AC/DC running playlist – 60 minutes

I’m a big fan of AC/DC, so this week I thought I’d create a few running playlists with their music.

This is the first one I ran to and it was amazing.

I specifically picked songs that have a similar rhythm. They’re all relatively slow paced (for running) at around 125 beats per minute (BPM) for those interested in that. I thought it was going to be an easy run and I had planned to run to the beat.

However, as it turned out I got into it and just let go. AC/DC’s music is so energetic that I ran faster than I thought I would. Way faster.

And it’s not just the music, the lyrics also pumped me up.

Hearing the guys sing “T.N.T. I’m dynamite, T.N.T. and I’ll win the fight” 50 minutes into a run, when you’re getting tired, really gives you a burst of new energy. It’s great. I kicked up the pace with this song and finished 10 kilometres in under an hour even though it was supposed to be an easy run.

The playlist starts with the slower pace ones at around 120 BPM, then builds up to 130 BPM and slows down again towards the end.

The Playlist:

Song Album BPM
Rock ‘n Roll Train Black Ice 118
Touch Too Much Highway to Hell 123
Have A Drink On Me Back In Black 124
What Do You Do For Money Honey Back In Black 126
You Shook Me All Night Long Back In Black 128
Givin’ The Dog A Bone Back In Black 131
War Machine Black Ice 129
There’s Gonna Be Some Rockin’ Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap 128
Jailbreak Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap 130
Rocking All The Way Black Ice 126
Big Jack Black Ice 127
Spoilin’ for a Fight Black Ice 125
Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round To Be A Millionaire) Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap 124
T.N.T. High Voltage 125
Anything Goes Black Ice 120

Unfortunately, you can’t get the songs in digital format through either iTunes or Amazon.

The Australian band members have said they won’t sell their music through iTunes because they want people to buy the full album, not just individual songs. I do think people should listen to AC/DC that way for the most part, but it seems silly to me to stay out of iTunes.

So, unless you’re an AC/DC fan like me and already have a bunch of their music, the only way to make a playlist is to purchase full albums in CD. You can get these in Amazon, but only physical CD’s and not digital downloads.

Lesson learned:

As I said, AC/DC turned out to be amazing for running. Energetic music with great rhythm and powerful lyrics. I don’t think you can go wrong with AC/DC.

Rating:

I give it a 5 out of 5.

My favourite playlist so far.

How to create a Smart Playlist in iTunes for running

itunes-playlist-criteria

I mentioned it briefly in my first post, but since I’ve been saying that one of the things I like the most about creating running playlists is rediscovering old music, I thought I’d explain how to create a smart playlist in iTunes it in a little more detail.

What is a Smart Playlist?

In iTunes, a Smart Playlist is one that’s generated based on pre-defined criteria. You define this criteria and iTunes automatically fills it to match. Smart Playlists are also “live”, meaning they’ll change automatically if the criteria changes.

A good example is the “Recently Added”, or “My Top Rated” playlists that come pre-built into iTunes. The content of these will automatically update based on what you do. Add new songs and the “Recently Added” will pull them in. Rate a song 5 stars and it’ll be automatically included in the “My Top Rated” playlist.

How to create a Smart Playlist for running?

If you want to use beats-per-minute (BPM), which I recommend, you first need to add this data to your songs. Unfortunately, songs you purchase don’t come with this information embedded, so you have to figure out a way to add it. I explained how I added BPM for free here. Other than that, it’s really simple:

1. Open iTunes and select ‘Music’ from the Library dropdown on the left and click on ‘Playlists’.

itunes-library-playlists

2. In the lower left, there’s a ‘+’ (plus sign) next to a gear sign. Click on the plus sign and choose ‘New Smart Playlist’. A new window will open where you can select the criteria for your playlist.

itunes-playlist-criteria

In the example above, I’ve chosen:

  • BPM is in the range of 160 to 170
  • Genre is Electronic
  • Plays is 0
  • Limit it to 45 minutes

Note that at the top I checked to match ‘all’ of the following rules. This is important as otherwise it’ll pull songs that match any criteria, not necessarily all.

