Basil’s Boston Marathon Playlist

For some of us earbuds : running shoes :: Boston Marathon : Patriot's Day! Flickr Commons image by rikomatic.
For some of us earbuds : running shoes :: Boston Marathon : Patriot’s Day! Flickr Commons image by rikomatic.

With the Boston Marathon around the corner and taper in full swing, there’s only one thing left to do (besides panic and obsess about All The Things). That’s right! It’s time to tune up the playlist, to toss the songs that tempo runs have forever ruined, and add some fresh tracks to carry me from start to finish on marathon Monday.

Now, I realize that some of us here at Salty Running (cough, Salty, cough) are purists and need only the beautiful sound of their own breathing (coupled with backwards counting through side stitches) to power through 26.2 miles. I’m not one of those people. I have often relied on music to get me through many lonely training miles–just me, myself and iTunes. And come race day, I want to remain blissfully ignorant of the tired and terrible sounds of my huffing and puffing.

So for those of you like me who are looking to spruce up your playlist before your goal race, perhaps I can save you some time by sharing what I found in the hour or so I spent scouring the internet for fresh inspiration. Here’s a sampling of some new favorites mixed in with my old standbys:

Ladies of Cambridge – Vampire Weekend – “I’ve had dreams of Boston all of my life….” I’ve actually had this one on and off my playlist for several years. I remember hearing it for the first time on Pandora while I was running through North Chagrin forest in Ohio. I was training for my second half marathon and recall thinking to myself that I hadn’t had dreams of Boston all of my life, only for the last four months or so. That was in 2011. And I’ve had dreams of Boston ever since.

Fight Song – Rachel Platten – My friend told me about this song a couple weeks ago, and ever since, I’ve been playing it on repeat in the final mile of my long runs. Injured hip be damned, “cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me!”

I’m Shipping up to Boston – Dropkick Murphy’s – Another oldie but goodie. Again, any connection to Boston was lost on me when I first heard it as I hadn’t even taken up running yet. This is one song that may never be cut from my playlist.

Keep the Car Running – Arcade Fire – I stole this one from Lauren Fleshman’s playlist on Spotify. Love the cadence on this one–perfect for marathon pace.

Lake Michigan – Rogue Wave – This song has been on and off my playlist since I started running. But I keep going back to it, maybe in part because I like when the song writer tells me to “go and run yourself a million miles”.

Ghost – American Authors – I’m a little tired of this one, but only because my 8 year old asks me to play it every time we get in the car. But I’m leaving it in play for now. “‘Cause it’s a new day, I wanna go far!”

It appears this playlist recap is going to take me longer to finish than the actual marathon if I don’t speed it up. So here’s the rest of the sampling, sans comments and in no particular order:

Love Runs Out – OneRepublic

Not Afraid – Eminem

Pumpin Blood – NONONO

Shake – Walk off the Earth

Smooth Criminal – 2CELLOS

Thunder Clatter – Wild Cup

This Could All Be Yours – Guster

The Real Thing – Audra Mae and the Almighty Sound

Raise Your Glass – Pink

Geronimo – Sheppard

Diane Young – Vampire Weekend

Burn – Ellie Goulding

Every Chance we Get We Run – David Guetta

I Bet My Life – Imagine Dragons

I Lived – OneRepublic

So what tunes are on your race day playlist? Share your old and new favorites with us in the comments!

Recovering corporate hamster-wheeler turned Alaskan hausfrau, mother of two and running enthusiast. Kind of a June Cleaver in tempo shorts...minus the makeup and vacuum. Will run to great lengths to get a moment of peace.

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  1. I’m another racing purist, but I HAVE to listen to “American Girl” by Tom Petty at some point race morning. I heard it several times during my first marathon, once during my second, and during my best three half marathon times. It’s become my good luck charm.

  2. I can’t decide whether I’m going to use my iPod. Last time, after doing ALL of my training with music, I got to the starting line and my battery was dead. Luckily there was no time to panic and I tossed my device to my coach as I ran over the timing mat. Everything went well, but like Basil, I don’t really want to listen to myself huff and puff for 3+ hours. But I also don’t want to get tangled up in the cord or accidentally drop it when I’m fumbling for gels. TMI, I know. Just last minute freaking out…

    ‘More’ from Usher always gets me pumped. More recent additions to the playlist include ‘Happy Idiot’ from TV On The Radio, and ‘Riptide’ by Vance Joy.

    Good luck at Boston, Basil! I know this training cycle hasn’t been what you wanted, but I hope you enjoy the experience and get to the finish line feeling good, or as good as one can feel after a grueling 26.2. Cheers!

  3. Wow! I love your list! I am also going to be copying it shortly.

    My running love songs right now include Rollercoaster by Bleachers, Closer by Teagan and Sara, and my classics include American Jeans by Quiet Drive, and Overcome by New Politics.

    Good luck in Boston! Enjoy the expo and get yourself some 26.2 ale!