So it's been pretty obvious from reading my blog during the past 6 months that I'm moving more and eating less.
Part of me moving more is wholly dependent on a) choosing an activity I can stick to, and b) ably supporting it with music.
My current activities are running, biking and swimming. The latter two don't really work so well with music, from both a safety and practicality standpoint. But running? That's the basket containing all of my iTunes eggs.
I've been asked by a number of you to share some of my mixes and I'm happy to do so. Keep in mind, different music motivates different people. You may not really be a big Billy Joel fan and may scratch your head as you realize my whole "I like cool music" front is nothing but a clever ruse. Still, perhaps my added commentary will help to explain where my head was at the time.
Let's begin, shall we?
It started back in March, when I was really just starting to make progress in my short running career. I think I had managed to work my way up to 15 or 20 minutes of nonstop jogging at around 4 mph. The mix that helped push me there? The Michael Jackson Run Mix:
True, a few non-MJ songs brought this mix home, but this collection was a happy experiment. I rarely like to workout to one artist for the entire time. Yes, I'll put more than one track by the same artist on a mix, but not THIS many.
The mix worked really well for me. Who doesn't like a good MJ song every now and then, right? I mean, it's actually hard to hold still while listening to mama say, mama sa, mama coo sa. By the time I warmed up (2 minutes of walking before jogging) and got to Smooth Criminal, I was a sweaty mess. I never really made it to the end of the mix though. I'd do my 30 minutes, then just jump ahead to the cool down songs (Human Nature and Down to Earth.)
But Michael was growing tired for me, and I knew: time to mix it up (yes, pun intended.)
Enter Run Mix 2:
This mix was designed with a bit more grit in mind. Some old school hip hop (Rapper's Delight, a song that I made up a really elaborate dance to in the 8th grade, and Fight the Power) combined with a bit of good old dance pop and electronica-tinged pop. This mix pushed me into the 30 minutes of running category (still in my basement, mind you). I realized that the hip hoppier/dance beats were a better bet for continued success.
Then, I started running outside with Run Mix 3:
You will notice mix carryover. Some songs were just too good to leave behind. This mix still reminds me of the shock and awe of running outside, and realizing, holy hell, that I actually liked it BETTER! Starting off with that Dixie Chicks song was perfection. I really was taking the long way around to better health and fitness. Not a shortcut in sight. It was almost a spiritual way to kick off a run. Again, the mix was way longer than what I needed, but therein lies the beauty of being able to jump around.
Favorite song of this mix? Tidal Wave by Owl City. It never fails to pick me up and make me feel instantly more floaty and light.
Next up, my recent running favorite, the ingeniously named Run Mix 4:
Again, you've got your carry over songs, along with a whole new gaggle of songs to test out. Some favorites on this mix? Creep by Radiohead (surprisingly motivating), Root Down by The Beastie Boys (makes me giggle and feel really hip hop and old school), Everlong by Foo Fighters (you will have no choice but to pick up your pace just a bit), X-Static Process by Madonna (even though it's a slower song, I LOVED having this at the end of my run), and Some Fantastic by Barenaked Ladies (a nice cool down song that just makes me happy.)
My newest mix hasn't even been tested yet. In fact, by the time you are reading this post, hopefully, I will have hit the road and can report back via Twitter: success or failure. And you guessed it! It's called Run Mix 5.
I am anticipating two things: 1) Secret World (from the Secret Live World disk), at nine minutes, will be either the most epic run song for me ever, or conversely, one of the worst) 2) One Tree Hill by U2 will make me run as if carried along by glitter-laden, gossamer wings, and 3) Running to a Stand Still will find me curled up in a fetal position weeping.
By all means, while I'm out there work-shopping this one, please do share your favorite workout songs in the comments today. It's such a great way to get some new and motivating tunage.
Note: but please, for the love of iTunes, I urge you: be more creative than me in naming your mixes. I'm guessing that won't be a hard bill to fill.