The BPM will ensure all songs are at a high and consistent tempo. You don’t want to be listening to a very fast song and then get a ballad when you’re in the zone. Genre is self explanatory. Plays at zero means it’s a song that hasn’t been played before. As I mentioned, I have a lot of music that I haven’t gotten around to listening (or that I haven’t heard since I put them in iTunes), and I like to run to music I haven’t heard in a while. The limit ensures the playlist is contained to a certain amount of time.

That’s it. Click OK and a new playlist will be created in your Playlists list in iTunes.

Since the BPM is unfortunately not always correct, I tend to create playlists with more music than I need and then delete the ones that don’t work for running. To do this, just change the limit. For example, if I want a 45 minute playlist I’ll limit it to 60 minutes, giving me a few extra songs.

If I find a playlist that I really like I just copy the songs into a normal playlist and that way they’ll never change.

So there you go. If you were wondering how to create a smart playlist in iTunes, specifically for running, this is a good way.

How do I get motivated? The answer is music.

Someone asked me about motivation this week. What motivates me to run in the rain? What motivates me to run when work email is overflowing? What motivates me to run when there is a new episode of Man vs. Food on TV?

The answer came quick, however the answer took a few different angles.

I am motivated by the obvious health benefits I started feeling in just the first couple of weeks – more energy and deeper sleeping. I’m motivated by the physical changes I’m seeing in the mirror as we approach the half way point. I am motivated to accomplish the goal we all set out of completing the 2011 Vancouver Sun Run.

But how do I get motivated? The answer is music.

via: Sun Run celebrity blog

Brad Challoner, the author of the linked article, indicates that he starts almost every run with Eminem’s Recovery album. And in the post he tells a great story as to why.


Electronica/Dance Running Playlist

Another playlist for running, but this time I filtered by genre and chose Electronica/Dance only. I tried this because there were a few good songs from that genre in the 101 Running Songs from that genre that I enjoyed running to. It seemed like a good genre to try out.

I specifically chose a medium tempo of around 120 beats-per-minute (BPM). That’s a good running pace, but not too fast. The playlist is just over an hour of music.

The Playlist:

Song Artist BPM Amazon iTunes
That Was Just A Dream Cut Copy 119 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
This Boy’s In Love The Presets 123 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Waters Of Nazareth Justice 124 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
This S’it Will Fcuk You Up Combichrist 120 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Operate Peaches 127 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Lullaby Of Clubland Everything But The Girl 126 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
The Careless Kind (Switch Mix) Infusion 126 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Pride Razed In Black 120 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Galaxy Bounce The Chemical Brothers 120 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Isolated Chiasm 125 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Loops Of Fury The Chemical Brothers 119 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Drift (Re-Mastered) Coto Normal 127 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Serial Thrilla The Prodigy 118 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Song To The Siren The Chemical Brothers 111 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Busy Child The Crystal Method 125 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes

Buy the entire playlist in iTunes here.

Lesson learned:

Electronica/Dance is definitely a great genre to run to. I thoroughly enjoyed this playlist.

What I liked the most is the difference between the songs. Even though they’re all from the same genre and similar tempo, they are quite different. Some are a bit mellow and others are fairly aggressive.

I think I agree that running to angry music helps me go harder. Not sure if it soothes my soul though.

Rating:

I give it a 4 out of 5.

iTunes

Slow Run Playlist – 60 minutes

As part of my training plan, I need to do a slow run every week, mid-week. Right now it’s a 40 minute run at a relatively slow pace, but it grows week on week until it reaches 60 minutes.

I thought having high tempo music would encourage me to go faster and that would actually be a bad thing for this run. So I’m trying out a few running playlists with slower songs.

