How To Make The World’s Worst Running Playlist

Are you thinking about that New Year’s Resolution to get in shape, but just haven’t gotten around to starting it yet? Do you see your friends posting about upcoming races on social media and want to make sure that you never cross any finish line? Well, then I’ve got just the trick for you.

Having the perfectly planned and curated playlist for training and races is crucial to success. Music inspires, takes focus off of pain, and injects energy into the process, especially when the miles start stacking up. Inversely, the wrong track can kill a workout. The following are TEN TERRIBLE songs/artists/playlists that put together will make the world’s worst running playlist and ensure that you never have to buy a pair of $150 running shoes.

Lou Reed-Metal Machine Music

One time in the 80’s, New York punk legend and Velvet Underground front man decided to make a harsh noise album. And people hated him for it. Many still do. Metal Machine Music is the sound of a guitar dropped at the end of a show, feeding back until the sound tech cuts the noise. It’s the sound of your grandpa’s hearing aid turned up too high and screeching for too long because he doesn’t know.. It’s what should be played at high volume for prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. Blasting this through Beats earbuds while on a long run is a guaranteed way to make your ears bleed by the end.

Sunn O)))-Anything

180 BPM or 90 BPM is the perfect tempo to create a good running cadence. If you look up 180 BPM on Spotify you can find great playlists with a variety of songs from EDM to hip-hop to classic rock to pop. There’s something for everybody in that range.

Ambient metal band Sunn O))) might have 1 beat per five minutes. This is great music to listen to while staring into the void and melting into the darkness of the aether. You know, on an average Wednesday in Ohio. This will not make sure you are moving at a good pace, unless you are literally a slug.

“McArthur Park” By Richard Harris & “Jurassic Park” By Weird Al- Back-to-Back

Both the original and the parody song are symphonic, dramatic, over-the-top, and altogether unpleasant. Imagine compressing the feelings of watching the entire run of Days of our Lives into 5 minutes. “MacArthur Park” is 7.5 minutes of maximalist schmaltz. And I guess it’s about a cake getting left out in the rain. Or something, I don’t know. I’m not going to bother understanding this terrible song. “Jurassic Park” is about half the length, and it is a fun IP. And Weird Al is certainly a national treasure. But it still has a sound that does not inspire exercise. You can gold plate a turd, and underneath it’s still a turd. Next.

Ornette Coleman-The Shape of Jazz to Come

A good track for running is not only one with the right speed, but it also has to have consistent beat. There is nothing consistent about Coleman’s earth-shattering 1959 free-jazz record. The Shape of Jazz to Come blazed onto the bebop scene which was led by heavy-hitters Miles Davis and John Coltrane. And it challenged the paradigm of jazz by removing all sense of form. Therefore, there is little in the way of a consistent pattern to the music. It’s a great album to sip scotch, lean back and absorb. But it’s not good music to try to sync up foot turnover.

John Carpenter-Halloween Theme

Depending on the time of year and life circumstances, a lot of running has to be done in the early hours of morning or at night after the kids go to bed. Imagine running through a darkened street, when the next song on your playlist kicks off with the iconic and incredibly eerie 3 note piano line. Suddenly, you are certain someone is stalking you through your neighborhood. With a knife. Running in the dark has enough real risks without feeling like you’re constantly escaping a masked boogeyman.

Henry Manfredini-Friday the 13th Theme

Same scenario as above, but you’re running through the woods, as some people do. Now you’re watching for a man in a hockey mask hiding behind the tree with a giant machete. No thanks.

Iron Butterfly-In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida

This classic rock staple is just over 17 minutes long. So, you do get a lot of traction and miles with one track. But smack dab in the middle is a 2.5 minute drum solo followed by an organ solo (famously lampooned on The Simpsons). And ain’t nobody got time for that nonsense while out on a run. Save this song for annoying people by putting it on the jukebox on repeat at Buffalo Wild Wings.

Chat Pile-Why?

There are different kinds of motivational music in running. Sometimes you want positive inspiration. So you put on “Gonna Fly Now” from the Rocky Soundtrack. Other times you might need some angry music for motivation. Drowning Pool’s “Bodies” or anything from early Disturbed will do this nicely. But what you don’t want is de-motivational music. “Why?” from OKC sludge band Chat Pile is a track that continually asks the question “Why do people sleep outside?” It’s a great song. But by the you will be sad and questioning society. Running doesn’t matter. Your stupid body doesn’t matter. Nothing matters. Put this on your run mix only if your goal is immediately stop running.

Any songs FEATURING POLICE sirens or Screaching Tires

So much of running takes place on the road. Any song that throws in surprise danger noises is a bad addition to a run mix. It will get your heart racing, but not in a good way.

*Side note, if you run with headphones in, always leave one ear open so you can hear what’s going on with traffic. No need to get hit by a car.

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