Marathon Soundtrack

Another easy 3 miler today. I’ve been consistently hitting every distance and pace goal throughout my 8 week base training plan and the first 2 and a half weeks of my full marathon training plan. I’m growing increasingly impatient for the longer, harder runs, so today I had to go back and re-read my “Too Much Too Soon” post from last week to remind myself that marathon training is not a sprint. It is, well, a marathon, so to speak. The miles will start picking up next week. In the meantime, I’ve begun the process of developing a playlist for my race.

I run with music more often than not. For years my go-to music was a Sony Walkman MP3 player with 2000+ songs in shuffle mode. It’s an old friend that seems to have a mind of its own and a (sometime cruel) sense of humor. I remember running a half marathon on a cold, cloudy morning. I turned a corner, the sun suddenly broke through, and the Walkman served up The Beatles’ classic “Good Day Sunshine.” Nice. In 2012 I was on pace to complete the Grand Rapids marathon in a personal record 4 hours and 20 minutes. I hit the wall at mile 19 and struggled to finish at all. As I staggered across the finish line at 5 hours and 18 seconds, ol’ Mr. Walkman evidently thought it would be funny to play Ian Hunter’s “Dead Man Walking.” I was not amused.

This year I joined Amazon Music Unlimited and bought my first pair of Bluetooth headphones so I can listen through my phone. My music lately is less random as I select an album, playlist, or Amazon station to listen to while I run. Some days I pick old favorites, others I listen to something new. Either way when I finish I note any songs that might be a good fit for my marathon playlist. Like many runners, I suspect, what I’m listening to influences my pace. I have experimented with playlists designed to help manage pace on a few half marathons with reasonably good success. Slower tunes at the beginning can temper the urge to go out too fast. I like to lead off with Cyndi Lauper’s “I’m Gonna Be Strong” followed by Al Green’s “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.” Both have the perfect pace, but are pretty sad songs, so I need to shift to something a little more upbeat pretty quickly. Nice little ditties like “Rock & Roll Music” by The Frost or Humble Pie’s “I Don’t Need No Doctor.”

One song that is new (to me) this year will be on my list for sure, maybe even more than once. If the playlist I’m putting together is the soundtrack of my 2017 Chicago Marathon, “Walk Like a Giant” by Neil Young and Crazy Horse is the theme song. It is 16 minutes of driving, distorted guitar with Neil reminiscing about the days when he and his friends were going to save the world (“I used to walk like a giant on the land”) and his desire to walk like a giant once again. At random times throughout the song there is a bit a comic relief by way of whistling reminiscent of the British soldiers whistling the “Colonel Bogey March” as the entered the POW camp in “The Bridge on the River Kwai.”  It’s hard to explain exactly why, but “Walk Like a Giant” seems to me to be the perfect running song.

I will round out the soundtrack with songs from my favorite genres, classic rock, 50’s and 60’s pop, Christian rock and gospel blues. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment. (BTW I review all comments before posting to protect my blog from spammers and hackers. So if you comment, it will not show up immediately.)



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2 thoughts on “Marathon Soundtrack”

  1. I already eluded to it. Speaking of Neil Young, how about starting off with his slow ballad; “Long May You Run?” It seems like a good fit, but I know next to nothing about training for marathons, except what I’ve learned from you.

    I enjoy reading your well written blog entries. You have an obvious flare for the art. Have a good day, brother!

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