Like my first one, this one was also done as a Smart Playlist, so it’s a bit random. The criteria was very simple:

  • BPM is less than 110
  • Limit to 60 minutes selected by Most Often Played

The result was pretty good… except for 2 things:

  1. There is no way that song from System of a Down (Bounce) is under 110 BPM.
  2. Someone in my family has been playing my songs, because some of those I haven’t heard in a while. It’s strange they’d be considered “Most Often Played”

The first point can be attributed to the errors I got while adding BPM with beaTunes. I just played the song again and manually measured BPM using BPM Tapper and I got 185.

The Playlist:

Song Artist Amazon
Tear Red Hot Chili Peppers Buy in Amazon
I Wanna Touch U Def Leppard Buy in Amazon (full album)
My Iron Lung Radiohead Buy in Amazon
Unkillable Monster Marilyn Manson Buy in Amazon
Billy’s Got a Gun Def Leppard Buy in Amazon (full album)
Frijolero Molotov Buy in Amazon
Dr. Feelgood Motley Crue Buy in Amazon
Not Listening Papa Roach Buy in Amazon
Tell Me The Truth Midnight oil Buy in Amazon
Bounce System Of A Down Buy in Amazon
Stripped Depeche Mode Buy in Amazon
All I Want Is You Barry Louis Polisar Buy in Amazon
One for Rock and Roll Cinderella Buy in Amazon
The State We’re In The Chemical Brothers Buy in Amazon

Lesson learned:

Running to slow music works.

It was actually a very nice run. I ran at a relatively slow pace, didn’t get tired, and did feel like I exercised. It was great listening to music at this pace because you get to pay attention to the tunes and enjoy them more than with a fast run, where the music is more to get you pumped.

I’ll definitely be checking out more slower paced songs to find the perfect slow run playlist for me.

Rating:

I give it a 3 out of 5.


101 Running Songs CD 1 – 80 minutes

I told a friend of mine, who’s also a runner, that I had started this site for running songs. We were having coffee on the weekend and he suggested I looked at a CD set that he had that was a collection of running songs. I looked it up and it’s great.

It’s called, appropriately, 101 Running Songs and it’s exactly what the title suggests.

The set is a collection of 5 CD’s, each with around 20 songs chosen specifically as running music. I imagine it would be pretty cool as workout music for most types of exercise as well. I suggest you have a look at the songs as, like me, you might find many of them are already in your iTunes library. If so, it might be best to buy the individual songs you’re missing and make your own running songs playlist out of it.

This is how the Amazon product description explains it:

This collection of tracks, the latest offering from the hugely successful 101 brand, is the ideal motivation to get the heart thumping and the legs pumping. Contains 101 tracks including cuts from Queen, Outkast, The Ting Tings, Pitbull, Hot Chip, Fatboy Slim, Survivor, T. Rex, Kenny Loggins, Billy Idol, The Dandy Warhols, David Bowie and many others.

Today I put together a playlist with the tracks in the first disc of the set for my morning run. It’s about 80 minutes worth and I have to say it really is a great bunch of running songs.

Even if you don’t particularly like the songs, the beat is relatively fast and consistent and it did keep me pumped. I actually finished the 8 kilometre run at a higher pace than ever before!

The Running Songs:

Song Artist Amazon
Don’t Stop Me Now Queen Buy in Amazon
The Rockafeller Skank Fatboy Slim Buy in Amazon
Hey Ya Outkast Buy in Amazon
Wake Me Up Before You Go Go Wham Buy in Amazon
Rebel Yell Billy Idol Buy in Amazon
Lust For Life Iggy Pop Buy in Amazon
One Way Or Another Blondie Buy in Amazon
Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Dub Apollo 440 Buy in Amazon
Reet Petite Jackie Wilson Buy in Amazon
Candyman (radio edit) Christine Aguilera Buy in Amazon
Mambo No 5 (A Little Bit Of) Lou Bega Buy in Amazon
Footloose Kenny Loggins Buy in Amazon
Modern Love David Bowie Buy in Amazon
Black And White Town Doves Buy in Amazon
Milk And Alcohol Dr. Feelgood Buy in Amazon
Goody Two Shoes Adam Ant Buy in Amazon
Fascination Alphabeat Buy in Amazon (album)
Ooh La La Goldfrapp Buy in Amazon
Speed Of Sound Coldplay Buy in Amazon
How To Save A Life Fray Buy in Amazon

