Music and Motivation for the 2010 Virgin London Marathon delivered by AudioFuel Running Music
How to make your own running playlists
Whether it’s to make you run faster, slower or relax
Make your own playlist
Andy Lane, who works with top athletes to help them make their playlists and AudioFuel’s music director, Howie Saunders, give you their tips here for how to make your own.

They need to be fit for purpose; to inspire you to train; to keep pushing you forward while you run; to increase fitness with interval training; or to relax you after the work is done.
Sennheiser PMX 680
1. Tempo

It’s an obvious place to start. If you want to be pushed along at a fast pace then choose tracks that have a fast tempo (beat). And an obvious beat that’s easy to hear. If you are going for a recovery run or a long run choose tracks with a slower tempo. And for a relaxing track the beat is likely to be slow and soft.

A track that will keep you at a good running pace will probably have between 160 and 180 beats per minute.

By 135 beats per minute you will find yourself walking. To find music categorised by beat per minute, try taking a look at
ELO Horace Wimp
Some examples

The Diary of Horrace Wimp by ELO has a very clear beat and will have you running at around 160 beats per minute - that’s around 9 or 10 kilomentres per hour on a treadmill - depending on your stride length. If you keep your feet in time to the beat of Madonna’s Hung Up, you’ll find yourself going at a brisk walk. It’s around 135 beats per minute.
2. Genre

Well it’s gotta be the kind of music you like listening to... You might try out some new stuff but if you don’t like it, it probably won’t do anything to help your running.

So anything goes, but genre is related of course to vibe. And vibe is a key part of how music affects your emotions; dance and pop generally bounce you up; thrashing rock can inject some positive aggression, soaring choral work in the classical genre inspires.
Some runners find that trance gets them into the zone for a long run, (others think its like torture!) and chilled lounge might be what you find relaxing. Of course the vibe often won’t mean there’s a beat to match!
KT Tunstall
Some examples

Suddenly I See by KT Tunstall is a bouncing happy song with a very positive vibe that many runners find a good one for their playlist.. But follow the beat and you’ll be walking slowly!

Check out Zadok the Priest, Handel if you want some choral inspiration. Or part 1 of St John’s Passion, Bach
3. Memories

Memory is a powerful tool that you can use to prompt the right emotions to positively affect the way you feel when you run which will in turn improve your performance.

So try thinking back to some of the happiest periods or moments in your life and pick some songs you listened to from that era to put on a playlist.

Alternatively, songs that have been played in association with success and sporting events can be extremely powerful. A really obvious track is the theme tune to Chariots of Fire (amd of course the theme tune to Rocky!) but there are many more which will resonate with you depending on what kind of sport you watch, who you supported and who won!
Some examples

Well memories are entirely personal aren’t they...
So start digging out those “now that’s what I call music’ CDs! If you’re over the age of 30 Michael Jackson’s gotta be in there somewhere, yes?!

Memorable tracks from sporting events, what are your passions?
Formula One? Cricket? Rugby (it’s coming home), Search a digital store and try them out.
4. Lyrics

You may not have noticed, but the lyrics can have a very positive subliminal effect on your emotions when you run.

So choosing songs that have relevant and encouraging lyrics can help create a very powerful playlist.
Any lyrics about keeping going, getting stronger, pushing through will help with those long runs.

More aggressive lyrics can fire you up to get through some interval training or get out there in the first place if you create a pre run motivational playlist.
Some examples

Well we have got to name that good ol favourite The Eye of the Tiger. Don’t Stop Me Now and We are the Champions by Queen are old favourites too.

Defiance can be another category of lyrics that can power you up; ‘that don’t kill me can only make me stronger’ work well in Stronger by Kanye West.
5. Compiling the list

If you like the idea of a pre-run playlist (to get you in the mood) at least you don’t need to worry about beat. Just an upbeat vibe and some relevant lyrics. And long enough to get you into the right frame of mind to run.

Where a beat really helps is at the start of a race or long run compilation - to stop you from starting off too quick! Equally a steady beat at your comfortable running pace can keep you going .. and going, even when you feel tired. Dropping in a pumping tune at key stages of likely tiredness is a winner.

And of course there’s the length - fairly obvious that you should try creating lists to match the length of run. And if you keep a regular repertoire, and keep to regular routes you will find yourself mentally encouraged to find how much further you travel to your playlist as you get fitter.
Feeder Lost and Found
Some examples

Starting off at a gentle 155 beats per minute is a good place for many to start a long run or a longer race.

Lost and Found by Feeder will pump you up but the beat will hold you back from going too quick.

It’s hard to find many tunes that go at the right pace or length for a sprint, so if you are trying to increase your fitness with some interval training, drop in an AudioFuel sprint.