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Danica Newon: Music Keeps Me Focused

Danica Newon uses music to stay focused and motivated when she's running, lifting weights and even doing household chores.

Music really makes me focus on what I’m doing, no matter if it’s working out, cleaning the house, working or writing. It helps me get in the right mindset and get things done faster.

That said, 90 percent of the time I run and workout at the gym with music, even when I’m running or working out with other people. I usually only keep one earbud in and one out, tucked into my shirt to be able to chat with whomever I’m with and to be aware of my surroundings. Another thing that surprises people is when I tell them that I mostly listen to Pandora while I’m running.

When I’m running, I feel like music helps keep my pace a bit faster than without music, which is a huge reason why I run with it most of the time. It’s risky running with Pandora because something I can’t seem to get in the “groove” of it playing good music and there isn’t much you can do once you reach your allotted skipped songs for the day or a commercial comes on. Sometimes Pandora can just be on, and sometimes it seems to be off.

Thankfully when I do tempos, I usually get some good songs going or sometimes, it things are looking dire, I may turn my phone to a playlist I have that has some classics including “Good Feeling” by Flo Rida, “Fire” by Joe Budden, “Move Shake Drop” by DBoyz, “International Love” by Pitbull, “I Want This Forever” by Drake, “We Run LA” by Ya Boy, “Memories” by Kid Cudi, “Still D.R.E.” by Dr. Dre, “Black Mercedes” by DJ Quik, “Let it Rock” by Lil’ Wayne, “Lemonade” by Gucci Mane and “Body Bounce” by Kardinal Offishall.

Though most of those songs are from 2006-2009, they are all perfect to get me running fast and I know if Pandora doesn’t come through, I can always just press play on that playlist and it will push me through my run. Apparently my musical taste didn’t change from my college days.

I usually listen to a few different Pandora stations. While I’m running, I tend to stick to Today’s Hits Radio, Running (Radio Mix) Radio and Today’s Hip Hop and Pop Hits Radio. When lifting weights or at the gym, I usually listen to Drop it Low Radio or What’s Your Fantasy Radio, both not safe for work, AT ALL. Those do get a little rough at times, but they have a good beat to keep things moving along. During work, I usually listen to Vitamin String Quartet Radio, Africa Radio or The Police Radio. Getting Ready music? 90’s Pop Radio, though it does get a little bit too mellow sometimes, Luke Bryan Radio, and Maroon 5 Radio.

I encourage my cadet Andi Nido to run with music but to also be aware of her surroundings. I want training to be fun for her and sometimes music can be just what you need to switch things up or motivate you on a long run.

I would also say about 85 percent of the high schoolers I coach also listen to music while they run, but I make sure to remind them constantly to always be very aware of everything going on around them, and to make eye contact with drivers when crossing the street.

I think music can help on the days when you don’t feel like you can push yourself or you really are dreading the run. It can help take your mind off of it and let you enjoy it.

For more on the Saucony 26 Strong program, which pairs up 13 coaches with 13 marathon rookies, visit