I must run with music. I know there are purists who swear that one should not do this, but I ignore those people because it is a completely personal decision. My mind is full of all kinds of things: Problems I am trying to solve at work, a list of the items I need to buy at the grocery store, when is the kids’ next doctor’s appointment, or whether my leg is going to fall off during the run. So many thoughts.
If I don’t listen to music, these things take over and my run is consumed by the stock ticker of mother runner issues constantly on display inside my head. My music allows me to tune out all those other things and free my mind. Is that not why we run? To feel free? I also attach music to experiences in my life. Songs bring back memories.
The method to my running playlist madness is to have one massive playlist. I add and subtract to it over time, but there are some songs that will always make the cut. Here they are:
1. What Makes You Beautiful — One Direction. It always reminds me of running the Disney Royal Family 5K with my daughter and dancing to the DJ before the race at 4 a.m. in full tutus.
2. Touch the Sky — the Brave Soundtrack. This song was playing as I ran down Main Street in Walt Disney World, toward Cinderella’s Castle, during the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Amazing memory.
3. Run Run Run — Michelle Lewis. She wrote this song for a distance running friend and allowed the Boston One Fund to use it for a video about runners training for the 2014 Boston Marathon.
4. Hard Work — 82nd Airborne Cadence. Gatorade used this song for a commercial but it is a great running tune. What is distance running but continual hard work? I love to listen to this running up hills.
5. Holding Out for a Hero — Bonnie Tyler: As a child of the 1980s, I love this song from Footloose. But I also love it because it’s used in the scene from Shrek in which Shrek is riding his horse to convince Fiona to marry him.
6. Firework — Katie Perry: This song has a great message about discovering yourself, which I have done through running. It was playing on my iPhone as I entered the football stadium at the end of the Tarheel 10 Miler, my favorite race.
7. Demons — Imagine Dragons: I run to exercise my demons and so that I don’t punch people. Seriously.
8. Feel the Tide — Mumford & Son: This is my favorite band. Most of their songs are very mellow, but this has a great banjo beat.
9. Happy — Pharrel Williams: How can you hear this song and not want to move?
10. Raise Your Glass — Pink: I just like this song. A guilty pleasure!
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