Marathon Music: More than just a Playlist

Confession: I cringe when I look at all the music I’ve purchased on Itunes. But I really wouldn’t have it any other way. Some people run while listening to Pandora Radio and I don’t understand how they do it! I need to be in control of what is coming through my headphones. If I were still illegally downloading music I would probably have to pay more in computer repairs, not to mention what would happen if I was one of those people who was caught and brought to court, compared to what I’ve spent on music. So I can (kind of) justify it.

I make a new playlist for every race, as well as random training playlists as I go. Its something that has to be done. Race playlists are usually made a day or two in advance, although I started this one a full week early. I have a few rules when it comes to playlists.

#1 Slow songs are needed! Especially during a race slow songs are very important. I have my playlist stacked with slow songs to listen to on the ride to the course, once I’m lined up I’ll set the playlist on shuffle, but I don’t want to get to any of my pump up songs while I’m trying to stay calm. During the race I still listen to the slow songs and use that as a time to check in with my body and relax my limbs (especially my neck and arms).

#2. Throwbacks push the pace! I don’t take an old playlist and just add a few new songs to it. I need to put older songs that I haven’t listen to in a while to help keep me interested. When a throwback song comes on, I get a pep in my step and either get back to the pace I should be, or push the pace just a touch faster.

#3. Variety is key! I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, 90s, Pop, Rap, Country. And it all needs to be mixed in. This helps me from getting bored. The opposite of this rule is…if a song is important and I know I want to hear it, I’ll put it into my playlist 2 or 3 times to increase the chance that I’ll hear it.

And with that…here’s a few of the songs that I sought out to run Grandma’s Marathon to.

  1. Strut (feat. Busta Rhymes)                        I.C. Green
  2. I Can                                                          Nas
  3. Raise Up                                                   Petey Pablo
  4. Pump It Up                                                Joe Budden
  5. Pimpin’ All Over the World                        Ludacris & Bobby Valentino
  6. Here’s to Never Growing Up                     Avril Lavigne
  7. Play It Again                                               Becky G
  8. I Need Your Love (feat. Ellie Goulding)     Calvin Harris
  9. The Other Side                                          Jason Derulo
  10. There You Go                                             P!nk
  11. I Feel a Sin Comin’ On                               Pistol Annies
  12. Best Day of Your Life                                 Katie Herzig
  13. Honey, Let Me Sing You a Song                Matt Hires
  14. Something Good This Way Comes          Jakob Dylan
  15. Nadia’s Theme                                     “the Young and the Restless”

What music are you adding to your running playlist?


  1. Great songs! I always have a throwback or two on my playlists too. I’m loving sweater weather by the neighbourhood. Such a fun song!

  2. I agree, I like making my own playlist and controling what music is coming through! I often find that I tend to repeat songs a lot during long runs too if that’s what is pumping me up! One song that I just added that i’m obsessed with is silhouettes by avicii!!

      1. LOVE shazam. I am usually that girl in the coffee shop, restaurant, bar, etc., that is awkwardly holding up their phone near the speaker trying to figure what song is playing 🙂

  3. I want to get an iPod shuffle or one of those teeny nanos so I can run with music during a race. I am anti-arm band at all costs so I don’t normally bring my phone or touch along for races.

    1. For half marathons I use my ipod shuffle and I absolutely love it!!! For the marathon because I’m anticipating being out for 6 hours I am bringing both my shuffle as well as my classic ipod. I don’t plan on using an arm band…Instead I do the super classy plastic baggie in the sports bra. I plan on getting rid of it around mile 21. Or it can fit in the zip pocket on my capris after I’ve used the gu that will be in there at the beginning.

      1. I know someone else who does the plastic bag trick. That doesn’t scratch or anything? Seems like it would be extremely uncomfortable!

      2. It’s all about the size of the baggie and the folding. It hasn’t bothered me during half marathons, but I’m not crazy enough to think it will hold up for 26.2

  4. Just found your blog…i’m running this weekend too!! getting the jitters!! My playlsit is SOOO important, I agree!! What about “My Soul Knows What you Did in the Dark”? Light it up up up…! Good luck!

  5. I am so music challenged it’s pathetic! To be honest I listen to music or podcasts while training, but during races I usually don’t listen to anything! Thanks for sharing your playlist though, I’m always looking for good suggestions!

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