How to make it harder, better, longer (my workout, that is)

I used to watch TV while I exercised. I would plan my workout time around “Friends” reruns and play little games with myself during my runs: I can’t look down at the mileage or time until this commercial break is over, or I can’t take a sip of water until this scene ends. I had problems when someone else was in the workout room before me, watching sports, or when I would have to hold on to the side of the treadmill while running: The TV was off to the side, meaning if I didn’t hold on, I’d run right off the back of the treadmill.

My friend Erin used to have an apartment in Queens without a TV. If there was a show she wanted to watch, she would go to the gym. I always admired this about her – what a great way to feel justified watching television and not being a couch potato!

I can’t remember when I discovered music while running, but once I did, I knew a TV could never distract me sufficiently again. There’s something to be said about having a beat to push you along during a workout. Sometimes I want to work out just so I can hear some great music.

I created a workout playlist in iTunes a long time ago, and I’ve been running with it ever since. I used to use my Shuffle, until I discovered the program for the iPhone. Since I used to run outside all the time, having GPS tracking was golden. Even now that I’ve turned to the gym to get me through the winter, I still love having that program even if I do have to type it in manually at the end.

A few months ago I started getting really bored with my workout playlist. I would be at the gym, running my heart out, and have to fiddle with my iPod to change the song every few minutes. That was distracting, and not in a good way.

So the other day I completely wiped my workout playlist, and I started from scratch. I brought back a few of the songs I know will get me through the last few minutes of a really tough run, but other than a select few, it’s all new stuff. I polled Chris, who’s been on a hip-hop kick lately, and he advised me on some of the latest songs to use. (Sidenote: I don’t listen to the radio much – and I know several of these have got to be overplayed to most of you, but not to me!) Check it out:



Right Now (Na Na Na)                     



Troublemaker  Ft. Sweet Rush


Beautiful Ft. Colby O’Donis and Kardinal Offishall


We Don’t Care


Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)


You Give Love a Bad Name

Bon Jovi


Bon Jovi

Dirty Little Secret

Bon Jovi

Kiss Kiss

Chris Brown


Christina Aguilera


Chris Brown

Liquor Store

Devil Doll

Sin Wagon

Dixie Chicks

Some Days You Gotta Dance

Dixie Chicks

Don’t Treat Me Bad


Mr. Right

Garth Brooks

Let’s Get Married (ReMarquable Remix)

Jagged Edge & Run


Kanye West

Hot N Cold

Katy Perry

I Kissed A Girl

Katy Perry

All Summer Long

Kid Rock

Just Dance

Lady Gaga

Poker Face

Lady Gaga

Die Another Day


Just Fine

Mary J. Blige

Who Put the Bomp (In the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp)

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

Sweet Caroline

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

Paradise by the Dashboard Light

Meat Loaf


Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

Say It Right

Nelly Furtado

Pocketful of Sunshine

Natasha Bedingfield

Piece of Your Heart

Natasha Bedingfield

Love Like This (feat. Sean Kingston)

Natasha Bedingfield


Norah Jones/Peeping Tom

Misery Business


Gett Off

Prince & the New Power Generation

Wait a Minute (Feat. Timbaland

The Pussycat Dolls


The Pussycat Dolls

When I Grow Up (Main)

The Pussycat Dolls

 Umbrella (Feat. Jay-Z)


Jessie’s Girl

Rick Springfield



Dance and Shout (Dance Hall Version


Give It To Me (Feat. Nelly Furtado & Justin Timberlake)


Beverly Hills





I polled my Twitter and Facebook friends after showing them the list, asking what was missing. I got some fun suggestions, including:

–        Sparkle and Shine by Econoline Crush; Jesus Built My Hotrod  by Ministry; Headz Up by Nappy Roots, suggested by Heather

–        The power of Independent Trucking by Big Black, suggested by Michael

–       Jessica sent me her workout playlist, and she said some of her favorites include Timebomb by Rancid ; Green Light by John Legend and Andre 3000; and American Idiot by Green Day.

–        And a link to some great workout music, given to me by Joanna.

I have added Michael’s song to my playlist but haven’t gotten any others yet.

The verdict is still out on how well many of these songs work: I have used the new playlist a few times. Typically I run about 4 miles at the gym; the first time I used the playlist, I ran 7.51 miles. I’d say it is effective so far!

I wonder if a few of these are too slow (Natasha Bedingfield for example) but I’ll give them a fair shot before deleting them.

So what do you think of the playlist? What am I missing? What’s your favorite song to work out to?