Like a Race Horse Running!

So a few years back I decided to take up running. I started getting winded partway through the second set and decided it was time to start moving around off the stage and stop counting “shows” as “workouts.” I’d tried running on the track team back in junior high. (You didn’t have to try out for the track team…you just had to show up!) But my junior high long distance running career gave me nothing but a 4th place yellow ribbon and several diaries full of woe that became great lyric material later in life.

Anyways, I decided enough time had passed (too much time!) and I needed to do SOME exercise or I’d start passing out during Garberville. So I started running…and found that I actually kept doing it. I want to say that I enjoyed the relaxing, alone time at the end of a busy day and that I enjoyed smelling the air and feeling the cool evening breeze on my face…but it doesn’t really work that way for me. Maybe it’s because I’m a musician, but I found that when I ran I naturally found a song that would get stuck in my head and I’d just hum the song and run to the beat. So I started putting together playlists of songs that I thought would be fun to run to. I found certain songs had a beat that naturally fit my stride and speed. When these songs came on, my legs just seemed to move independently from my brain. No matter how tired I was, my legs would not break rhythm with the beat. The running was “easy” with certain songs.

Cadence Desktop Pro logoNow, I’m not a computer buff but I do have iTunes. I noticed that in the View section under View Options I could select Beats Per Minute (BPM). This allowed me to identify the songs that were my “Good Run” playlist songs. Unfortunately most songs don’t have a BPM when you load them on your iTunes. So for a while it was sort of hit or miss trying to find songs that worked for me. I Googled “BPM” and found a great application (Cadence Desktop Pro) that solved all my problems.

Turns out my sweet spot is 88-94 BPM. Cadence Pro basically read my entire iTunes library and indicated the BPM. Once I clicked on the BPM column, it listed my entire library in order from fastest BPM to slowest BPM. So I just pick songs that are around 90 (or 180 since it’s just double time) and build playlists for running!

Some folks I’ve talked to who run say they like the sound of their feet hitting the ground or they like to hear birds or wind or children playing. I’m a musician. I like to run to the beat! Here’s a sample of some of the songs on my current running playlist:

88 Beats Per Minute

  • Stop Sign (The Nickel Slots)
  • Fare Thee Well (The Nickel Slots)
  • Turning Japanese (The Vapors)
  • Allison (Elvis Costello)
  • Rapid Roy (Jim Croce)

90 Beats Per Minute

  • Romeo’s Escape (Dave Alvin)
  • I Can’t Help Myself (Jason and the Scorchers)
  • Straight to Hell (The Clash)
  • Maria (Green Day)
  • Self Esteem (Whisky Park…don’t look, you won’t find them!)
  • Chequered Love (Kim Wilde)
  • Modern Love (David Bowie)
  • Xmas ’79 (The Brodys)

92 Beats Per Minute

  • Riding With Mary (X)
  • AM Radio (Everclear)
  • Working on the Highway (Bruce Springsteen)

94 Beats Per Minute

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money (Warren Zevon)

When I really want to kick butt, I play “People Who Died” by Jim Carroll…it’s 96 BPM.

Anyone know of any songs out there in the 88-94 BPM range?  Pass them on in a comment below…I need some new motivation!

Enjoy the run!


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