Reporter's Notebook

The Weirdest, Greatest Songs on Your Running Playlist
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Readers pick their favorite oddball tracks. Listen to all of the suggestions on Spotify here, and a curated, hour-long playlist of them here.

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Track of the Day: 'Knights of Cydonia'

The latest contributor to our series recommends a song to get your New Year’s resolution on its feet:

I don’t know how weird this is, but one of my favs for workouts is Muse’s “Knights of Cydonia.” It’s got a great beat and a relentless momentum that just builds and builds and keeps me moving.

Update from another reader:

In my humble opinion, no mention of Knights is complete without a link to Muse’s amazing performance at Wembley in 2007.

A reader adds several suggestions to the work-out series sparked by Adrienne:

I’m a spinning instructor and an electronic music aficionado, so I’ve given a fair bit of thought to which throbbing songs will best fit with my classes while still being somewhat interesting. Dubstep works well for spin, i.e. trying to time hard efforts to “the drop.” A couple really fun and motivational songs I always turn to on my playlists:

“As Serious As Your Life” by Four Tet
“White Noise/Red Meat” by Dada Life
“Ghost” by Neutral Milk Hotel [embedded above]
“Shipping up to Boston” by The Dropkick Murphys

Embed these in your playlist and watch your fitness increase by 17%.

I can definitely vouch for “Ghost”; all of Neutral Milk Hotel’s Aeroplane Over the Sea is bracing to run to.

Another reader adds to our “weirdest, greatest” series:

Cannot believe I’m admitting this, much less inflicting it on anyone else, but my race-day running playlist has one epic, utterly ridiculous track: MmmmBOP. I put it late in the mix, because after all the great, rhythmic stuff that gets me through 12 or 13 miles, there is nothing better than the track that just cracks you up. Pure joy.

Mmmbop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop

A long-time reader in San Francisco contributes to our ongoing series of “weirdest, greatest” running songs:

I submit Florida by Starfucker. It’s fun electro-pop with a solid beat. The weird part is that it features a recording of the late philosopher Alan Watts discussing the wigglyness of the natural world. Somehow it works really well.

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@)