I was never much of an athlete. Despite the fact that both my parents are runners and my uncles have competed multiple marathons, running was always something I planned to do later, when I had more time. Or more motivation.
Though I somewhat idealistically envisioned running (and exercise in general) as something that would lead to a flat stomach, shiny healthy hair and glowing skin, I also envisioned it as a lot of work. But this summer I decided the time had come. At 28, my metabolism is finally starting to fail me and thoughts of bone density and future mobility are beginning to actually seem relevant.
One way I've been keeping myself motivated is with a playlist of some of my favorite songs. They help me run at a steady pace and distract me from some of the unpleasantness of taking my previously sedentary body and adding some actual muscle to it. I'm not alone, since every runner I see has headphones jammed into their ears.
Below are some of the best running songs:
Adele "Rumour Has It" - The beat of this song is perfect for my running pace. I first heard it on "The Voice" a few months ago and have been a fan of the song ever since. It's flirty and clever, and I focus enough on the lyrics to distract myself from my burning, burning lungs.
Train "Hey Soul Sister" - Another fun, high energy song. I always want to sing along and dance to this particular song when it comes on the radio. When it comes up on my playlist I can just channel that extra energy into my running.
Lady Gaga "Poker Face" - A song that provides both a good beat and an energy boost. One of my favorite Lady Gaga songs, though it's one of her older ones.
Pink "Raise Your Glass" - This song is both high energy and, if you listen to the lyrics, motivational as well. While you may be too out of breath to sing along, it's a fun song to run to and the message goes hand in hand with the confidence boost that being in shape provides.
Jump Little Children "Mexico" - A slower song than many of the others on my playlist, it still has a persistent enough beat to keep my feet moving and I love the refrain. Infectious despite its somewhat somber subject, it's a song that catches my attention every time I hear it, which is great when the other focus of my attention is my pounding heart.
Metro Station "Shake It" - To me, this is the ultimate get on your feet and move song. Jennifer Grey danced to this song on "Dancing With The Stars" and since then the song has found a home on several of my playlists. Fun fact: Trace Cyrus , who is in Metro Station, is Miley Cyrus' brother.
Bruce Springsteen "Born to Run" - I love The Boss and the title makes it a must-have on any running playlist.
Matchbox Twenty "How Far We've Come" - This song gets my heart rate up even when I'm just sitting around, so it's a great song to run to.
Bruno Mars "Just The Way You Are" - Another motivational song with a great beat. Who doesn't want to be told they're perfect just the way they are while sweating and gasping through the last mile?
B.o.B "Airplanes" - Again, a little bit of a quieter song but still with a strong enough beat to keep a runner on track. The lyrics are also engaging enough to distract from any exercise pain.
Taio Cruz "Dynamite" - A fun, happy, energetic song. It's another song that I think is great to dance to, which makes it equally great for running.
Fall Out Boy "Sugar, We're Goin Down" - A fighting song is just what the doctor ordered when you're starting to run out of gas. This song will hopefully give you that extra boost of energy to finish off your run off with.
Queen "Under Pressure" - Does this song even need to be explained? It's the ultimate inspiration song. Who doesn't feel invincible when listening to Queen?
The Killers "Human" - This song is motivational and high energy at the same time. I've been known to dance around in my living room to the song, so it was a no-brainer to add it to my running playlist.
Black Eyed Peas "I Gotta Feeling" - This is kind of the ultimate over played song at clubs and weddings, but, hey, it works. It's hard not to get to your feet and dance when it comes on, and the same theory applies to running. It will get you moving.
The Proclaimers "I Would Walk 500 Miles" - While walking may be what you're doing by the end of your run, hopefully it won't be for quite this long. Either way, it's a classic song with a steady beat to help keep feet moving, whatever the pace.
As a perpetually broke New Yorker who doesn't want to pay for a gym membership, Lucrezia Wise is a recent running convert who is hoping exercise now means an extra appetizer or dessert later. It's all about balance.