It may not be very metal to admit this, but I’ll pretend to be kvlt and not give a f*ck what you think – I go running several times a week. It’s a pastime that I actually quite enjoy. I do it as much for getting rid of anger and aggression as the calories I accrue from regular consumption of booze and lard, and for this reason heavy music is the perfect accompaniment to this solitary activity.
However, not any old heavy music will do for a good power jog. I listen to music while running for several reasons:
- Distraction – it really helps me to forget about any pain or exhaustion and get into the meditative state
- Noise – I find hearing my own breathing is a real reminder of the energy I’m expending which makes it feel more taxing
- Passing the time – simply, it makes the time pass more quickly
- Keeping rhythm and pace – it’s this I want to discuss in more detail
The music best suited for running needs to be a fairly constant, driving mid-tempo. This is because I tend to subconsciously match my pace to the beat of the music. Too slow and the effect is lost, and I generally find slows me down overall. Too fast and I risk tiring myself out too quickly, or simply not being able to match the pace. So Cathedral’s Forest Equilibrium is out, as is Slayer’s Angel of Death. Also, a very changeable tempo renders the overall effect useless. Subtle tempo shifts across longer tracks, or between tracks are very welcome (especially if you’re doing aerobic/anaerobic alternation), but spazzy stuff like Grindcore or the constant ebb and flow of Opeth is simply not up to the job, no matter how much I like it at any other time.
The other attribute I find helps immeasurably is aggression. Yes I could stick on a dance mix and achieve roughly the same effect with regards to tempo, but nothing beats balls to the wall angst to get you pounding the pavement.
What I’ve discovered is punk/hardcore is great for running to, as well as standard old school heavy metal and some hard/classic rock. Avoid anything drone or extremely down tempo and most doom, stoner, death, black.
Here’s my playlist for a 25 – 30 minute power jog. I start off slightly down tempo to get warmed up, and slowly wind up – this is how I like to structure my run (I find it easier to push myself at the end when the endorphins are flowing). The idea is to match your footfall to the tempo of the track.
The moderate start
High on Fire – Fury Whip
Ghost of a Thousand – Bright Lights
The mid-paced midsection
The Dillinger Escape Plan – Milk Lizard
Refused – Summerholidays vs Punk Routine
The sprint to the finish
Carcass – Heartwork
Black Sabbath – Neon Knights
(Disclaimer: I’m neither a fitness expert nor a personal trainer. I accept no responsibility for any damage you may do to yourself while using this playlist during recreational exercise. If you’re not an experienced runner, you should probably try and find other tracks of a similar tempo to tracks 1 and 2)
If anyone else has any recommendations of songs to run to then please let me know!