I’m a strange one when it comes to running with music. With so many races nowadays saying a firm “no” to headphones, I trained myself to run without music so I wouldn’t struggle in events. That said, when I’m marathon training, sometimes I feel I need some good tunes to listen to, to get me though the long runs on the boring roads of Sidcup. Or when the weather is really bad and you feel the need to go to gym classes instead, playing good music can make all the difference, as outlined by Dr Costas Karageorghis, when I listened to his presentation a few weeks back.
So, what do I listen to when I feel I need some music?
1. Bat out of Hell – Meat Loaf
The album version of this is an epic 9 minutes and 47 seconds long. It’s not quite long enough for me now, but it used to be the perfect length to power me through the last mile of a long training run. My legs would be tired, my pace would be slowing and I wouldn’t want to do that last mile. Crank this up and suddenly, I could run again. The challenge was to try to beat the song on tired legs and whenever I felt myself slowing…the song would move to a powerful climax. One of my favourite tunes.
2. Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
As Christopher McDougall said, it may be the obvious choice, but it’s so damn good. “Tramps like us, baby we were born to run”. How can you not get your legs moving? Great tempo as well, not too fast or slow and perfect for tackling hills as that saxophone solo lets rip.
3. The Dog Days Are Over – Florence and the Machine
Florence rocks. She has amazing hair and an even more amazing voice. I don’t like all of her music, but this one is brilliant. A sedate pace during the verses and then a quick dash during the chorus. Ideal for tempos and the last bit of the song really helps to keep you moving. This was playing as I finished the Royal Parks Half Marathon in 2011 with an injury and I think it got me through the last half mile.
4. Run to the Hills – Iron Maiden
I listened to this during my first half marathon ever, which was VERY hilly. It made me feel like I could tackle the hills. As it happened, I wasn’t fit enough at all, but it got me running up more than I thought I would manage.
5. Through the Fire and Flames – Dragonforce
It’s pretty obvious that I’m a bit of a rock fan and this song is famous thanks to Guitar Hero. The band are known for their insane guitar solos and this is no exception. It’s long. It’s fast. You feel out of breath just listening to it. But if any song in the world is going to pace you to a fast mile, THIS is the one. But you probably don’t want to do it at the end of a long run, unless you want to fall over gasping for breath. A cracker. I also sometimes listen to this one before I bowl as well, as it can really pump me up and get the adrenaline flowing!
What are you top tunes for running?