Run a 5k in Record Time With My Playlist

Setting out to run a 5k isn’t an easy task.  Even the best of the best tend to hit a wall at some point during the race.  For me, it’s most of the way through mile two.  With a playlist like mine, however, you can power through that wall on your way to a new personal record.  I recently wrote a post on how I trained to run a 5k in one week.  I used this playlist to help me.

The difference between going out to run a sprint and going out to run a 5k is the mental game.  A 5k is, on average, about 30 minutes long.  Having the mental focus and wherewithal to endure the pain for that long is challenging.  Most people I see make one of two mistakes.

  1. They set out too fast.
  2. They talk themselves out of it.

Thanks to iPhone and Androids, “there’s an app for that.”  It seems there is an app for everything these days.  I personally use Nike+.  The app tracks my distance and reminds me what pace I am currently running.  You can set it to remind you however often you choose.  During a workout, It’ll set it to remind me every 5 minutes.  When I run a 5k, it reminds me every quarter mile.  It tells me my current distance, my pace, and time.  It also gives you some encouragement as you near your finish.

One of the great features of the Nike+ is that it allows you to play an iTunes playlist while you run.  Here are my keys to creating a playlist that will help you shatter your own personal record the next time you run a 5k.

Mental – Since the race is such a mental game, I start with something that gets me into the best mindset to run.  That for me is The Who’s “Baba O’Riley”.  The song was featured in the movie Prefontaine and reminds me of the great American distance runner.   Its BPM is 120.

Tempo – The best distance runners in the world run at 180 steps per minute.  I like to find music that falls into this category.  I used this article to learn how to analyze my entire iTunes collection to help me run a 5k in record time.  They also have several lists of great songs that meet the 180 BPM requirements.  Listening to music with this tempo helps your body create a running rhythm.

Entertainment – Choose music you can lose yourself in.  I like to focus on the song while I’m running and get into a rhythm.  This helps to pass the time quickly while keeping your mind in the game since it is not focusing on the pain.  The ultimate Marshmallow Test is experienced when you run a 5k.

Power – Find a song that absolutely fires you up!  Nike+ allows you to load a power song and get to it with one touch of the button.  When I have 3 minutes left to run, I hit Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” (a remixed for 180 BPM version) and channel my inner Rocky Balboa!

Often times, the planning that goes into your run can be just as important as the practice that goes into your run.  Setting up a playlist that consists of songs that motivate, distract, and help you keep a tempo you feel comfortable with, is key.

Here is a link to My Current 5k Playlist.

What’s your favorite workout song?

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