I know many runners' eschew (vocab win) the very idea of running with music as if even condoning it would instantly turn them into some kind of Central Park lower loop loser that that steps off the treadmill a half a dozen times a year when the weather is next to perfect or when they chose to plod along in a vanity race*.
*Vanity race is this concept I've noticed where people do races not to do well, or feel good, or so they can train for something, but simply because they want to be able to talk about the race they're doing.
Fact is living in NYC music is a major part of my life. I wake up and listen to my morning playlist, my iPod is on the second I leave the door, I get to work and I'm plugged into Pandora all day, I leave and I'm back to my iPod. It's like my life has a soundtrack. Plus it makes it easier to ignore annoying homeless people, keeps tourists at bay, makes the L train tolerable, and allows me to avoid doing stuff like reading. Ew. On the days where my battery is dead a small part of me dies as well. So why would I turn the volume down when I'm doing the one thing most befitting of musical accompaniment? BTW that question was rhetorical.
Anyway, lately my iPod has been F-ed and I had to reload all my music - which forced me to think of my top 10 running songs. Here they are in no particular order.
Ize of the World, The Strokes
If talked about this song here before and how I've gone runs listening to it over and over on repeat. Hood to Coast last year I cooked my second leg at 5am throwing down 5:56s listening to this despite the fact I had zero business being under 6 minute pace at that point. I love the Strokes in general but the reason this song is particularly striking is because it's consistently upbeat but when the corus starts pumping I just want to drop the hammer. Goners.
Surf Wax America, Weezer
I love me some Weezer but this song wouldn't make my Weezer top 10, maybe not to 20. For whatever reason I have a distinct memory of running to this song on a Walkman when I was like 13. Feeding the thirteen year old within is important - unless it's within your basement and you're holding it captive. Let's move to the song.
Killing in the Name Of, Rage Against the Machine
Some songs are happy, some songs are sad, some songs make you want to fight a clown. This song is the later. I've listened to this before every race I've run since my sophomore year in high school. I'll be racing at 90 and when they start screaming profanity I'll be ready to split 5:30s.
William Tell Overture, Rossini &
I'm putting these together because they're kind of odd and because I could make just a classical list. But just listen to it. It's so runnery. It takes you on this journey from the slow start, through this crazy pumping section of awesome, it's like a run itself. I dunno, it just works. I actually run to a lot of classical, it's very visceral pure, emotional kind of stuff to run to. Plus it's long so you don't have to worry about changing tracks. I'll spare you on the whole thing and just post the best parts.
And just for good measure I'm including one of the best classical power songs ever. I dare you to try to run slowly like this. You'd probably get committed. This song begs for speed - kind of like my junky ex roommate but in a much more productive way.
Yeah Yeah, Matt & Kim
I could probably add a few more Matt & Kim songs. They're upbeat, peppy, real runnery. Their new album has a song on it called Don't Slow Down that makes me not really want to slow down. But this song is pretty much the perfect pick me up during a run. And the video is happy.
Lazy Eye, Silversun Pickups
Long and short of it - I like when he screams and I run fast. Done.
Everywhere You Turn, Longwave
This was my Powersong almost three years ago but it still gets me going.
Longwave - Everywhere You Turn (Official Music Video) - Watch the best video clips here
Right About Me, Vroom & Every Time I Look For You, Blink 182
This is crazy old skool but this is what was on my mp3 player (not even iPod) when I was still in college. It's punk, and if you can't run to punk what can you run to?
Pulp Song, Stellastarr*
Stellstarr is one of those strange bands that was nothing, then they were like the big next thing for a heartbeat, then they disappeared. I've had this song on my running playlist for like 7 years at this point. I've probably logged 100 miles to just this song.
Time Trap, Built to Spill
There's something amazing about how this song builds up in the beginning, so you just keep getting progressively faster then you just kind of break through. I often find myself unnecessarily fist pumping to this song during the run. Then again, while listening I recognized the fist pumping is actually completely necessary.