What Is The Best Pre-Race Music?

There a dozen things running through your mind on race morning: Do I have my bib number? Did I pack enough gels? Where are my water bottles? Where do I park? Is it too cold for shorts this morning? Where are my car keys?

Hopefully, you have all of those things sorted out the night before.

Once you’re in the car and you’ve got all you need, what do you listen to as you make your way to the starting line? Are you the type that likes silence so you can meditate on how your race is going to go? Or, do you require music?

I need music. We’re talking “Eye of the Tiger,” get-me-in-the-zone kinda stuff.

This Sunday, about a dozen family and friends will join me in running the Lincoln Half-Marathon. Many have never run a half-marathon, some have never even worn a race bib. So, it’s a big day. For the 45-minute drive, I encouraged them to burn a CD of motivating songs, or I suppose it is 2011, what playlist they wanted to listen to from their iPod.

Words of warning, though: Careful what songs you select because, more than likely, they will play on repeat in your head throughout the race.

Here are some songs I’ve either listened to before past races, would listen to if I didn’t have to take into consideration other people in the car, and some I just recommend because I know they have motivating power for someone out there. A lot of these songs won’t actually make my Sunday morning cut, but I wanted to put a lot on the list to give people variety.

“Eye of the Tiger,” Survivor – Cheesy? Yes. Effective? Oh yeah.
“You’re the best,” by Joe Esposito – Another cheesy ’80s song? You bet.
“Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues,” the Eels – I listened to this on repeat before my first marathon. The refrain was something I wanted to remind myself before I inflicted myself with 26.2 miles of hurt.
“All These Things That I’ve Done,” The Killers
“Float On,” Modest Mouse – For those hipster runners out there
“I Run For Life,” Melissa Etheridge – This one is not on my playlist because it always makes me cry, but it reminds me of why I love Team in Training
“The Distance,” Cake
“Running Down a Dream,” Tom Petty
“Sir Duke,” Stevie Wonder
“Flight of the Valkyries,” Wagner – For the classical running geeks
“I Like to Move it Move it” – For the “Madagascar” fans out there
“Kernkraft 400,” Zombie Nation – A techno song you’ve heard, though you never knew the name (skip to 45 seconds in an you’ll recognize the song)
“Right Now,” Van Halen – Hey, it’s your tomorrow
“It’s My Live,” Bon Jovi – Admittedly, it won’t make the playlist cut, but I know it would be a good motivator for some of you out there
“Lose Yourself,” Eminem – Not my thing, but so many runners recommend this song
“Sabotage,” Beastie Boys
“Everybody Dance Now,” C+C Music Factory
“Little Less Conversation,” Elvis vs JXL
“Thunderstruck,” AC/DC

For whole forums on the subject of running songs, check out here, here and here.

Everyone has different tastes, so please share songs you like as well in the comments below.

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About kareiner

I'm an active mom who loves to cook. I'm passionate about health and fitness. I'm no expert, nutritionist, personal trainer or miracle worker. I just like being active and I like good food.
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