My name is Nicole DiMercurio. I am originally from Atlanta, Georgia but now live and train at ZAP Fitness/ Reebok in Blowing Rick, North Carolina. I began running with my dad my last year of middle school. I absolutely hated running, but loved that it was something my dad and I did together. I ended up trying out for my high school’s cross country team, made the team (yay!) and ran my first race. After my first race, I was addicted to running. I loved that you got as much out of running as you put into it. From then, I ran all four years of track and cross country for my high school and went on to run for The University Of Georgia.
Outside of running, my hobbies include reading, graphic design, and binge watching Netflix. My favorite author is Stephen King, with my all-time favorite book being The Shining. I first read this book when I was thirteen years old and entirely too young to read it (my mom warned me but I said I could handle it…I ended up having nightmares for three weeks). As for graphic design, I am currently trying to master both Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. For someone that has trouble sending and receiving texts/email/navigating the Internet, this was a huge challenge for me when I first started. My favorite Netflix shows include Breaking Bad (I’ve watched it six times through, very proud of this), Arrested Development, and American Horror Story.
While I would much rather run with another person or with a group, I enjoy listening to music when I am running alone. When people see me running with headphones, I often get some form of question about what I am listening to. I like to pretend I’m a running music connoisseur, so I usually have a list ready. The following is a few tips and tricks I like to keep in mind when perfecting my playlist for the next run.
The most important thing for me is to keep my playlist fresh. I like to add new music and subtract songs I frequently skip. I usually do this the day before a hard workout or a long run. This tends to give me a little boost and make me excited to start the run and keep me going in the middle of a tough workout or seemingly impossible long run.
For long runs specifically, I am a fan of listening to new music. If I find an artist I like, I will purchase and download their whole album and listen to it in its entirety. This allows both upbeat songs when you need a boost and slow songs for the grinding miles. As a plus, it also makes you sound super hip when you talk about the artist in every day conversation, as you get to say you’re a “true” fan and know all their songs- not just the hits. Another thing I like to do is find an artist I know nothing about, buy their album, and take the long run as an opportunity to broaden my horizons.
Upbeat song staples for me include “Party In The U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus, “Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj, and “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift. Honorable mentions include “Closer” by the Chainsmokers and“Bom Bidi Bom” by Nick Jonas and Nicki Minaj. These are not necessarily songs I would listen to on my own time, but perfect for an upbeat workout boost.
Which leads me to my next point: the best thing about running playlists is that no one has to know what you are listening to. If Katy Perry’s “Roar” or Fergie’s “Glamorous” pumps you up, you don’t have to tell anyone. You can pretend you are listening to something completely different.
When I am cross training I tend to listen to podcasts. I am a huge fan of true crime podcasts with my favorite being “Criminal”, “Sword and Scale”, and of course “Serial”. Usually cross training involves being inside, and more likely than not also includes staring at a wall. Listening to a podcast helps to take your mind on an adventure and helps to reduce the monotony of the dreaded cross training.
With all of this in mind, I have found that one of the hardest things to do is keep your playlist fresh. New music is sometimes hard to come by, with artists not coming out with new hits as frequently as you want (I’m talking to you, Taylor Swift). When this happens for me, I like to put my entire iTunes Library on shuffle and rediscover gems such as Avril Lavinge’s “Girlfriend,” as well as other songs I have missed dearly.
I also like to find workout remixes of my favorite songs. As I mentioned previously, the music I listen to on my runs is not the music I listen to in my everyday life. Remixes may be hard to come by, but they exist when you might not think they do. I recently found a fantastic workout remix to Halsey’s “Colors” (the Anki Bootleg Remix if anyone is interested). I also just like finding remixes to songs that are already upbeat. A personal favorite of mine is The Lost King’s Remix to Rhianna’s “Work”. Great remixes are out there, it just takes a little bit of searching!
If there is any take away from this post, it needs to be that while listening to music while you run is fun, it is important to be safe. Always run with your music on low volume. This ensures that you are aware of your surroundings. This goes for both urban and rural areas. Make sure to be aware of the traffic around you, and take a few seconds every mile or so to check behind you.
Running with music is a great thing, but make sure it adds to your run instead of rule your run. Running is a great opportunity to meet new people as well as enjoy the peace of nature and having a few minutes of just “you” time. If you find yourself panicking about leaving your iPod at home, it might be time for that peaceful nature run!