This week on The Hills: Play this song on repeat

11 Apr

Running without any electronic attachments certainly has its value to create a more attuned mind/body experience. However, sometimes you just need music with a dirty beat to get your engine going and keep your heart pumping. Like, say, for instance, when you are about to do some hill repeats.

There is plenty of research that backs up the idea that music can be a powerful motivator to get moving, can distract the mind while heart rate increases, and can help moderate tempo throughout the miles. We’ve all got our go-to playlists for every type of run and workout we do. (Admit it, there’s a Journey song or two on yours.) I typically run with some kind of music playing, usually based on mood and sometimes based on workout intensity. You know what’s a really intense workout? Hill repeats. This is a workout where I need a good beat to keep me moving.

This, my friends, is my favorite song for crushing hills: – T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever) Note: I use the explicit version.

Now, this song ranges from about 106-128 BPM. The recommendation for efficient running cadence is to match your stride to 180 BPM. This song works for me on the hills because I pay more attention to the lyrics, “You can go hard, or you can home” more than I try to match my pace to the beat. When I’m about to start my hill intervals, I often flip to this song to pump me up. Sometimes, I put it on repeat and just keep going.

Here are a couple of other songs that I have on my running playlist for the times when I’m using music for pacing:

Sparta – Taking Back Control (161) BPM


TV on the Radio – Wolf Like Me (177 BPM)


The Black Keys – Everlasting Light (180) BPM


The Postal Service – Such Great Heights (185 BPM) [This is also great as a strings version by The Section Quartet]


What’s on your hill repeat playlist?

Speaking of hill repeats…

I set my alarm for 5:21 AM this morning and I DIDN’T HIT SNOOZE! That’s right, I am feeling better and I was ready to tackle a pre-dawn workout. I started out with this awesome Booty Burner workout from Brooke at Running in Heels. She is doing an awesome Beach Body Challenge complete with daily strength training, cardio, recipe, and motivation. I’m not able to the challenge 100% (half marathon training and all) but I’m mixing in some of the strength training with my own plan. If you want to do the challenge, check it out!

This was my warmup for The Hills:

I guess today’s goal was to take on some hills with legs that were a little fatigued to mimic how I might be feeling at some point during the hilliest half I might ever run in May.

After I was warm and caffeinated (thanks to Cherry Limeade nuun!) I headed out on the road (in the DAYLIGHT) and toward my plan of hill-attack.


I warmed up my running muscles for about a mile, then started up hill #1 and repeated 5 times. Then on to #2, which I repeated 5 times. Then I headed toward home, about 3/4 mile and cooled down. Overall, I did 3.42 miles, about 34 minutes total (including any rest/recovery time on the downhills).

Though I’m sure I will be feeling this pretty hard tomorrow, it was a great workout and has left me with a pretty powerful runner’s high (just ask my husband, he thought I was crazy for a minute). Taking those two days off for rest was a brilliant idea! Looking forward to a recovery run tomorrow and 9 miles Saturday!


3 Responses to “This week on The Hills: Play this song on repeat”

  1. Sarah Christine April 11, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

    How do figure out how many bpm a song is? I’m thinking of making a playlist for my fist half with songs which are at the pace I want to run, but have no idea how to go about doing this! Will you help me?

    • Nikki April 11, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

      To find the bpm of a song:
      a) Grab a metronome and play the song while you match the beat manually
      b) Google “song title + bpm” for each song you like
      c) Google “running playlist ___ (180 or whichever) bpm” or “running playlist ___ bpm + your genre of choice”
      d) Subscribe to an iTunes podcast for running at ___ bpm
      e) Get a smartphone app that makes a playlist for you (like PaceDJ)
      f) Send me 5 boxes of Thin Mints and I will do it for you

      Er….forget that last one. That’s the sugar withdrawal talking. Only 4 boxes.

      • Sarah Christine April 11, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

        bahaha! Thin Mints, eh? As in GIRL SCOUT cookies or the traditional Thin Mints?

        In order to not become an enabler of your sugar addiction, I will attempt to do this on my own. 🙂 If all else fails, I will see what I can do…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: