180 BPM

Music is one of the most effective motivation tools I have. I will build full playlists for specific races or training blocks. For the last mile I often shuffle down to a key motivator song. We all do it. As my son says, “that song gives me energy”.

The hard thing has always been finding new music though. Something that keeps the beats at a steady pace where you just align your step or cadence to it. It also has to resonate. The lyrics or a video are just as important as the beat. Take the quintessential Rocky theme for example. Without the fight to prop it up that song would not be what it is.

Then comes the trick of bringing the music with you or playing it loud enough to overcome the treadmill or trainer. I use lots of different things depending on the situation. If I am doing a lazy run I will bring the phone and some wireless earbuds. From there I put on a playlist from Spotify and off I go.

For swims it depends on the venue. If it is open water I still use a waterproof iPod shuffle with waterproof wired earbuds. I don’t love this solution though because they always seem to fill up with water at some point distorting the acoustics. The benefit though is that if a bud pops out it is attached and you don’t lose it. For pools I have had mixed results with water proof Bluetooth buds paired to my phone. The underwater signal isn’t great, but if I am close enough it is functional. If you don’t want any interruption wired has still been the best for me.

On the bike, because I can carry more gear, most of the time I will use Bose or Yurbuds wired earphones. To me the wired always carries better sound and the weight and flopping wire isn’t a factor since you are in a pretty static position.

One trick I use on runs with a wired ear phone is to run the cord under the heart rate monitor. This keeps it pretty secure even in the bare shirted Summer when I have nothing to clip it to.

At home, I go Sonos on blast in the basement. It is more comfortable when I am drenched, and nobody seems to mind upstairs.

When it comes to finding new music, that is a tall order. For awhile I was snagging songs off of Peloton playlists when I did a spin ride. To be fair, I think the music playlists was the best part of the service for when it started. I haven’t been on a Peloton ride for some time now, but I have found a few of the instructors put their lists on Spotify so you can check them out. Of course Spotify has been great (Daily Mixes and Discover Weekly), but so has Pandora for finding new hidden gems. Lastly, Youtube on autoplay will get you songs you are not specifically looking for, and if you watch the video, sometimes something that you wouldn’t normally click works and can go into the playlist.

Everyone needs to find there own music and what works for them, but I try to build out the play lists based on time and intensity. For a long hard work out, I save the best for last, and maybe I put two or three choices so I can move past a song if it just isn’t cutting it. Although you can’t race with music, but you can train with it, and you can use that as your cue if you know the timing of the list. For example, once you hit X song, let it go, time to hurt.

My music is all over the place, but here are a few songs in no particular oder I am going deep with lately.

  • Summertime Sadness (Lana Del Rey and Cedric Gervais) 3:34
  • All Guys (Killrude) 3:00
  • So Strong (Fliwo) 4:51
  • Black Betty (Spiderbait) 3:25
  • Runnin’ Down A Dream (Petty) 4:21 – This is a final-kick-most-pain-you-can-take song for me. Weird right?
  • Rainbows & Waterfalls (Pretty Lights) 4:14
  • Daydreamin’ (Lupe Fiasco) 3:54
  • Fast Lane (Bad Meets Evil) 4:09
  • God’s Gonna Cut You Down (Johnny Cash) 2:38
  • Word Up (BossHoss) 4:10
  • Dance Monkey (Tones and I) 3:29
  • You’re Crazy (GnR) 4:08
  • Hot Like Sauce ( Pretty Lights) 7:01
  • Good Feeling (Flo Rida) 4:08 – “Giving up’s not an option get to get it in. I got the heart of 20 men.”
  • Rolling in the Deep (Adele) 3:48

That is an hour start to finish, enough for most workouts. Yes each of those is very different from the others. What can I say? It works for me, and hopefully you find something good in there.

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