I started running in late 2010 and to be quite honest, I’m still not very good at it. My training has absolutely no consistency and I tend to stay sedentary for months at a time, sinking deep into pure inertia. But even if I’m not planning on actually running I’ll update my playlist. To me, having the right music to listen to while exercising is almost as important as having the right shoes or gear. It sets the pace and motivates me to keep going. My playlists are usually a mix of songs that I’m currently obsessed with and songs that only work for me if endorphins are involved. And I also love looking up other people’s playlists and finding out what kind of beat set their feet in motion.
A few weeks ago I read Haruki Murakami’s memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running and I was glad that he mentioned some of the bands and styles that make up his running playlist. He wrote the book between the summer of 2005 and the fall of 2006, while living in Hawaii, Japan and the continental US. His reasons for running are so logical and practical: he had sold his jazz bar in Tokyo to pursue writing full-time and moved to smaller town to save money. He adopted a new life style and running was a cheap way to stay active.
At the time, Murakami carried an MD player since he didn’t want to mix music and computers. Sometimes he’d listen to jazz or a more laid back band from the 60’s but usually he preferred to run to rock tunes. I wonder if his taste has changed since the book came out 7 years ago…
Here’s the playlist I put together based on the bands and artists he refers to on the book. He only specifies a few songs, like Sympathy for the Devil by the Rolling Stones, so I chose what felt like would fit his mood. And of course, the final song had to be the classic theme song from the movie Rocky. I had fun putting together a playlist for someone else, hope you’ll enjoy it too.