On The Run: Volume Two

Race Day

Chad W. Lutz
​It's true what they say: there's a significant difference between the regular season and the postseason. Lacing your running shoes for a race as opposed to two or three miles around the neighborhood just carries that much more weight. Everything matters more, and it goes beyond the obvious. And whenever I create a playlist, I definitely take this into consideration.

It's hard to pick out the right songs sometimes, especially when it comes to racing. Factor in some races only last us a half hour or less and it becomes even more difficult. For some of us, we need every ounce of energy we can squeeze from our favorite guitar solos or base drops, and then some. Running is a spiritual undertaking in itself, then you factor in something as mood- and life-altering as music into the equation, and the result is some serious business we're talking about here.

If you're like me, you probably spend more time thinking about the playlist you're going to run to than you do running the race or competing in whatever event you have coming up itself. If you've been to one of my races before, there's no doubt you've seen me fiddling with my iPod and dancing around the start line for most of my warm-ups. That's just me making sure I have the right vibe going. Running in my neighborhood, it doesn't matter as much, but when it comes to racing, having the right music playing almost doesn't need to happen, it has to happen.

Me? I like to stick to tried and true classics and personal favorites. Nothing says, "Get me pumped," quite like the cliché anthems of our generation. Is it cheesy? Absolutely. But I've always felt that's the kind of attitude you want going into a race: straight cheese. There have been very few and rare occasions where I've pulled out new music on race day. That's usually what I save the training runs for. So, to give you a better idea of what I listen to, I've compiled a list of some of my favorite songs to run to on race day.

*Warning: the music contained within this article may have you doing backflips at your desk*

Muse - Knights of Cydonia (2006)

​From the ominous, horse-neighing intro to the song's furious, guitar-driven epic climax, Muse's "Knights of Cydonia" takes me to interstellar levels of amped. The chorus alone is enough to induce an adrenaline overdose. Bellamy cries out, "No one's going to take me alive!" Touché, sir. Touché. No one is going to take me alive, not with your falsetto and the band's thundering energy pushing me along. A great song for the start, finish, or anywhere else in between.

Queen - We Will Rock You/We are the Champions (1977)

​It's hard to ignore one of the most celebrated anthems of the modern era of music. Recorded in 1977, "We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions" is a seminal ballad about overcoming odds and taking names in the process. A lot of people, especially in this seemingly self-deprecating and cynical time period we appear to be living in, don't really like clichés. Well, being that this song is one of the biggest sports clichés is of little-to-no matter.

There's a reason practically everyone in the world recognizes the stomp-stomp-clap signature rhythm of the tune. It's because it's good. A dose of this toward the ends of races when the gas begins to run out is the perfect way to rebound and finish strong.

Father John Misty - Ideal Husband (2015)

​Never mind the lyrics about a scuzzy, deadbeat boyfriend and his inability to commit to anything other than drugs and alcohol. This song flat out rocks, and its self-indulging lyrics mimic the insane energy of the track itself. "Ideal Husband" picks up steam as it rolls along, thundering into a climax of crashing cymbals and crunchy guitar that will leave you motoring across the course. Personally, the repeated line, "said something dumb like I'm tired of running," is like taking a cattle prod to the aorta. Pump one fist in the air as the song rounds out and Father John Misty calls out his "ohs." You'll feel like a god.

Gary Glitter - Rock'n Roll Part II (1972)

​So, he's a pedophile. He's also the creator of one of the most prolific sports anthems in the history of the universe. It's to the point where you can't even spell "sports" without Gary Glitter. Well, technically, you can, but that's neither here nor there. I can't think of a better song to get me pumped before the gun goes off, or even on the drive to the race, than "Rock'n Roll Part II."

Eminem - Lose Yourself (2002)

​As far as anybody knows for sure, we all only get one shot at life. Is there anything you've ever yearned for so bad it hurts? I bet there is, and that exact sentiment is what drove Eminem to write 2002's smash hit "Lose Yourself." There isn't a single part of this song that doesn't scream "motivation." Every ounce of my focus becomes a fine, sharp point whenever I put this track on. I can feel my heart overflow and my adrenaline bubble. It's the perfect combination music meets lyrics, and it's one of my favorites to vibe to standing on the starting line.
​Well, there you have it: a small sampling of the songs I use to get me locked in before the starts of races. Leave us a comment on our Facebook page sharing some of the songs you use to get pumped up. I'd love to hear what you're listening to.