You guys, this may be my favorite Friday Five topic ever. The only thing I love more than running, puppies, and napping… is music. So when I get to combine running and music – which is as often as is safe – I freaking do it. I have a 15 hour running playlist on Spotify that like dozens of random strangers follow because I am that awesome at finding all the right music for working out. Run Hundred? RockMyRun? Psh, more like Nevie Two Hundred. More like Nevie My Run, amirite? (I mean, not like I’m bragging or anything.)
Anyway, you know the deal – hit up Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney, our Friday Five hosts, to find some new additions to your playlist, and add your link so we can all glean music from your own fantastic taste.
Don’t like listening to music when you run?
So without further ado, my five favorite (I have to stick to just 5?!) fitness tunes!
1. Paramore – Playing God
Let’s just get this out of the way first things first – y’all know I love to listen to Paramore when I run. Also when I clean. Also when I work at my desk. Also when I drive. Also when I breathe.
Best for: When someone is just CHAPPING YOUR ASS. Ever run to blow off steam? That whole “running is cheaper than therapy” thing? That whole “I run so I don’t punch people” saying? Angry runs may not be our best runs (evidence suggests running angry leads to lower performance than running happy, so Brooks Running is onto something), but certainly, running when you’re pissed off is a whole lot better than some of the alternative ways people choose to deal with anger.
Tempo: 138 bpm
Favorite lines: It’s just my humble opinion, but it’s one that I believe in / You don’t deserve a point of view if the only thing you see is you AND If God’s the game that you’re playing / Well we must get more acquainted / Because it has to be so lonely / To be the only one who’s holy.
2. “Upgrade U” by Beyonce
So many great Queen Bey songs to choose from, and shoutout to Destiny’s Child, because “Jumpin’ Jumpin,'” “Bug A Boo,” and “Soldier” are also great running jams. But “Upgrade U” has been one of my favorites since I discovered this choreography on YouTube. GET. IT.
Best for: When you need SWAGGER. Just don’t strut and swing those hips so much that it gives you bursitis. Because seriously, you might dance your way through a third of mile listening to this song.
Tempo: 169 bpm
Favorite lines: I’m known to walk alone but I’m alone for a reason / Sending me a drink ain’t appeasin’ AND Ran by the man but the women keep the tempo. This album was pre-World Tour FEMINIST Beyonce, so some of the lyrics are more of a guilty pleasure than a sophisticated feminist anthem, but you know.
3. “All Downhill from Here” by New Found Glory
I never gave NFG much of a second thought until I saw them as an opener live. I only really knew “My Friend’s Over You” and their awesome cover of Go West’s “King of Wishful Thinking.” They always seemed a little too EMOOOO for me and I mean, they’re still not my favorite. But I did get to see them play this song live and it was awesome. The energy of the crowd getting into it was giving me LIFE.
Best for: When you’re broken-hearted and training to be his hottest ex-girlfriend – or just need a good guitar-thrashing jam. (Or you’re on a downhill stretch of the course.)
Favorite line: See above – You contradict the fact that you still want me around
4. “The Only Way I Know” by Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Eric Church
I hate to include Luke Bryan’s face on this list, because as a lifelong country music fan who was raised on the best of the best – George Strait, Travis Tritt, Patty Loveless, Reba McEntire, Johnny Cash – I find most of Luke Bryan’s music to be an embarrassment. When I tell people I love country music I have to immediately follow it up with “but not that Daisy Duke’s, barefoot on my tailgate in the moonlight shit.” Even one Luke Bryan song is like hitting bro country BINGO. But this song? MADE for a hard run.
Best for: When you’re hitting the wall and need that extra push. It’s all about putting in hard work, getting good and dirty with no self-pity. Earn that shower.
Favorite line: Hit the wall, smokin’ and spinnin’ / Still wasn’t thinkin’ ’bout nothin’ but winnin’ AND Dig a little deeper when you think you can’t dig no more
Um, hell yeah.
5. “Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj
This song came out right before I got injured and it was the perfect fresh addition to my playlist. It is SO GOOD. Just plain a great pop track. My favorite pop song in YEARS, people, YEARS. (See also: Jessie J – “Ain’t Been Done,” Jessie J – “Masterpiece,” Jessie J – “Do It Like a Dude” – basically I’m a HUGE Jessie J fan.)
Best for: Any time.
Tempo: Not sure, but very upbeat.
Favorite line: All of it.
Now the question is, do you run with music? I’m doing it less lately than I used to. When I started actually running with other people, which was a huge departure from my norm, I couldn’t just plug in and zone out. Obviously safety is always a concern, so if you’re running outside and can manage without music, do it. In fact, I’m going to be trying more and more to run without music. But what are the other reasons?
For one, at races, there are plenty of conversations to overhear to entertain me when I’m trying to keep a steady pace, so different songs at different tempos coming in may throw that off.
Two, listening to music literally changes my gait. A song like “Bang Bang” or “Upgrade U” will come on and I literally start swinging my hips while I run because I get so much swagger going. During the Brooklyn Half Marathon I was literally strutting through Gravesend to Beyonce’s “Countdown” and “Get Me Bodied.”
So yes, I blame my favorite diva pop singers for my bursitis.
However – if I’m on that treadmill? Or hitting a wall? The music is going on. Music has always been what keeps me going in the worst of times. I don’t see that changing too dramatically.
Do you listen to music when you run? If it’s a “sometimes,” when is it that you find yourself listening to music?
What are your favorite songs to work out to?
Are you as flabbergasted as I am that Jessie J isn’t our hugest pop star at the moment?