Wednesday 23 May 2012

How to create a great running playlist

Another brilliant thing about twitter, there's always someone who knows someone that can help you. And that was certainly the case when I tweeted my invitation for guest posts and mentioned I'd particularly like something about music and exercise.

I was pointed in the direction of Craig Daley; a fully qualified personal trainer with 5 years' experience and, in his own words, "life experience in zombies". Perfect!

Craig writes a blog called Comfort in Sounds, which is all about the daily rigors of life as a Dad in the 21st Century and everything else the universe may throw his way. Why not pop on over, have a read and follow it? You can also follow him on twitter.

Craig's guest post couldn't have come at a better time because as I mentioned in this post here, I've now reached a stage in my Grr Argh Challenge where I'm finding a good playlist is imperative to help give me that extra bit of focus and drive to complete each run. But how do you go about making one?

Over to you Craig...


Running, It's an essential thing for our human body to do. It's a natural instinct for us to run away from predators who wish to devour us and more importantly help us run away from the looming Zombie Apocoylypse this earth is soon to be threatened from. If we are able to run away from this threat then we can procreate, build an army and take back the world from either the Zombies or Robots that will no doubt one day attempt to take over our world (Think I'm joking? Shaun of the Dead and Terminator weren't movies they were documentaries sent from parallel universes) So get off the sofa and start RUNNING!!!

Running is one of my favourite things to do and although, admittedly, it's not something I've done much of recently, I do miss it. The thing I love about it the most is the feeling of freedom I get when I'm running.

Firstly, where possible I must run outside, treadmill running literally gets you nowhere, and I love the idea that if I run somewhere, I must be able to return. On a treadmill theres always that big red button screaming at you "PRESS ME, PRESS ME, I SAY STOP, I'M A RED BUTTON!!!!".

The main buzz for me is that it's my time, I can put my music on, let my mind go numb and just focus on putting one foot in front of the other repeatedly as fast as I can. If its raining its a bonus because that heightens the experience for me.

One important element is the music; mixing together a play list worthy of your ears to inspire you, to focus you, to drag you to the finish, to get the last 10% out of you on the run.

This can be a tough task and unfortunately there's not one set play list you could tell everyone to use and you'll be inspired, purely because everyone has different music tastes. For example we were shopping the other day and my other half picked up a copy of the new album, "Now that's what I call running". We looked at the back of the CD and it had the track listing, she quite liked it, I stated that the only thing that CD would do is inspire me to run away from anyone playing it. Again different tastes inspires different people.

There are certain rules you have to adhere to when making a play list for running, this is to ensure you stay focused and motivated.

Rule #1 : Selecting music that inspires you;

For me Rock and Roll music inspires me. How I select my music is on firstly if I like the song, simple. It must be something that's up tempo with a powerful chorus.

Favourite tracks for me are Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run, Oasis, F****n in the Bushes, Feeder Buck Rogers, The Killers Somebody Told Me. The reasons why is purely because of the guitars the drums and the beats. When they kick in it pushes me and makes me focused.

Plus listening to rock and roll music you can imagine things and I like to imagine beating a zombie to the finish line of the first ever Human/Zombie Olympics that will be held in 2020. Events will include head shot putting, Running away from zombies at 100m/200m/400m and marathon disciplines, and also zombie running away from human with a pix axe events, (thats the one I'll be entering)

With running to music I also set myself little tasks such as run until the end of the song, which I then know I’ll hear the next song and think, "oh I really like this song Ok I'll run til the end of this song" It's songs like this that are important to me so they pick me up just in the right time, that's then leads to the next important rule of making a play list for running....

Rule #2 Setting the running order:

Having all great tunes in your play list is one thing, but there's no point in having a song that motivates you to sprint and push yourself to the limits followed by a song that makes you want to sleep. Theres also no point in making a 60 minute play list when all you want to do is run for 20 minutes. You want to mix your songs up so at key points in your run your key songs kick in to give you the extra boost you need.

For me, when I create my lists, I also place my most inspiring songs at the end to push me through to the end of my run, (The song that inspires me most in running and gets the most out of me is Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run, so that always comes towards the end)

This running order is especially important as when running away from Zombies and Robots you can't ask them to wait while you stop to flick through your iPod to find the suitable track you wish to run too, I mean you could ask them but I'm not sure they have/been programmed with gentlemanly conduct yet, it would be rude of them to eat you while changing tracks of course.

Rule #3 Have back up plans:

Having just one play list designed by you will probably help you, but what happens if you go running 4-5 times a week? After around 6/7 times the music will become less inspiring and the effect will have worn off.

So, when creating your first list create a second or third list made up of different songs. Set it for a different  length of time to suit different runs you go for and try differing moods as when you often run you will feel different moods. You may one day have had an emotional day and need comforting music, whereas some days you want to hit it hard and train like Rocky (I suggest the Rocky soundtrack for intense training, its great)

Our emotions obviously dictate our running mood and our music will reflect that, so you never know you might be really fired up to run one day but your Zombie chaser might be a rather attractive opposite sex so you might want to instead run away from them have seductive running music. Although I'm not sure how the world would take to a Human/Zombie relationship yet!

Rule #4 chose a Guilty Pleasure song:

We all have them, so choose one for your play list. Why? you may ask, well it'll give you a good feeling and that good feeling in turn will make you work harder due to the release of the feel good chemicals in your body. Also as we are training to enable we can run away from the impending Zombie Apocalypse wouldn't it be nicer to be able to run away from the Zombies smiling singing Barbie Girl? It might just scare off the Zombies a little.

Alternatively if all this sounds too much work before you even start running, you could just press shuffle on your iPod, but beware of your choices!

I hope that these rules help you start running and start developing your fitness so you can successfully run away from Zombies and Robots. I didn’t even begin to mention Aliens. Basically as Humans, we are buggered.



PoshBird said...

Excellent post! I agree with all points made and love making my own running mixes. Without my ipod i simply wouldn't be able to run! Funny cause i remember starting off lugging my walkman around, then discman. . . Oh how times have changed! X

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