Caught the Running Bug? Here's A Playlist That'll Help You Survive Your First 10k Race

January is usually a time in everyone’s life for stupid decisions based on awful resolutions. Maybe you buy one of those ab toner belts advertised on late night infomercials so you can get in shape or decide you actually want to be a minimalist and donate your entire collection of Beanie Babies including that ultra-rare 1997 mint condition Princess Diana bear now worth $8000 on eBay. Or, like me, you sign up for a February 10k run, even though the last race you ran was in the 8th grade and you came in second to last place. And you are pre-asthmatic. And you really aren’t good at running.

But, while most people throw the ab toner belts away after one session or decide to corner the more lucrative Cabbage Patch Kids market, I haven’t yet learned my lesson. I’ve kept on with my training because I’ve realized two things: 1) I will literally die running 6.2 miles without some form of practice and 2) I really like to make playlists.

While the training runs aren’t going so great, I’m happy to report the playlist is.  So, next week, when I lace up my shoes at the crack of dawn, this is the master list of what I’ll be playing:

1. “Start Me Up” – Rolling Stones

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These rocking septuagenarians and their racy lyrics are the only ones who can get me, literally, started off in my race. Puns intended.

2. “Gonna Fly Now” – theme from Rocky

Thanks to the internet, we know Rocky Balboa completed a little over 30 miles in his training runs. Suddenly, this 10k doesn’t seem so intimidating.

3. “Beautiful Day” – U2

My love for arena rock continues. And why not look around and enjoy the scenery? If I was like this runner, I could also be posting #hotguysat10k pics on Instagram.

4. “I Got You (I Feel Good)” – James Brown

I’m flying through this race, right? Time for some preliminary celebrating. Turn it up!

5. “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” – C&C Music Factory

It’s a really good thing I’ve got headphones on. I’ve switched out “I Like to Move it” by Reel 2 Real because I spent too much time shakin’ my tootsie roll.  And I know I’ll be running on empty soon enough. (See below).

6. “Born To Run” – Bruce Springsteen

Why is there a heat wave at 8:30 AM? Or is it just me? But the Boss is The Boss for a reason. He reassures me: “Baby, we were born to run.” Sure, he’s describing different circumstances, but I’ll take it.

7. “Runnin’ Down A Dream” – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

It’s my reflective time. As the song says, “There’s something good waitin’ down this road” so as I feel my knees and ankles and feet pound the ground, it’s time to remember why I’m here: champagne and a post-race massage!

8. “Running on Empty” – Jackson Browne

Am I having an existential crisis listening to the lyrics of this song? Great! That’s four minutes and fifty-eight seconds I haven’t been thinking about those dead weights formerly known as my feet.

9. “Brave” – Sara Bareilles

Forget existential crises. It’s time to take a swig of water, channel my inner Forrest Gump, and just keep running.

10. “Under Pressure” – Queen

Ugh. I’ve hit the wall. This race is halfway through, right? RIGHT???

11. “I Hate Everything About You” – Three Days Grace

I don’t want to know what mile it is. There’s got to be massive amounts of blood sloshing around in my right shoe. My left hip may just explode at any second. Thanks to my knees, every step is a new experiment in pain. What kind of crazy person actually enjoys this? When I finish this race, I’m going to set my shoes on fire and throw them into the ocean. That’s the best idea I’ve had all day. Burn, shoes, burn…

12. “I Will Survive” – Gloria Gaynor

…but, wait, what’s this? A glorious disco anthem? Even I can’t deny that my feet feel incrementally lighter. Not by much, but just enough to keep me going. Gloria Gaynor, you inspire me.

13. “Burn” – Ellie Goulding

Who needs Jock Jams? Forget burning my shoes. That finish line feels closer already.

14. “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” – Kelly Clarkson

Nothing’s impossible with Kelly Clarkson. Nothing.

15. “SexyBack” – Justin Timberlake, Timbaland

I'm too tired to debate the masterful lyrical qualities of this song.  And who cares?  The beat puts me in the Z-O-N-E.

16. “Praise You” – Fatboy Slim

I dedicate this song to my feet. Feet really are amazing, aren’t they?

17. “Keep on Running” – The Spencer Davis Group

If it’s good enough to help Simon Pegg run a marathon in  Run, Fatboy, Run, it’s good enough for me. Anything is good for me at this point.

18. “One More Time” – Daft Punk

One more burst of energy. I’m so, so, so close to the end. Less than a mile. My heartbeat is ringing in my ears, my entire body is drenched in sweat, and I smell like a beached whale, but I don’t care. Did I mention I’m so, so, so close to the end?

19. “Don’t Stop Believing” – Journey

The finish line! I can see it! I can’t even finish this song I’m so excited.

20. “Chariots of Fire” – Vangelis, instrumental theme from Chariots of Fire

I’m willing my body to sprint through the finish line while ripping off my shirt à la Brandi Chastain before doing a dramatic Lambeau leap into the non-existent bleachers!

Actually, as I slowly hobble across that finish line, I’m transported in my mind to that classic scene in the movie. It’s now just the beach, me and the waves and the water and my feet carrying me as fast as I can manage. And, wow, it feels incredible.

So.

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