This week's guest post is by Brenda Power, founder of Choice Literacy
Thanks for sharing your story with us!
It’s been exactly one year since I started training for a 5K. I was inspired by Franki Sibberson’s commitment and discipline. I’ve done three 5Ks since then, and I’ll be trying my first 10K in August. This is after years of many sporadic and unsuccessful attempts to exercise.
When I think about what keeps me going, it’s one thing. The desire to get healthy? Nope – of course I’d love to be healthier, but that never fully catapulted me off the couch before. Vanity? Sure, I have plenty of that. But Vanity + No Discipline does not a runner make.
The thing that keeps me going is music! Here in Maine jogging outside is impossible for 4-5 months of the year because of snow, ice, and finally mud season (no kidding – in early April the mud gets so thick up here on the dirt road I live on that I have sunk up to my ankles). What relieves the boredom of the treadmill is some great tunes – to rev me up, take me back to happier times, or help me imagine a healthier, happier me.
It turns out I’m not alone in relying on music to keep me going. In the March 2013 issue of Scientific American (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=psychology-workout-music), researchers verified that exercising to music helps athletes overcome fatigue and work a little harder:
The human body is constantly monitoring itself. After a certain period of exercise—the exact duration varies from person to person—physical fatigue begins to set in. The body recognizes signs of extreme exertion—rising levels of lactate in the muscles, a thrumming heart, increased sweat production—and decides it needs a break. Music competes with this physiological feedback for the brain's conscious attention. Similarly, music often changes people's perception of their own effort throughout a workout: it seems easier to run those 10 miles or complete a few extra biceps curls when Beyoncé or Eminem is right there with you.
I know when I am struggling to keep running, the right upbeat tune makes me jog for just a few minutes longer. Some songs take me back to happy times; others help me imagine months ahead when I’ll be healthier and have more energy because I’m exercising now.
When I’m getting bored with jogging, just putting together a new playlist of songs can get me excited again for the day’s workout. Finding new songs to add to playlists was a problem for many months. I’d scramble for a scrap of paper and pen to jot down songs that might work when I’d hear them on the radio. Googling “playlists for running” made me realize yet again how old I am – most of the playlists come from a younger generation that thrives on exercising to hip-hop or heavy metal head banging stuff. That’s not me.
I finally found jog.fm a few months ago, and my search is over for running tunes to sample and add to my playlists. jog.fm is a site where runners share their lists, and even better, the songs are all listed by beats per minute/pace. So if you are looking for songs to fit your pace as a runner (or a pace you aspire to), you can search by beats alone. A great bonus feature at the site is their mapping app – the best one I’ve found on the web for charting out routes from your home and calculating mileage. I live two miles down a dirt road in the middle of nowhere rural Maine, and my home often doesn’t show up accurately with maps on the web. But the one at jog.fm is dead-on accurate, and it’s fun to calculate new routes without having to drive them first.
Here are some of my favorite songs for playlists with the categories that work for me:
- Let the River Run - Carly Simon
- Dog Days Are Over - Florence + The Machine
- Stronger - Kelly Clarkson
- Hair - Lady Gaga
- Some Nights - fun.
- The Edge of Glory - Lady Gaga
- Train in Vain - The Clash
- I Will Wait - Mumford& Sons
- Feel Again - OneRepublic
- Everybody Talks - Neon Trees
- Blow Me One Last Kiss - Pink
- Payphone - Maroon 5
- Surprise, Surprise - Bruce Springsteen
Makes Me Speed Up
- My Life Would Suck Without You - Kelly Clarkson
- I’m a Believer - Smash Mouth
- From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come) - Bruce Springsteen
- Everything - Michael Buble
- MMMBop - Hanson
- I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas
- Brokenhearted - Karmin
- Can You Get to That - Funkadelic
- Seasons of Love - Rent Soundtrack
- One Step Up - Bruce Springsteen
- Landslide - Dixie Chicks
Bonus Playlist for Those of A Certain Age and Inclination:
- Born to Run
- We Take Care of Our Own
- Growin’ Up
- Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
- Land of Hope and Dreams
- Promised Land
- Radio Nowhere
- Cadillac Ranch
- She’s the One
- Working on a Dream
- Tenth Avenue Freeze Out
- Thunder Road
- Sherry Darling
- No Surrender
- For You
- From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)
- Leap of Faith
- Living Proof
- Roll of the Dice
- Surprise, Surprise
- One Step Up
What are your favorite songs for playlists?
Let us know in the form below as we build the ULTIMATE #runteacherrun playlist!