music & mantras

This post is mostly for Lauren, who is running the Hyannis Marathon on Sunday.  She is primed and ready to smash it.  A week or so ago, she put out a request for mantras and music suggestions.  Babes, here you go!

Coming back to running hasn't been easy.  And the mental battle is somehow much tougher while running than while cycling or swimming.  I have a few mantras, things I repeat to myself when I'm trying to get through the 8th 800 or talking myself through finishing a tempo run.  Quite a few other bloggers play on a quote - "There will come a day when you can no longer do this.  Today is not that day."  I love that, but the way it plays out in my head is a bit different.  There have been a lot of days where I wasn't able to run, where I was sad and unhappy and jealous of everyone who could.  Not today.  And that's what I think, what I let beat along with my feet, what I was thinking last night while trying to finish out a tough 4M tempo.  Not today.  Not today.  Today I am able to do this, today I WILL do this.  There have been times when I wasn't able to do this, when I would have given anything to be able to do this.  So am I going to give up?  Not today.

The other mantra I read on a blog somewhere a few years ago, and I wish I could remember where and give credit.  I wrote it on my hands last year before my first triathlon.  Faith, not fear.  It gives me a lot of strength when I need it.  I thought it over and over last week at the 5K.  It's what I say in my head: have faith in your training, girl.  Don't be afraid to give it everything you've got.  Faith, not fear.
I also have tremendous music-related OCD, and when I find a song that I can run to, I tend to listen to it on repeat 42397 times during a run.  Sometimes it's just because it's good trashy beats, but sometimes it's because a lyric becomes a mantra, even in the worst pop songs.  Here are a few songs I've been shuffling through lately.  Feel free to judge my incredibly bad taste in running music and/or steal all these songs.

More by Usher (Red One Jimmy Joker Remix)
I love this song for running, but the lyrics that get me are when he says: "I'm a beast/I'm an animal/I'm that monster in the mirror."  It reminds me that I've changed a lot in the past year or so, the person in the mirror isn't who I used to be.  I'm a beast.

Born this Way by Lady Gaga (Liam Keegan Club Remix)
I just started listening to this song, but it was stuck in my head for most of tempo last night.  She says, "I'm on the right track, baby/I was born this way," quite a few times, which I love, but later in the song she says, "I'm on the right track, baby/I was born to survive."  It reminds me that I fought so hard to be running again.  I'm a survivor.

Raise Your Glass by P!nk
This is a kickass running song, and I really love the lyrics, "We will never be/never be/anything but loud," because that's true, but the part that pumps me up is where she says, "It's so fuckin' on right now."  That's what I think at the beginning of a race.  It's so fuckin' on right now.

We R Who We R by Ke$ha
I found this song because someone else mentioned it on their blog, and it's awesome.  The motivating lyrics for me are, "Tonight we're going hard/just like the world is ours/we're tearing it apart/you know we're superstars/we are who we are."  When I hear, "we're tearing it apart," I make my angry growly face and can push a little harder.

Club Can't Handle Me by Flo Rida featuring David Guetta
Confession time: I listened to this song through the entire 5K last Sunday.  "You know I know how/to make 'em stop and stare as I zone out."  Make 'em stop and stare, girl.

Welcome to the Show by Britt Nicole
I have no idea how this song found its way into my library, but it's pretty great.  The lyrics that kick my ass are, "Oh, oh, we're on a mission nothing can stand in our way/Oh, oh, we don't need permission/We're gonna rise up and we'll be the change."  That's an easy one: nothing can stand in my way.

Bleed It Out by Linkin Park
This one is interesting.  It's good in a short race that hurts.  "Fuck, this hurts, I won't lie/it doesn't matter how hard I try."  I've listened to it in lots of 5Ks.  It hurts.  I won't stop.

Till I Collapse by Eminem
I got this one when another blogger sent me a YouTube video of IM finishes with this playing.  I listened to it at the end of the 10K last December when I was grunting like an elephant.  "Till the roof comes off, till the lights go out/Till my legs give out, can't shift them up/Till the smoke clears out and my high burns out/I'm gone whip this shit till my bones collapse."  It always makes me think of that video, and if all those people didn't give up, neither will I.  Till my legs give out.

Survivor by Destiny's Child
This is the first song I ever remember listening to while running.  When I ran in college, I would listen to it on repeat.  Every time I come back to running after an injury, it makes me emotional to hear it come up on shuffle.  "I'm a survivor/I'm not gone give up/I'm not gone stop/I'm gone work harder/I'm a survivor/I'm gonna make it/I will survive/Keep on surviving."  I'm a survivor.  

LPT, we're all pulling for you.  YOU GOT THIS.  Everyone else, leave some mantras or tunes here (hey, I'm going to need them in a few weeks too) and I'll send them on over!  


  1. Awesome post for our awesome little red headed friend! She is going to rock! Last night I texted her a few things that I'll share with you:

    "Embrace your Awesome"

    "No stressing, just impressing"

    And of course, to power you through all those hills my mantra of "HILLS ARE FOR HEROS!!!"

    Go rock the sh*t out of this marathon LPT!!!!

  2. This is awesome, and very appropriate for me this morning! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I know this is old school, and not at all meant to be a motivational running song, but I can't get enough of "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen.

    "Im burning through the sky yeah!
    Two hundred degrees
    That's why they call me mister fahrenheit
    Im travling at the speed of light"

    "Don't stop me now (cause Im havin a good time)
    Don't stop me now (yes Im havin a good time)
    I don't want to stop at all"

    Seriously, I will sing it out loud and remind myself that I run because I LOVE it. And also, don't stop!!!

