I never do it outside but love it in the gym.
The Libertines do it for me but Dirty Pretty Things don’t.
There’s a certain frisson that comes from Dave Gahan roaring ‘You can’t tell me that you don’t want it,’ as I tackle a 6% incline but it’s Razorlight and the lovely Johnny Borrell singing ‘Somewhere Else’ that really sets my pulse racing. I refer, of course, to my running playlist.
I’m a recent convert to running to music. Until now I’ve always run outside where I’m keenly aware of potential danger. Back in the days when I lived between a busy town and the Downs there was too much of a risk from commuters reversing out their drives without looking at one end and race horses and weirdos in the bushes at the other to contemplate wearing headphones. These days my route takes me through narrow winding country lanes where lone runners aren’t the first thing on drivers’ minds so it’s essential to keep a sharp ear open for traffic. Besides, the purist in me just likes to stay in touch with the rhythm of my breathing and monitor how I’m doing.
The purist side of me has also sniffed at treadmill work – well, it’s not ‘proper’ running, is it? But, hey, I was wrong about that too. Whereas my outdoor runs are great for long, slow sessions in beautiful scenery, using a treadmill is proving to be perfect for building up speed and music makes it exhilarating rather than a slog.
After a bit of trial and error I’ve found that tracks with a tempo of around160 bpm work best at the moment but what’s strange is that many of the songs that motivate me aren’t what I’d normally listen to at all. My most successful tracks from a workout point of view so far include:
Moby, ‘Feeling So Real’
Fatboy Slim, ‘Wonderful Night’(and, at a pinch, ‘Rockafeller Skank’)
Outkast, ‘Hey Ya!’
The Libertines, ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’.
How bizarre is that? Other tracks, such as The Stranglers, ‘No More Heroes’, ought to work but are just too drearily reminiscent of times gone by. In this case standing in St Andrew’s Hall in Norwich with some idiot trying to pogo off my back wondering why the girl standing on stage next to Jean-Jacques Burnel, and who I recognised as a fellow student, wasn’t me. (Clue: I was wearing skinny jeans, a leather jacket and a stripy T-shirt. She was wearing black lingerie and a pink transparent mac. Some people are so obvious.).
So, no nostalgia for me, thanks, but I am curious about what works for you and would especially welcome any suggestions for fast tempo music to help me pick up my pace. Thanks for your time.