Lesson learned from these running songs:

There were a few surprises. For example, I was amazed at how good Footloose is as a running song. I don’t really like the song that much. I certainly wouldn’t listen to it in a different context or just because I felt like it. But as a song for running it’s great. As soon as it started I could feel myself getting pumped and for some reason made me smile.

Mambo No 5 is also pretty cool. I felt like I was dancing to it more than running, which made it more enjoyable.

Rating:

I give it a 5 out of 5. It’s a great collection of running songs.

If you’re interested in the full 5 CD set you can get it from Amazon:

 

Rock Music Playlist – 60 minutes

This time around, I decided to go with a rock/alternative running playlist for this week’s jogging.

Instead of doing a smart playlist as previously, I just filtered by genre and randomly listed to a few songs and made a very quick decision. If they sounded “runnable” I threw them into a playlist, if they were too slow I skipped them.

I did this very fast until I had roughly 60 minutes worth or songs for running. I didn’t want to think about the songs too much as I really liked the feeling of listening to stuff I hadn’t heard in a long time or even ever!

I realised I have a lot of songs I just haven’t heard.

I’ve purchased way too many CD’s over the years and I either never got around to listening to the whole thing or I just don’t remember. There are also songs that others in the family have purchased that I hadn’t heard. Since we keep all music in a huge shared library, there’s a lot to choose from. This will be fun.

The Rock Music Running Playlist:

Song Artist BPM Amazon
Love foolosophy Jamiroquai 129 Buy in Amazon
Alt.end The Cure 115 Buy in Amazon
Not Afraid Earshot 84 Buy in Amazon
Pardon Me Incubus 76 Buy in Amazon
Yesterday’s Today Living Syndication 171 Buy in Amazon
Guerilla Radio Rage Against The Machine 207 Buy in Amazon
The Door Silverchair 184 Buy in Amazon (full album)
Suck My Kiss Red Hot Chili Peppers 102 Buy in Amazon
Song 2 Blur 172 Buy in Amazon
Around the World Red Hot Chili Peppers 155 Buy in Amazon
Everlong Foo Fighters 79 Buy in Amazon
Brighter Than The Sun Tiamat 134 Buy in Amazon
Juicebox The Strokes 155 Buy in Amazon
Black Bugs Regurgitator 65 Buy in Amazon
Brown Eyed Girl Everclear 110 Buy in Amazon
Break My Body Pixies 127 Buy in Amazon

 

Lesson learned from this running playlist:

This rock music running playlist turned out great. I chose the songs just by ear and it worked. I’ll do a few more of those using different genres.

What I’m now convinced of is that the software I used to calculate BPM didn’t do a good job.The difference in the tunes on this playlist are just way too big that it doesn’t sound right. Either they’re wrong or I don’t fully understand BPM.

(UPDATE: I found a better way to add BPM to songs in iTunes).

Rating:

I give this rock music running playlist a 4 out of 5. It was pretty cool

Latin Music Playlist – 55 minutes

After my previous running playlist failed attempt, I re-run the smart playlist in iTunes with 2 changes:

  1. BPM is in the range 190 and 195
  2. Limit to 60 minutes

I kept the genre to contain “Latin” as I wanted to get what I thought the previous playlist should’ve been. Note that I have genres for “Latin Pop”, “Latin Rock”, “Latin Mariachi”, “Latin Salsa”, etc., so setting the rule to Genre contains “Latin” will pick up anything that has the word “Latin”.

I found similar issues as previously with BPM. I don’t think they’re correct.

