musical motivation

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I don’t know about the rest of you, but when it comes to running or working out, I need a little auditory stimulation to get me motivated. That goes double when I’m on the treadmill or logging miles alone. The music gives me that little push I need when I am feeling tired or bored or just blah. Truth be told I still have songs on my iPod that I listened to when I started running in 2009, and I still enjoy them today. For me, those songs evoke memories from past races or training runs that made an impact on me, and I use those feelings as motivation to push myself. Here’s a list of some of my favorite running songs that are in regular rotation on my playlist.

Song: Mr.Brightside
Artist: The Killers
Reasoning: For some reason this song would always play when I was on the last mile or so before reaching my house when I began running in spring 2009. Runs were SO hard at that time, but hearing this let me know that I wasn’t far from home. It still has the uncanny ability of coming on near the end of my runs, and when I hear it now it reminds me that the end is near and to keep going.

Song: Uprising
Artist: Muse
Reasoning: The first time I ever ran 10 miles was during the Towpath 10-10 in 2010. I felt pretty good for the whole race, but when this song came on around mile 8, it was like someone lit a fire under my butt. I remember picking up the pace dramatically and smiling as the sun shone brightly on the path. The run felt effortless, and I loved it! I try to remember that feeling each time this song plays.

Song: Born This Way
Artist: Lady Gaga
Reasoning: This song takes me back to the Hermes Cleveland 10 Miler in 2011. Prior to this race, I had IT band issues and was nervous about being able to complete it without walking. My race started with this song, and I knew it was going to be a good one. Ten miles and no pain later, I had completed the race! This was also the race where I also met my friend, Sarah Cawley, by pure coincidence, so this song always reminds me of her. We were running near one another and started chatting, and because of her motivation, I was able to finish strong. Sarah is a resilient, courageous woman who is a great wife, loving and devoted mother to her two daughters, breast cancer survivor, and one badass mother runner!

Song: Kiss You
Artist: One Direction
Reasoning: Don’t knock this song until you listen to it! I’m not gonna lie; I really like 1D. The catchy lyrics and fast beat make it great for running. This was also the song that kicked off my half marathon PR race at the Northern Ohio Marathon half in October 2013, and I can’t help but turn up my pace when I hear it.

Song: My Body
Artist: Young The Giant
Reasoning: I can’t pinpoint a particular race or training run for this because there are so many! This song earned its spot on my playlist the second I heard it, and it never fails to motivate me to run faster and try harder. In addition to running memories, this song reminds me of MO POP Festival this summer with Dan when we heard them play live. Completely awesome!

I asked the other Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon race ambassadors about the songs that inspire them, and here were some of the responses.

  • Andrew Hettinger: “The Beast In Me” by Johnny Cash always pumps me up in late miles on a long run. Let’s me know something I can’t even explain pushes me when I feel I can’t go on anymore.
  • Melissa Bixler: “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC and “The Distance” by Cake.
  • Melissa Carney: “Welcome To The Black Parade” – My Chemical Romance
  • Pamela McGowan: Anything Sex Pistols but especially “Anarchy in the UK” or “God Save the Queen.” Punk music is so high energy!
  • Jessica Humphrey: Katy Perry “Roar” gets me every time!
  • Emily Baumgartner: “Centuries” and “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light ‘Em Up)” by Fall Out Boy
  • Stephani Itibrout: “Cult of Personality” by Living Colour, “Give It Away” by Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Immigraniada (We Comin’ Rougher)” and “Your Country” by Gogol Bordello, “Pepper” by Butthole Surfers, “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons, “Royals” by Lorde, “Some Nights” by Fun

Since I’m looking to add some new music for the 2015 race season, what are some suggestions? What songs motivate and inspire you?

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