Play Me a Slow One

Good times, Good times.

Good times, Good times.


About 2 minutes into my first training run with the heartrate monitor, I realized that music would be key to learning how to slow the hell down. Halfway down my road, I confirmed that it is not possible to run slowly to The Beastie Boys’ “Girls.” No matter what my mind said, my legs wanted to pick up the pace to match the beat. (The Violent Femmes “Blister in the Sun” is another one. I dare you to try and run slowly to that. Trust me, you can’t).

I usually run with music. Not always, and I know from running races without music that I run faster when I leave the headphones at home. So for my new, counterintuitive, slow running (fast walking?) regimen, I knew I’d want my tunes. But they need to be the right kind of tunes for the slower pace.

During last week’s long run, I was lucky enough to hit a rock block of Pearl Jam followed by a rock block of Pink Floyd on a local radio station. Jackpot! I had no problem running slowly for the 20+ minutes of the blocks. I also felt like I was under the influence of something pleasant and illegal. It was nice.

Since you’re running, though, you can’t have something too slow or depressing. “Unchained Melody” just ain’t gonna cut it. You also have to watch for those songs that tripped you up at middle school dances because they start slow and end fast. (You know – “Come Sail Away,” Stairway to Heaven” and the like – one minute you’re doing the dance where you basically just hug and sway, and the next minute you’re forced to do the step side-to-side and clap dance, which is just so, so, painfully awkward.) You don’t want something that tempts you to add hill repeats into a recovery run.

After a few days of scrolling through my playlist for good slow and recovery run tunes, I figured out a bunch that work. I don’t listen to these same ones over and over, but if I find I’m starting to speed up, I put one of them on to get me back in a slower groove. NOTE: This list has not been compiled scientifically (Colby is the scientist – I’m just a lawyer. Hence, everything has to come with a caveat, warning or disclaimer.). I think that there are websites that calculate bpm’s for songs, etc., but I can’t put that much research into it. Sweet Jesus, I have enough on my plate researching the law. I’m just listing songs that work for me.

1. Interstate Love Song by Stone Temple Pilots. Plush is good, too.
2. Pumped up Kicks by Foster the People
3. You Can’t Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones
4. Brain Stew by Green Day – but beware – if you download the track that transitions into Jaded at the end, you may have a heart attack when the tempo changes. You’ve been warned.
5. Somebody to Love by Queen
6. Everyday I Write the Book by Elvis Costello
7. Insane in the Brain by Cypress Hill
8. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2
9. Praise You by Fatboy Slim
10. Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Stevie Wonder
11. Truckin’ by The Grateful Dead
12. What I Got by Sublime
13. Wonderwall by Oasis
14. Where is the Love by Black Eyed Peas


11 thoughts on “Play Me a Slow One

  1. I’ve found that the Country workout radio station on pandora is actually amazing for running to–it keeps you from pushing too hard, but it keeps you going. So does the Team by Lorde station. Depending on what you like 😉

  2. I didn’t even run with music today. If I had I’m sure my heart would have lept out of my chest and cannonballed into the LI Sound. The humidity nearly killed me. Can I down load “Taps” from itunes? Jesus.

    • I can believe it. I think it is weird though, that I actually run slower with music. 5ks I have run with fast music still have slower times than 5ks that I ran with no music at all. Maybe every song in existence is below 1000 bpms?
      I should have sent you a Pink Floyd mix for today’s run.

  3. Great list.
    Total side note: have you ever actually listened to the words of Pumped Up Kicks, totally aggressive song!! I would sing it all happy go lucky until I stopped and listened to myself one day.

    • So funny you mentioned that – when it first came out I loved listening to it, but once I got the lyrics down I felt I had to turn it off when my kids were in the car. Disturbing. “Happy,” it ain’t! But jazzy little beat.

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