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Riffs: My "Ultimate Running Mix"

lungfishWho needs a personal trainer when you have Lungfish? (Photo: Jon A. Evans)

By Chris Richards

Please pardon this extremely self-indulgent autobiographical blog post, but I ran in a ten mile race, yesterday. It wasn't pretty, but I finished the course with something resembling dignity.

And the earbuds were a must. Without the mystical motivational powers of music, I would have been puking in the bushes by mile three. If Fleetwood Mac can keep you from retching on your Asics, isn't that some kind of miracle?

After the jump, check out the Ultimate Running Mix I've been meticulously composing all summer long, along with commentary about how certain songs got me through my 93-minute slog. And please share your most reliable cardio-jams in the comments.

1. Best Coast, "When I'm With You"
My personal summer anthem of 2010 starts slow and then kicks in at a good warm-up pace.

2. Fleetwood Mac, "Hold Me"
This lovely '80s Mac bauble took my mind off the 9.5 miles ahead.

3. Lil B, "I'm God"
Inspirational intro monologue + Imogen Heap sample = win, win, win, no matter what.

4. Lungfish, "Love is Love"
When it comes to repetitive, motivational guitar riffage, I take Lungfish over AC/DC on the treadmill or the track.

5. Lucy Pearl, "Dance Tonight"
I definitely scared some fellow runners as I sang along to this one.

6. Carmen, "Time To Move"
"Every time I hear this groove, it makes me wanna move." Correct.

7. Fast Life Youngstaz, "Swag Surfin"
When the beat dropped at 0:42, I just started sprinting. It lasted about a minute.

8. Roscoe Dash feat. Soulja Boy Tell 'Em, "All the Way Turnt Up"
Two tracks in a row produced by Kevin “KE On Tha Track” Erondu. I should send this guy a thank you note.

9. Hodgy Beats, "Turnt Down"
Make that three tracks. This is Hodgy Beats of the incredible Odd Future crew, spitting over a screwed-down "Turnt Up." No proper YouTube video, but you can watch some kids skating to it, below.

10. Fleetwood Mac, "That's All for Everyone"
All summer, I divided my running mixes into thirds: the pleasant, mid-tempo intro to get me started, the spacey middle section to get my mind off the pain, and the heart-bursting finale to get me to the finish line. Fleetwood Mac makes its second appearance in this mix to usher in said spacey middle section. (Crazy there's no video of this incredible song on YouTube. Listen here.)

11. Steve Reich, "Eight Lines"
So begins the official space-out portion of the race. I've always been drawn to this Reich piece for it's cinematic and meditative qualities. All summer, I've jogged past federal government buildings listening to "Eight Lines" in its full, 18-minute glory, imagining that I'm a character in some '70s political thriller, quietly running for my life.

12. PJ Harvey, "Good Fortune"
Not exactly sure why this wonderful love song makes me run faster, but it does.

13. The-Dream, "Love King"
I hit the seven-mile mark singing this one at the top of my lungs. Apologies to the fellow runners I undoubtedly frightened. I hope I wasn't as distracting as the guy who ran the entire race juggling bean bags.

14. Waka Flocka Flame, "O Let's Do It"
No more love songs. Time for some tough stuff.

15. The Soft Pack, "Pull Out"
Now entering the California punk rock portion of the mix.

16. Wrangler Brutes, "Sudden Adult Death Syndrome"
More Cali-punk. Too punk for YouTube! Preview here.

17. Skull Kontrol, "New Rock Critic"
Erstwhile D.C. punks whining about how Washington needs a new rock critic? Sure. As someone who responds to negative motivation, I took a walking break during this song -- a final act of mental self-flagellation before pulling into the home stretch. (Listen here.)

18. No Age, "Teen Creeps"
California punk lifts my spirits back out of the gutter.

19. DG Yola, "Ain't Gon Let Up"
This song is the post-crunk "Eye of the Tiger" with steel drums.

20. Lil Wayne, "Go DJ"
This song is the post-crunk "Eye of the Tiger" with Lil Wayne bars.

21. Fugazi, "Merchandise"
In high school, I got in a gnarly car accident listening to this song. Today, it's my personal survival anthem.

22. Florence + the Machine, "Dog Days Are Over"
And now for the big finish. I took the lyrics quite literally, here: "Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father/ Run for your children, for your sisters and brothers." Thanks, Florence.

By Chris Richards  |  August 30, 2010; 2:45 PM ET
Categories:  Riffs  | Tags: Riffs  
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My favorite running songs:

Trouble Funk - Let's Get Small, Pump Me Up
Rare Essence - Do You Know What Time It Is, Lock It
Chuck Brown - Block Party, Hoochie Coochie Man, Woody Woodpecker
DJ Flexxx - The Water Dance, Ride Out
Stinky Dink - One Track Mind
Vybe Band - Can't Go for That
Pure Elegance - One Leg Up
Notorious B.I.G. - One More Chance (Hip-Hop Mix), Mo' Money Mo' Problems
Wale - Dig Dug, Ice Cream Girl
Funkadelic - Not Just Knee Deep, One Nation Under a Groove
Zapp - Dance Floor, More Bounce to the Ounce

That's been the rotation lately, anyway.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | August 30, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Two words: James Brown. He'll keep you moving no matter what you're doing.

Posted by: Miles_Standish_Proud | August 30, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Amazing list, L777.

Posted by: ChrisRichards | August 30, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Pretty much all of my time working out is done in a gym. So the main requirement of my workout sound is that it remains unrelentingly loud to stomp out the vaguely christian power-pop being piped into every corner of the place.

Women – Cameras
Liars – Plaster Casts of Everything
Prince – Black Sweat
*curtsy* - Wonderful People
Tobacco – Motorlicker
Tom Waits – Shake it
Health – Die Slow
R. Kelly – Like I Do
Beck – Black Tambourine
Animal Collective – Runnin’ the Round Ball
The Spiral Starecase – More Today Than Yesterday
The Roots – Rock You
The Walkmen – Angela Surf City
Jamie Lidell – Coma Chameleon
Beach Boys – You’re So Good To Me

Posted by: Mat_ | August 31, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Mat_, Have you heard the South Rakkas Crew remix of "Black Tambourine"? KILLER STUFF!

Posted by: ChrisRichards | August 31, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

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