Music to watch the miles go by
- By Greg Rose -
- Mar 14, 2012
With the Olympics fast approaching, it’s time everyone paid attention to cycling, throwing, swimming and generally running around a lot. Even music fans who view a dash to the bar before the gig starts as fulfilling government exercise guidelines.
“It’s music to jog to, I guess. IF YOU’RE A MORON.” This superb slaying of the new Ting Tings record in The Fly got me thinking about what actually is suitable sound to slog your guts out on a treadmill to.
For some reason, people abandon music taste as soon as they put on a pair of Asics trainers. Words like ‘trance’, ‘techno’ and ‘The Black Eyed Peas’ start springing to mind. Most gyms are content to put on Chart Show TV and bore you into oblivion; that’s when music isn’t replaced completely by the whirligig of Harry Redknapp’s head and soul-sapping stats on Sky Sports News.
It’s time to reclaim running for decent songs. Of course, what that consists of is pretty objective, but training for the London Marathon has left me with some surprising conclusions. For starters, the Manics can be motivating. Sprinting around Stoke Newington isn’t what Richey Edwards had in mind when he wrote Faster, but it works. The reliable relentlessness of the Gaslight Anthem is equally effective, likewise the appropriately perfected beats of Dr Dre.
BPM is an unavoidable factor - anything with hints of rhythmic range is a non-starter, as it can mess with carefully built up running pace. Discovering new music while working out can be problematic, as you don’t know what you are going to get when being adventurous. This can lead to stepping into old iPod footprints, such as the similar-tempo indie safety net of Cribs, Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Despite the benefits of familiarity, clichés are unreliable: while Born To Run will get your legs pumping as much as your fists, and Running Up That Hill will help you run up a hill, Keep On Running and Band On The Run will grind you to a halt. There is a distinct crossover between running songs and driving anthems. Both require a bit more bombast than your usual fare, and subtlety is swapped in support of major chords and repetitive pace.
Exercise is one of those things where music has to take a supporting role, but if you’re going to bother you may as well make it good. What are your favourite running songs? Excuse me, I’m off to buy 101 Running Songs from Amazon. Don’t Stop Me Now.