Making tracks: a runner’s playlist

Last week while on vacation in Florida I went running by myself.  At home I have a running partner, my friend Holland, whose drive to exercise always gets me over my desire to sleep late on weekends or avoid my sneakers altogether. Neither of us are goal-oriented runners, we just like to get in our 4-5 miles at whatever pace makes it easy for us to gab.

While I didn’t have trusty Holland on spring break, I was motivated by being in a bathing suit most of the week. But I’m no Forrest Gump, so if I don’t have a partner, I need tunes.

ipod best running playlist

When I dusted off my iPod and gave an old playlist a whirl, I realized how much I missed running to music and how empowering and meditative it can be.

We were visiting my mother who lives in one of those pristine gated communities with long stretches of golf courses and palm trees. It’s beautiful, but not compelling or distracting scenery so I was able to really focus on the lyrics and all the thoughts buzzing around my head.

I’m always amazed at how hearing a song can instantly transport me to a different time and place and evoke familiar emotions each time I hear it. Then there are songs that have less meaning, but get my ass up a hill or my legs to the next corner, even though I’m hot and tired.

I thought I’d share some of my favorite, motivational songs from my running playlist.  They’re mostly pop songs but there’s some rap, country, R&B, and  even a show tune to spice things up. All of these will help you put one foot in front of the other, even when you think you can’t.

–“Go Ahead”/Alicia Keys

–“Aint No Other Man“/Christina Aguilera

–“Lose Yourself”/Eminem


“Are You Gonna Be My Girl”/Jet

“Harder to Breathe”/Maroon 5

“Last Name”/Carrie Underwood

“Stupid Girls”/Pink

“One” /Mary J Blige

“Stronger”– Kanye West

“Dance 10, Looks 3”/”A Chorus Line” original cast recording

“Red Neck Woman”/Gretchen Wilson

“Motivation”/Sheryl Crow

“Freedom”/George Michael

“Yeah”– Usher

“Sexyback”/Justin Timberlake

I’d love to hear what songs motivate you to exercise.  Drop your ditties in the comments. I can always use another excuse to keep me moving.

3 responses to “Making tracks: a runner’s playlist

  1. 4-5 miles!? What is this – the Olympics?

  2. Funny, I thought you did have a running partner at least once in Florida.

  3. I ran music free for awhile but lately I have been needing the tunes to help pass the miles. Sometimes I break out laughing because I realize that I am singing along and I must look like a total goof running and singing Rocky Mountain High at the top of my lungs. Amazing what songs get you to the finish line. Enjoy and never stop Running!