ gotta, gotta gotta gotta get on board…ness of it. For 5 minutes you are just floating along on the funk, man. Don’t miss the Party Train indeed…

OK, those are my 10. Looking at my run playlist, I could have picked another 10, probably several times over. But I’ll stick with these. What about you? Let me know what gets you up, on the road and through you long run, your short run, or anything in between.

Talk later,


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