Tuesday, June 10, 2014

How to Create a Killer Running Playlist

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Okay, so when it comes to the writing staff here at MHM, Lauren is actually the true runner. I've never ran any races longer than a 5k (lame, I know) and Lauren has run every race from a marathon on down.

So why would I be audacious enough to give running advice? Because I feel like running is easy enough when you enjoy it and/or are athletic. But to come home with a medal when you kind of hate running and have no natural ability? Bragging rights.
(Disclaimer: There were only 14 runners in my particular category--so really not impressive, but that hasn't stopped me from being extremely proud of myself and posting this picture to Instagram).

Create a Killer Running Playlist

What's the secret to getting a lazy runner like me to move at a decent speed? Create the perfect running playlist! No joke, when I decided to revise my playlist for the first time in ten years (using a bit of science), I quickly dropped my mile times from 10-11 minute miles to 8-9 minute miles (I ran a 6:43 minute mile on the treadmill, but I'm pretty sure treadmill PRs don't count).

The Trick--BPM

It's all about the Beats Per Minute (and running to the beat). Back when I bought my fabulous zero-drop Altra running shoes, I carefully read the guidelines provided by the professional super-runners who developed the shoes. The advice that stuck out to me (especially because I've had serious knee problems in the past) was to "run softer" using shorter, quicker strides. No matter how slow you are, your should aim for a cadence of 170-180 strides per minute. So I decided to re-evaluate my running playlist. Turns out most of the songs I thought were great, fast-paced running songs were only about 120 BPM and (since I run to the beat) were therefore slowing me down

My Secret Weapon -- jog.fm

Jog.fm is an awesome tool. You can search for songs by title, BPM, and mile time. I had to work my way up to 170-180 BPM (I started at 150 BPM), so I used it to find songs along the way. I highly recommend using it to build your playlist.

My Running Playlist

Here's a few of my favorite songs that are all between 175-182 BPM:
I was so nervous for my little 5k race, I took this picture beforehand, sent it to my family, and told them to pray for me. Seriously. But the playlist payed off--I hit my goal!
Good luck! Have fun updating your playlist and watching your mile times drop!

What are your favorite running songs?

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