A quantitative analysis of post-Laura aural choice making and possible benefits to running cadence (or how I chose my running playlist)

Music taste is subjective, one persons ear pleasure is another person's ear pain. So in a post Laura world, how does one go about recommending songs and chatting about playlists?

Firstly, lets consider that your typical song is 4 minutes give or take. (If your tastes run to earlier music then your songs will tend to be shorter and if you like your modern Radio 1 stuff then they tend to be longer.) So for 30 minutes running you need 8 songs plus a warm up and a warm down if you so wish.

Which ones should I choose? To answer this question I broke my running down into 4 minute segments and put how I felt.

0 - 4 Getting in my stride, doubts, breathing settling, slow down!

4 - 8 In my stride and pretty happy

8 - 12 Starting to doubt things a bit

12 - 16 The tooth gritter (I struggle at this bit every time)

16 - 20 The midish point, beat it and I am not stopping

20 - 24 Try to stay calm and relax, stay in technique

24 - 28 Not giving in now but i'm slowing down, sleepy legs, stitchy

28 - Close Eye of the Tiger

Knowing my feelings I can modify a playlist to cover that moment to keep me motivated. If you set out your run feelings like I have above you can conceivably even use Eurovision entries to make a suitable play list.

Next consider the individual songs you wish to play. If your song has a huge long intro with no real words then you may inadvertently think you have run out of battery or nudged stop so keep that in mind. (e.g. Journey's Anyway you want it is very inspiring but has 37 seconds of a jukebox selecting a record before the song starts).

Do you really like the whole song or just the chorus? Or just the intro? For example Spaceman by Babylon Zoo was considered a bit pants by my class mates after the 30 second intro. Do you need Lyrics at all? Some prefer just notes.

Borrow a theme from your memories. It doesn't have to be a song, how about your favourite movie theme? Wifey loves the pirates of the Caribbean theme and I often pop the Indiana Jones theme on for a boost.

The true grit strong. I have a song that I simply refuse to stop when it is playing because it means quite a bit to me. It is magic dance from the movie Labyrinth that my son and I sing and dance to before he goes to bed. If I really need a boost then that is my go to one. (I also sometimes add my wedding song but don't tell wifey as I am pretending to be manly).

If anyone is still awake after this entirely unscientific musing, the tracks I chose for this occasion are:

0 - 4 The Village Green Preservation Society

4 - 8 Footloose

8 - 12 Pour Some Sugar on Me, Def Leppard

12 - 16 Love in An Elevator, Aerosmith

16 - 20 Danger Zone - Kenny Loggins

20 - 24 Fighter - Christina Aguilera

24 - 28 Let me entertain you, Robbie Williams

28 - end Top Gun Theme

I like Rock music so there is a bias. But this keeps me calm to start and then keeps me going. I have 2 versions of the first 2 so can mix them up a bit. Oh and double check before you set off, I inadvertently put Hurt (Johnny Cash version) on my list by mistake the other week, something of a mood breaker when it came on.

Does anyone else struggle without a Laura to coach you on?

12 Replies

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  • I bought "The Ultimate Collection - Running songs" 100 hits on 5 cds. It's quite a mixture of 70's, 80's, 90's and even a few from this century. I've loaded it all onto my mp3 player along with Beautiful South's greatest hits and Bruno Mars. I've set it up to play on shuffle, which is great as i never know what I'm getting next, but there are some tracks that come on that I just have to up my pace to.

  • Thats just what I did although my CD's were NOW that's what I call RUNNING, I picked out the songs I really liked added some more from my library, called it long running and play on shuffle. That way I don't get fed up listening to the same old.

  • I've just started trying to do this ready for graduation. I just listened to my music and picked bouncy sounding ones that make me happy. Tried a bpm analysis thingy but don't trust what it came up with! I've got far too many tracks on my new running playlist but then I can skip a track if its not right. I like the sound of a running cd though (so long as its not too modern - I am nearly 40!)

  • Still in your 30's make you about 25% younger than me!

  • So glad it's not just me struggling with this! Actually my last couple of runs I have gone back to Laura wk 9. I still like her encouragement and actually the musical not too bad I have decided!

  • I still prefer Laura even over my favourite tracks. She is just so encouraging! I always have W9 as my back up on my phone.

  • I'm sure many of us feel that way about Laura, a real friend to have on hand when you need her. :)

  • I'm with BettyJane and don't have a playlist, just shuffle on my mp3 player. I, too have one of the 101 running songs collection, plus albums by Big County. Queen, Runrig, and Springsteen.

  • Love your playlist CouchtoKiltLegs and your thoughts behind it :) Will download it for when I eventually get back to running again. Thanks for sharing!

  • I spent last night putting together a playlist for my park run, and included Muse, ELO, Robbie and others, and yes I too try to match the track to where I will be and how much motivation I need to complete. (Hurt by j Cash is a lovely song but yes it is a mood breaker) :-D

  • I need to try and get faster so I asked my son for some of his hardcore drum and bass; he uses it when he is exercising. The stuff he gave me was very mixed and it was hard to get a proper rhythm going as it jumped about all over the place. When I used to run about 10 yrs ago I liked Anastacia will have to look that out but I usually use the shuffle on my mp3. Mine is also mostly rock.

  • Thanks for the run down of what I need to look out for, I hadn't thought of it like that ... I have tried just putting on my ipod... was fine with first couple of songs ... but Alicia Keys 'this girl is on fire' floored me as not even sure why it is on my ipod. For me it is about emotions as well so I need to use your list to create a playlist.

    ..and like everyone else, I slip back to a little bit of Laura for my safety blanket :) Pink and Nate (from fun) Just give me a reason... do it for me .. :)

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