The first song that came up, Suelta Mi Mano (Let go of my hand) by Sin Bandera, is a ballad. A good song, but not a “running” song by any means. I guess it was OK as the first one for a bit of a warm up, but I would definitely exclude it from the playlist next time.

Then it goes into a pretty fast paced death metal type song by Brujeria, then into a couple of pop/reggae style tunes by Mana, then back into slow ballads, then rock, etc. You get the point. I think the rhythm changes way too much, which is not ideal for a playlist of songs for running.

The Running Playlist:

Song Artist BPM Amazon iTunes
Suelta Mi Mano Sin Bandera 192 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Raza Odiada (Pito Wilson) Brujeria 190 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Te solte la rienda Mana 193 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
En el muelle de San Blas Mana 193 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Dudar? Quizas Enrique Bunbury 194 Buy in Amazon
Quisiera ser Alejandro Sanz 190 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Sin Ti Sin Mi Ricardo Arjona 195 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Brujerias Victimas del doctor cerebro 195 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Salida Miguel Rios 192 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Inocencia Efecto Mariposa 190 Buy in Amazon
King Kong Five Manu Chao 190 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
cai (con nina pastori) Alejandro Sanz 192 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Frijolero Molotov 190 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Si He Cantado Mal Alejandro Sanz 193 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes

 

Lesson learned from this running playlist:

Although the combination of songs was a bit random, I found this a great way to listen to old forgotten songs I haven’t heard in a while. Some of them were quite a surprise taking me back to my high school days. That’s really cool.

 

Rating:

I give it a 2 out of 5, just because the rhythm varies too much for a running playlist.

My first running playlist, Latin Music – 45 minutes

This is my first running music playlist.

It’s the first time I’ve built a playlist specifically for running, so I decided to do a smart playlist and let iTunes pick the songs based on set criteria.

I wanted to do a 6 kilometre run on a fairly hilly track, so I figured about 45 minutes of music would be more than enough.

For some reason, I was in the mood for latin music today. I thought it might be a good match for running at a comfortable pace of around 6:30 minutes per kilometre. Plus, I have literally thousands of songs in Spanish that I really like and haven’t heard in a while.

The running playlist has the following rules as the image below shows:

  1. Beats per minute (BPM) is 190
  2. Genre contains “Latin”
  3. Limit to 45 minutes selected by random
Latin music playlist itunes running

As far as running playlists go, this one turned out OK, but not great.

For one, I’m not sure how the BPM (beats per minute) is calculated, but it doesn’t seem entirely accurate. I’ll write about how I added BPM to my entire library in another post. (UPDATE: Here’s how to add BPM in iTunes)

The first song starts with a long intro with people talking and the music doesn’t kick in until about 1:30 into it. Hardly what you want in a running playlist. Once it starts it’s ok though, it’s a fairly fast song. But the boring intro is annoying while running. Then the second one is more of a rhythm ballad. Nice for running, but completely different from the first. The rest are pretty good until the last one, which is just an intro to an album. Not sure how this is 190 BPM.

The bigger issue is that even though I thought I’d capped the time at 45 minutes, the actual playlist is only 20 minutes! I later realised that restricting it to songs with exactly 190 BPM is the problem. Not many songs are exactly 190.

So, my music ran out about half way into the run. I ended up fumbling with my iPhone while running to play something else.

The Running Playlist:

Song Artist BPM Amazon iTunes
Raza Odiada (Pito Wilson) Brujeria 190 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Quisiera ser Alejandro Sanz 190 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Inocencia Efecto Mariposa 190 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
King Kong Five Manu Chao 190 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Frijolero Molotov 190 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Intro Luis Miguel 190 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes

Buy the entire Playlist in iTunes here.

Lesson learned from this running playlist:

The main thing I learned is to check the actual total time in iTunes. With this one, it turns out I don’t have enough songs in my “Latin” genres that are exactly 190 BPM, so it couldn’t fill the 45 minutes I had in the rule. Running out of music halfway through a run is not fun.

Rating:

I give my first running playlist a 2 out of 5.