What’s your power song?

9 Jul

One neat feature of Nike’s running app is the ability to add a “power song” — a go-to song to pump you up when your work-out gets tough or you need that little extra boost.

I don’t use the Nike app, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a power song — or two or three or 10.

Most of my favorite running tunes are hard-driving rock songs. I love James Taylor, but you won’t find Sweet Baby James on my running playlists.

The first song on my favorite running playlist is the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up.” That classic rocks the opening kickoff at many NFL or college football stadiums. And you’ll hear it at many road races, too. But if the marathon I’m running doesn’t take off to this song, I’m ready to supply it on my own.

John Mellencamp is featured prominently on my running playlist, too. “Jack and Diane” always gets the heart thumping, but so too does “Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First),” “Your Life is Now,” and “Authority Song.”

For classics, I’ll listen to Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild” or the Guess Who’s “American Woman.” Steve Miller makes my playlist with “Jungle Love,” among others. I’ve got some classic Van Morrison like “Brown Eyed Girl” and some more recent Morrison like “Back On Top.”

And, of course, the Boss is on the playlist. “Born to Run” is a no-brainer, but I also really like “Thunder Road,” which starts out reserved but gets rocking before it ends.

I love New Orleans and the music of the Crescent City, so for one marathon there I put together a playlist that featured three NOLA-themed songs every hour. It features the expected — Louis Armstrong’s “When The Saints Go Marching In” and Trombone Shorty’s “Hurricane Season” — along with the unexpected — Johnny Cash’s “Cajun Born.” Man, I loved the passing of another hour in that marathon.

But if I had to pick one song as my “power song” — as I was asked to on a recent episode of the “RunIowa” podcast — it would be John Hiatt’s “Before I Go,” which is the video at the top of this post. It’s not necessarily a hard-driving rock song, but, similar to “Thunder Road,” it builds and builds to crescendo that always helps drag me along. Plus I love the inspiring message:

And I will try, but I will stumble
And I will fly, he told me so
Proud and high or low and humble
Many miles before I go
Many miles before I go
Here I go

What songs always make your running playlist? If you had to pick just one power song, what would it be? Offer your thoughts in the comments below.

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2 Responses to “What’s your power song?”

  1. Jim Brennan July 9, 2015 at 9:43 pm #

    Don’t get me started, Mark. I could go on and on. And how about, “Have a little faith / there’s magic in the night / you ain’t a beauty but hey you’re all right…” from Thunder Road? Anyway, I am all over the place with energy songs, from Springsteen to Foo Fighters to Stones to, well there are just too many to mention. Love Hyatt’s raspy voice. Great post!

    Like

    • Mark Smidt July 10, 2015 at 6:01 am #

      I think I could happily listen to your playlist, Jim.

      Like

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