I'm hoping this will spark a bit of a debate. Running music is a bit of a polarizing topic, and given that I've been running to the sound of silence (and I don't mean simon and garfunkel) for the last few months, I am not as attached to it as some folks.
That said-- a good beat can be be the difference between a good and a bad run. And back when I was running longer distance (training for the 2006 Brooklyn Half Marathon), I noticed that songs were the most consistent way to get a "runner's high." Let's debate if those exist another time-- for now, they do. Deal with it.
I think the best running songs consistently have one thing: a beat that is in time with the landing of your feet-- and hopefully one that pushes you to run just a tid-bit faster.
But making a running mix is really overrated. You spend way too much time crafting it like you're putting on a party-- and then what? You get bored on listen 3. Eventually, you get lazy and start playing albums instead. Don't lie-- you've been there.
SO. I've decided to give you a top 3 "run-to" albums of all time (with commentary). Here are my criteria:
1) Has GREAT first song to get you psyched to run
2) Good, consistent beats
3) Not all songs sound the same
4) Walks the fine line of "I'm embarrassed to listen to this" and "I'm proud I'm rocking this"
5) Has many shifts in songs-- mini explosions of excitement
6) Can be listened to over and over...
7) Songs are not too long, not too short
Stay tuned for the first album tomorrow.