  4. This is awesome, and I'll definitely be making this playlist for IM training. I have pretty absurd taste in workout music, most of which has nothing at all to do with motivation, but my new favorite is Lupe Fiasco, "The Show Goes On." This one can be at least loosely tied to running, I think?

    "All right, already
    The show goes on
    All night 'til the morning
    We dream so long
    Anybody ever wonder
    When they would see the sun go
    Just remember when you come up
    The show goes on"

  5. "There have been times when I wasn't able to do this, when I would have given anything to be able to do this. So am I going to give up? Not today."

    Oh yes.

  6. I have a lovely one my wife gave me when we were out running together: "I remember when this used to be a hill."

    I know this is a commercial one, but I also love: "Impossible is nothing".

    Oh, and one of my all-time favourite quotes, "It's all good, dawg."

  7. I love the Pink tune , Raise Your Glass. My girls got me the CD for Xmas after they heard I was waking up in the middle of the noc singing it in my sleep!

  8. Love P!NK. Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life" will always be my go to running song. Followed very closely by AC/DC's Highway to Hell. Love Beth's Queen song, why isn't that on my mix?

    Fear is the Devil. We must destroy him.

  9. Okay- this one has always worked for me.
    "You're not pissing blood yet- keep going."

  10. I can't say that I have a mantra, but when it starts to get tough, I do always end up telling myself that I've worked too hard to give up now!

  11. Love the "faith not fear" mantra...I've screamed that one in my own mead many times before. And I ALSO listen to a song a million jillion times if it's working for me. Good to know I'm not the only one ; ) My song suggestion would be Linkin Park's New Divide. It's what I blare while I'm doing mile repeats!

  12. It actually never occurred to me to put a song on repeat while running...I thought I'd get bored...until a few months ago, when someone on twitter mentioned it (maybe you, Katie!). that weekend I ran 7 miles to just one song on repeat - it's a short song (1:40), and I'm a slow runner, so it was something like 80 repeats. but it kept me at a perfect pace.

    my latest music-for-running obsession has been all of the songs from Dance Dance Revolution 2 (my fave, the 1:40 one, is Injection of Love Hina Mix). :D

    my fiance gave me some new songs while he was visiting last week - a lot of heavy rap which will be great for lifting sessions, but I'm going to have to tell him that I run faster than that!

  13. GO LAUREN!!!!!!!!!! I love your song list and I need to download a few of these :)

  14. Adele--rolling with the deep. I listened to that and then More by Usher on my last run and it was fantastic. :)

  15. My go to songs for motivation are Patty Smyth's The Warrior and Journey's Don't Stop Belivin. And that Faith, not Fear mantra is awesome. Good luck to your friend this weekend!

  16. I am really liking "The Time" by BEP, "Monster" by Gaga, and "If" by Janet Jackson :)

  17. When it comes to music and running I’ll do the same thing. I find a song that “speaks” to me and play it until I can’t stand it anymore. I am currently grooving to the new Social Distortion and “King” by Weezer. Oh, and a 70’s disco mix (don’t ask)…

    All the best,


  18. I actually don't listen to music while I run, but a couple of songs that seem like they would have good energy are:
    Jimmy Eat World - Sweetness (the song is fast throughout and the energy never stops)
    Journey - Don't Stop Believin
    Survivor - Eye of the Tiger

  19. I think we may have the same iPod ;)

  20. Love this. Love you. :-)

    Here are my first 10 songs (I'm running the first half without music and will plug it in when I start the second loop around):
    1) Til I Collapse - Eminem
    2) Run Rabbit RUn - Eminem
    3) Won't Back Down - Eminem feat. Pink
    4) More - Usher
    5) Imma Shine - YoungBloodz
    6) Fuego - Pitbull
    7) Biebs - Never Say Never (DON'T LAUGH!)
    8) I Just Want To Live - Good Charlotte
    9) Lose Yourself - Eminem
    10) Starstruck - 3OH!3

    The list might change, but I have 88 pump-me-up music. Faith by George Michael might just be on there, too....

  21. I don't have any mantras, I just run...but music is super important to me. Last fall, I hit a big time PR on a 10k (yeah, I know, not exactly a full) by starting off with eminem's "lose yourself" followed by the Washington nationals take the field song "thunderstruck" by AFDC and then phenom Stephen Strasburg's "seven nation army". From there....included garbage "push it" and the inevitable Bad Romance.

    go kick ass Lauren!!!!!,

  22. I just updated my iPod. Like you I can listen to the same song over and over and over and over. My new favorite song for training is Stronger by Kanye West. And I always have Welcome to the Jungle by Guns and Roses on it.

  23. I love that: Faith not Fear - I'm gonna use it tomorrow :-) I also love love love that you're a repeater!!

  24. I'm totally stealing "Faith not fear" for my audition...

    Also, I like Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend" for running. I was once at the gym, and the Girlfriend remix came on right after the original. Perfect tempo - and boy was I tired afterward...

    LPT, kick it. :)

  25. I'm totes stealing "Faith not Fear" for tomorrow! I remember that from your tri & I loved it then.

    On my playlist, on repeat, is Emimem's Not Afraid.

    Thanks once again for an inspring post!

  26. Mantra: "Strength, power and grace." It reminds me of how I feel (strong, powerful and graceful) at the end of a long run—even one that feels like crap while it's happening. I've been digging "Going the Distance" for a comeback pump-up song recently ... it's great for long runs, for obvious reasons, but I've been loving this part: "The arena is empty/except for one man/still driving and striving as fast as he can."

  27. I loooooove working out to the Brittany Spears song 'Toxic' since it's basically the perfect tempo for my running pace. I tend to overlook lyrics for a great groove, but there could be a mantra in these:

    "Too high/ Can't come down/ It's in the air/ And it's all around."

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