Reporter's Notebook

The Weirdest, Greatest Songs on Your Running Playlist
Show Description +

Readers pick their favorite oddball tracks. Listen to all of the suggestions on Spotify here, and a curated, hour-long playlist of them here.

Show None Newer Notes

For our running playlist series, a reader submits a song from the inimitable Trey Parker and DVDA, his band that contributed all kinds of music to South Park, Team America, and the movie this song was featured in, Orgazmo.

I’m not one for making hard-and-fast New Year’s resolutions. But I do tend to start the year with an idea of how I’d like it to go, who I’d like to be—sort of a rosy view of the months ahead.

I fell out of running last year thanks to a gnarly overuse injury (finishing a half-marathon and an overnight relay in the same month might’ve been a tad ambitious). But after some physical therapy and developing an intimate relationship with my foam roller, I’m ready to pick up where I left off as the new year gets under way. In 2016, I’d like to be a runner again.

So far, that’s meant rediscovering just how many excuses I can make to avoid doing something that doesn’t feel quite so breezy anymore. Thank God for playlists.

Last month, Adrienne put out a call for the underappreciated gems on your running playlists—the weirdest, greatest songs that maybe no one else would understand but get you amped to pound through the next mile.

Y’all delivered:

A reader submitted this Trina song for our groupthink playlist of greatest, weirdest running songs—which may come as a surprise to any fans of mainstream rap circa the late ‘90s and early aughts. To be fair, our reader did designate it for our “best running tracks” list—surely a more fitting home for Da Baddest Bitch. I suppose we broadened the scope of our main playlist with our latest update, and honestly, who am I to turn away Trina on the grounds of mere semantics?

We had some more readers chime in this week with their own go-to songs to run to: “Rock (Superstar)” by Cypress Hill; Dengue Fever’s “We Were Gonna”; “Move Your Feet” by Junior Senior; and “Keep Hope Alive” by The Crystal Method, among others.

Check out the full haul in our comprehensive playlist on Spotify—now clocking in at more than six hours. If you don’t quite feel up to running 36 miles or so, try the hour-long editor’s playlist for the selections I found especially promising.

Emily Hutchinson revives our reader series of weird workout songs with an obscure French one:

Pretty much the whole of Junior Senior’s album D-D-Don’t Stop the Beat works for me when running (especially “Rhythm Bandits,” “Move Your Feet,” and “Shake Your Coconuts”).

But the weirdest song—I can’t even remember where I first heard it—is Plaisir de France’s “Le Responsable Revisite.” I can’t even buy this anywhere!  So I have to have it queued up on YouTube to work it in, but that’s how good it is.

(Track of the Day archive here. Access it through Spotify here. Submit via hello@)

A reader adds an uptempo piano to our workout playlist:

Here’s one that I’m sure hasn’t been mentioned: Ben Folds Five’s “One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces.” It’s the best track to end on, especially when you need that extra kick. How many workout songs have that much piano in them?

Army” from Ben Folds has been on my running playlist for years.

(Track of the Day archive here. Access it through Spotify here. Submit via hello@)

Our latest contributor, Emily Hutchinson, follows up:

As I’ve been running, I’ve thought if other songs to share, like Kishi Bashi’s “Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It!” No matter how tired I am, I will run my heart out for that song.

Thanks for making this list; I’ve found several great songs that I’ve added to my personal playlist.

(Track of the Day archive here. Access it through Spotify here. Submit via hello@)

A reader serves up a trifecta of offbeat workout songs:

Darn, I missed your initial call for suggestions. Well, here are a few of mine anyway:

1) “Keep Hope Alive,” The Crystal Method, off their Vegas album (also the soundtrack for The Replacement Killers). When I worked in downtown South Bend, Ind., I ran in Howard Park, which runs along the St. Joseph River and includes a dam and a race waterway/fish ladder and old mills and factories sited on the river that have been turned into apartments among other things. So there is a lot of twisting and turning and little footbridges to run over as well as bridges that carry traffic over the river to run under. It always reminded me of being a little kid just running around outside in a particularly cool backyard. The starts and stops and twists and turns in this track match the mood, plus you feel like Chow Yun Fat or Mira Sorvino escaping gunmen bent on your destruction.