Pump-up Running Playlist for a Love/Hate Runner

Growing up, I never really liked to exercise just for the sake of exercise. I liked to play sports for fun and take dance classes, but was not so into activities that heavily relied on speed, endurance, or fitness in general. I didn't really see a need for exercise in my life.

Teaching Aerobics in my dorm ballroom, Spring 2011

My first term of college I wanted to get my PE credit over with. I was intimidated by the variety of classes offered, but Aerobics caught my eye. I had previously taken some classes from a friend and enjoyed it, so I thought why not. I enrolled Aerobic Dance class, and fell in love.  I was going through a hard time freshmen year, and this class quickly became my happy place. Exercise took a new role in my life: instead of a burden of something I should probably do it became my "me-time", and a way to express myself and relieve stress. I also learned the joy of sharing this practice with others and taught my friends aerobics for about two years. Over time, training, and experience, an awesome thing happened to me: I got hired as a fitness instructor at my school's gym and was paid to work out and motivate others. I taught spinning and dance aerobics (it was called 'Choreographed Cardio') for about three years.

One of the studios I taught in at WOU

During the summer when I wasn't teaching, I found it was not as fun to dance all by myself. So my first summer break during college, I made a goal to enjoy running. Running had always been torturous for me, but I knew it was a great way to stay fit and maintain the feel-good side affects of exercise that I'd enjoyed through teaching.

It was difficult, but eventually that summer I convinced myself that I liked running. I was still slow, it was still hard, but I started to enjoy it in spite of- or maybe even because of- the challenge. Since then, I've had a continuous on again, off again relationship with running. I've completed a few 5k's and two incredibly fun mud runs along with a summer camp red-box returning relay race, but still I often fall into "I hate running" for at least a few months a year.

Daniel and I during the Terrain Mud Run, our group dressed up as a farmer and farm animals

This year I really want to overcome my hot and cold relationship with running. There's a few reasons why. One, it's a tough reality that I no longer get paid to work out (I've applied at a gym in Hermiston and I'm hoping I'll hear from them eventually)! This calls for new motivation and exploring more realistic ways to work out than dancing by myself. Two, it's one of the best ways for me personally to stay fit and in shape. Three, I like to challenge myself- to become better and stronger on the inside and outside. My goal for 2015 is to walk/jog/run a total of at least six miles a week. Right now it's about half walking, but I'm hoping as the year progresses the running portion will increase, and I'll often exceed six miles.
Right after my first 5k, The Shamrock Run

I've had to force myself on a lot of runs to get out of the "I hate running" mindset. One thing that has always helped me is music. Sometimes it's spiritual music, sometimes it's thoughtful rock, but most of the time it's fast-paced pop.

When I started my goal in January, I compiled a playlist of the songs that get me most pumped while I'm running. And what I discovered was my pump up music is pretty darn embarrassing. Deep down I must be a tween. Something about bubblegum pop, girl power anthems, and top 40 hits keeps me going, I guess!

I usually consider my music taste to be pretty evolved and thoughtful, but this collection is mostly... not. However, I wanted to share with you my honest journey of learning to love running year round, and this is what honestly gets me pumped!

So here is my energetic, somewhat embarrassing, pump-up work out playlist for Winter 2015. I put the ones in pink that REALLY get me going fast.

Sing- Ed Sheeran

Break Free- Ariana Grande ft. Zedd

Short Skirt, Long Jacket- Cake

New Romantics- Taylor Swift

You're on My Mind- Imposs ft. J. Jerry

Shower- Becky G

Live While We're Young- One Direction

Light Up the World- Glee Cast

Forever Until Tomorrow- MKTO

Really Don't Care- Demi Lovato ft. Cher Lloyd

All Night- Icona Pop

Stay- TyDi ft. Dia Frampton

All The Things- Pitbull ft. Inna

Kiss You- One Direction

Chandelier- Sia

That Power- Will.i.am ft. Justin Bieber

Love Is All I Got- Feed me and Crystal Fighters

Best Song Ever- One Direction

I Will Never Let You Down- Rita Ora

It's My Birthday- Will.i.am & Cody Wise

The discovery of the joy of exercise was one of the most valuable changes that happened in me during my college years, and I hope it is a lifelong joy. What music keeps you most pumped up during your work outs? What's your music guilty pleasure?

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