The Soundtrack to My Running Life

The Soundtrack to My Running Life


12 June 2015


You will find some debate amongst runners as to whether music is a benefit or a hindrance to the pursuit. It would be rare to find one though who has not at some point, popped in some earbuds and plodded to a beat of some kind.

I have been running for around 25 years now. I am no competition for most and run for no reason other than because I love it and believe my life is better for it. I’ve completed a full marathon in 4 hours 28 minutes and have a half marathon personal best of 1 hour 55 minutes. I’m no Paula Radcliffe but as a runner I’m consistent, reliable and devoted.

None of this would have happened without background music. Here is why:

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1. It makes me happy

When I run, I am incredibly conscious of the runner’s high, the moment when the endorphins kick in and I find myself smiling for no other reason than because I am alive. Music takes that feeling and doubles it. The music I listen to is the type my subconscious relates to happy times; dancing, celebrations and a fast beating heart. It’s the reason I have pulled on my trainers happily for these 25 years.

2. It gives me a focus

I’ve heard many people say they don’t run because they find it boring. I don’t get it, especially if you are outdoors! It is repetitive however, no question, and I find that music takes my focus to another place. It’s either a memory sparked by a song, a daydream inspired by it or simply a beat that isn’t my own heart. 

3. It gives me perfect pace

My runs in my head are a merry dance. To the passer by, I’m just someone running along; in my head I’m throwing shapes with metaphorical, rhythmic prowess. I’m a willing slave to my chosen beat.

And so, over my quarter decade of running, my playlists have included thousands of songs, played from cassette tapes on a Sony Walkman in the late 80’s to my current ipod shuffle (my 7th).

Here is a 10K run’s worth of some of my favourites (remember, they are not all necessarily cool, it’s just for the beat!):

  1. Footloose: Kenny Loggins
  2. Nutbush City Limits: Tina Turner
  3. Don’t stop me now: Queen
  4. Fix Up, Look Sharp: Dizzee Rascal
  5. December 1963 (Oh what a night): The Four Seasons
  6. Twist & Shout: Chaka Demus and Pliers
  7. Uptown Funk (feat Bruno Mars): Mark Ronson
  8. Moves Like Jagger (feat Christina Aguilera): Maroon 5
  9. My Sharona: The Knack
  10. Single Ladies: Beyonce
  11. Sound and Vision: David Bowie
  12. SexyBack (feat. Timbaland): Justin Timberlake

So, if you ever see me out running, I may look like a middle aged mummy – in my head I’m Beyonce.