Diary of a Slightly Scared Runner: The Sound of Music

As a runner, as with life, change is inevitable. Trainers need replaced. Nagging injuries flare up. And isn’t it about time you replaced those grotty tracksuit trousers?

Amidst these ups and downs, blood, sweat and tears, I take reassurance from my one constant companion. Music. I love a good song.

I’ll never forget my first half marathon when my usually reliable iPod decided to stop dead in its tracks, about four miles in. Sadly, despite my frantic efforts, nothing could be done to revive it.

It really threw me. I finished the run, but it just wasn’t the same. Cue sad music.

My musical taste is eclectic at best, haphazard at worst. I have everything on my iPhone, from children’s songs to rock anthems, classical, dance, heavy metal, it’s all in there. The Birdie Song and The Chemical Brothers. Alicia Keys and Alice Cooper. And I can get quite frustrated if I feel the wrong song is on while I’m running. No, I don’t want a Celine Dion weepy when I’m struggling to breathe and desperate to complete that final mile. I need BOOM BOOM BOOM! A solid beat please. And I’m going to flick through songs at lightning speed until I find the right one.

I also find the word “run” in songs helps. Yeah, yeah, I know, it figures. “Run to You,” “Running up that Hill”. The Black Eyed Peas: “Keep running running, keep running, running…dooh dooh!” Snow Patrol’s Run. “And we’ll run for our lives…” You get the picture.

Uplifting songs also work, particularly those with a girl power* theme. “You go girl.” Yeah. One of my favourites is Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter”. My feet hammer into the pavement as the words ring out.  “Makes me that much stronger, thanks for making me…a fighter”.

I even owe sugartastic 80s pop icon Tiffany a drink for helping my running efforts, thanks to her stellar – and I suspect only – hit, “I Think We’re Alone Now”. “Running just as fast as we can [caan caan caan].

Lady Gaga is another friend. Absolutely anything by Gaga will do, although The Edge of Glory is a cracker. And let’s face it, it’s always better to go running with someone even crazier than you.

Some other songs just don’t cut the mustard. Sorry Fatboy Slim. I love your hit Rockafeller Skank, but its slowing at the end is not ideal. Instead, it leaves me running like a Hollywood star in a slow-mo action film sequence. Then I have to swear and start song shuffling in my mad-runner-woman way.

Weirdest one I run to is The Lion Sleeps Tonight. Despite mentioning slumber, which always sounds like a good idea after anything more than six miles, it works. A-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh….

So, Aguilera, Gaga, Tiffers, Tight Fit:  Thank you for the Music. Don’t run to that though. Sorry Abba.

*A term of empowerment, expressed as a cultural phenomenon of the 1990s and early 2000s. See also: Spice Girls.


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