50 Miles: the ultimate playlist


Music is an incredibly personal choice. Finding a beat or lyrics that motivate and make you momentarily forget about how badly your legs are burning can be the difference between fading out or pushing just a little bit harder. Science even says so. 

I don’t listen to music when I race. I never have, and most road races discourage headphones due to safety reasons. On the road I’m usually pushing myself hard enough that if I take my focus away from my pace, I start to slow. Ultras are a different beast. Pace is much slower and totally varied based on terrain. There’s a good chance you will be the only person around for miles on end. It can get pretty lonely, and after running for 6 hours my brain starts to run out of things to think about. I can only talk to so many bunnies before I begin questioning my sanity.

So, that’s where this playlist comes in. It will be a perfect distraction, a beat to focus on. Since I interact daily with so many inspiring and motivating people, I thought I’d find out what gets them grooving. Consider this the ultimate crowd-sourced running playlist. It is much longer than what’s listed below, but I thought I’d take at least one song and reason from each person and share it here. The bottom section contains my song selections: music that gets me dancing or makes me smile. And if you have any songs that you think MUST be on here, please share!

Here’s the full Spotify playlist if you want to vicariously run with me for fifty miles.


“Lose Yourself” by Eminem.  Awesome lyrics that are quite applicable to running, plus for me the beat equates to about an 8min/mi.

“Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2. It played when I was around mile 23 at Humboldt and I nearly burst with emotion.

“Happy” by Pharrell.  You are happiest running.

“Defying Gravity” from Wicked. Yes, it’s a musical theater nerd’s choice, and yes, it will get you through some uncertain parts.

“Moonage Daydream” by David Bowie. Here is a 5 star that I love that needs playing around mile 45.

“Jungle” by X Ambassadors. I would describe this as my power song.

“Wait for It” from Hamilton. It makes me so emotional when I run.

“Simon Says” by Pharoahe Monch. If the Godzilla opening doesn’t get you moving, I don’t know what will.

“Water Fountain” by Tune-Yards. I know a lot of people do not want to dance to what I want to dance to and vice versa. FUCK THAT NOISE.

“Legion” by VNV Nation. Also good if you like to combat-rhumba.

My Jams

“Flawless” by Beyonce. Bow down, bitches.

“Good to be Alive” by Andy Grammer. My theme song for this run.

“Beat It” by Michael Jackson.

“Jesus Walks” by Kanye West. Feet don’t fail me now.

“Hotline Bling” by Drake. Picturing the #drakedance makes me laugh. Every time.

“Alright” by Kendrick Lamar. We gon’ be alright.

“Hard in Da Paint” by Waka Flocka Flame. I go hard in the mother effing paint!

“September” by Earth Wind and Fire. Try not moving your feet a little faster when this one comes on. I dare you.

“Cake by the Ocean” by DNCE. Same as above. And yes, I realize how stupid this song’s name is.

2 thoughts on “50 Miles: the ultimate playlist

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