My marathon playlist tips


After my recent interview on Every Little Thing, the show asked me if I would be willing to share my playlist for running a marathon. Listeners were requesting it. I happily did so and they posted it on Twitter. It includes lot of news music, but also some other songs that I enjoy listening to.

Music provides great motivation for working out. Because I’ve spent a lot of time meticulously compiling my playlist, I wanted to share some tips on how you can compile your ultimate marathon playlist.

— Only include music you really like. There are times to experiment with music but running a marathon is not that time. At several points, when a song I loved started playing, it gave me an extra kick.

— Generally speaking, faster paced music is better for running. But when you’re running for a couple of hours straight, variation is also really important. That’s why I included some slower songs as well. (I sometimes listen to film scores but never while running.) Especially when a fast song comes on after a slower song, it gave me some extra motivation.

— My goal was to complete the marathon in 3 hours and 20 minutes and that’s how long my playlist was. If I did not meet my goal, there would be dead silence. I primarily wanted to give myself some extra motivation. But I also didn’t want to focus on not meeting my goal beforehand. (I ultimately finished in 3:18:42.)

— Beforehand I anticipated what would be tough spots in the marathon. Things get really tough after about 19 miles so I made sure I had some really great songs at that point in my playlist. Analyzing the course, there were some spots that would likely not have many spectators on the sidelines so that’s where music is more important as well. Based on the average speed that I expected to be running, I calculated when my absolute favorite songs would be most useful.

— I chose the song to cross the finish line with quite carefully but ultimately, it did not matter. Near the finish, there are so many spectators and lots of other things that produce noise, that it drowns out all the sound in your headphones. That’s of course what makes a marathon great. However, it makes the music for your last mile or so not that important.

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