Play Your Power Song to Go the Extra Mile

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Every year or two, I get antsy with my fitness routine. My usual cardio becomes boring. Standard strength training doesn't hold my interest anymore. I get bored with my workouts and so I pick up a new pursuit, like Pilates, kettlebells or outdoor cycling. My latest thing is running. I used to be a competitive runner in high school and stuck with endurance running (6-8 miles several times per week) after graduating. But that got stale after a while and I didn't like exercising by myself all the time. So I took up Spinning, which has been my go-to cardio for almost 10 years now. I still love it, but as I was looking for something new to keep my interest and challenge my body in new ways, I returned to running.

At first, it was just once a week that I'd head outside for a 30-minute run. It wasn't easy, but I liked that about it. After a few weeks, I added another day of running to my week. Now I'm up to three times per week, still around 30 to 35 minutes each time.

Last week, I was ready for the next step: ramping up my running time to 40 minutes straight. I was tired that morning and not feeling entirely motivated to go 5 minutes longer, which also meant waking up earlier (and you may remember that I'm not a morning person). But then something happened that gave me a newfound energy to keep going...

OK—two things happened, actually. First, I updated my status on SparkPeople (which also feeds to Facebook) that I planned to run further the next day. Several members and Facebook friends of mine commented and cheered me on. Making my goal public gave me accountability. I didn't want to let others down, and that was a big motivation to push myself the "extra mile" (ok, more like "half mile") the next morning.

As I started running, I wasn't feeling particularly energetic. I tend to start slow, speed up in the middle, and finish slow. I was approaching the 25-minute mark on one of my usual loops, starting to slow down a little where I'd normally make my final turn on the homestretch. Today, however, I would continue going straight to extend my run. With near perfect timing, one of my favorite get-moving songs started playing on my iPod ("Rooftops" by Lostprophets ). I don't just like the beat of this song; I also like the lyrics.

When our time is up
When our lives are done
Will we say we've had our fun?

Will we make our mark this time?
Will we always say we tried?

That song played at the point when I had to choose to either go home or keep running. Not only did I keep running, but I also picked up the pace and ran as fast as I could until I reached my goal of 40 minutes. I actually felt inspired and energized to run even further, but knew I had to get to work soon.

It made me think about Nancy's recent post about theme songs. I thought, "Maybe this is my theme song." Better yet, it's one of my Power Songs! It played at the perfect moment during my run—just when I needed some motivation to keep going.

I often blog about workout music. I think that creating a workout playlist really does work. After last week's experience, I would encourage you to think about your own Power Songs and how you can strategically add them to your workout playlists. Maybe you need them in the beginning, as inspiration to start your workout when you'd rather stay home. (I do this, too.) Maybe you need your power songs in the middle of your workout or at that 20-minute mark when you start feeling tired and question whether you have the endurance to continue. Alternatively, like me, maybe you need it on the day you're choosing to push harder or farther than before—to remind yourself that you CAN in fact do it! No matter how you use them, I encourage you to think about your power songs. Some might have a great beat that you can't sit still do; others might have lyrics that inspire you to be your best ("Will we always say we tried?" worked for me.)

I'm going to keep thinking about my Power Songs so I can create a great playlist for my next 5K this September. I'll be running with Nancy, Stepfanie and other SparkPeople members the day after the SparkPeople Convention, and my goal is to run the whole route—yes, even up the big, big hills—without walking as I did during my first 5K. With enough Power Songs up my sleeve, I know I can do it!

Do you have any Power Songs? Do they help motivate or energize you when you need it most?

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KATHYJO56 1/1/2021
I've never picked a particular power song, but it would be a great idea Report
LEANJEAN6 11/3/2020
Anne Murray--a real Canadian! Report
RACHAEL2020 7/24/2020
Love Power Music! Report
JIACOLO 6/13/2020
I need to come up with my power song! Report
DEE107 6/8/2020
thanks Report
CECELW 4/9/2020
i feel like i've read this article before Report
JUNETTA2002 2/17/2020
Thanks for sharing Report
Katrina & the Waves - Walking on Sunshine Report
My power song is 'Heroes' from the Hollywood Vampires, sung by Johnny Depp. Report
Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode has a great beat and perks me up.
Lift Me Up by Five Finger Death Punch featuring Rob Halford makes me push harder.
Word Up! remix by Korn
Die With Your Boots On by Iron Maiden
Bleed it Out By Linkin Park
Diamond Eyes by Shinedown

Just a few on my current playlist. Report
Haven't pulled together a playlist yet. Did have several SparkPeople friends share their spotify workout playlist with me. Have also been seeing a number of people sharing on Pinterest their playlists for all kinds of things (not just HIIT, Tabata, workouts but mood enhancers too) Report
No power songs. I don't listen to popular music very often any more. Report
I have gone through a lot over the last couple of years. Rise Up by Andra Day helps remind me that I will get past it all and be better for it. Report
This is why I exercise alone. Workouts last forever if you don't have music and partners want to talk. Report
Thanks. Report
I have two go-to songs if I can't be moved by anything else. "Freedom" - Paul McCartney and "Born To Run" - Bruce Springsteen. They can get the engine rolling again. Report
great. Report
good article Report
Thank u Report
My all time favorite is "Footloose" and when I hear it I will speed up whatever I am doing. Can't help it! Report
Some great songs in here! Loved the blog and all the comments. Report
I love This Girl is on Fire by Alisha Keys. Report
Second song to get me going - the theme song from Chariots of Fire - an instrumental by Vangelis. Wow - and if you consider it was written to go with a movie about Olympic runners even more impressive. Report
Listening to music does make a difference I used to run to the Doors - Touch Me - really got me going. Deaf now and also can't run. I will always always miss being able to do this. You are so fortunate. Appreciate it. Report
A power song really does have an impact.
When I hear the guitar solo during Arterial Black from the band Drist, there is nothing I can't lift, nothing I can't run. The lyrics aren't great, but it doesn't matter, the feel of the song is powerful. Report
Dogs by Pink Floyd awesome guitar much BETTER than today's crap. Report
I have several, so I can't remember all of them.
here are a few that come to mind:
Running Down a Dream - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
The Distance - Cake
Walk - Foo Fighters
My Body - Young the Giant Report
I like Chayanne's new song Madre Tierra Report
Green Day " Know Your Enemy". Whenever I feel like I can't do anymore I play this and fight against the enemy of self doubt. Report
I like running to "Don't Panic" by French Montana Report
My number one power song, that makes me feel strong, that keeps me going, that pushes me that extra mile has always been Eminem's "Lose Yourself". I credit that song for helping me lose 200 pounds. Report
When I'm walking on the treadmill for my warmup, I start at a 3.5 for the speed and strut to "Move It Like Ya Stole It" by ZZ Ward. I LOVE It Report
Overcomer by Mandisa! I have it in the middle AND the end of my Playlist! It gives me the extra push I need during my run. Report
The music keeps me going during my workouts. I change the playlist every few months or so. Right now my power song is "There's Only One Way to Rock" by Sammy Hagar. Report
Heather Small's Proud. Report
My power song gets me straight with all the crazy people in my life, Billy Currington's "God is Great, Beer is good and People are Crazy". I put on my running shoes, head for the beach, punch that button on my ipod and the stress of dealing with all those people just evaporates! And BTW, it is also my ringtone!

very motivating blog! THANKS Report
Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive Report
I love listening to music! My favorite band to workout to is Alter Bridge. I would say my power song is "Rise Today." That song is perfectly timed to one of my favorite ski runs on Stevens Pass, and it pushes me to ski harder! Report
Shots by LMFAO is my current power song... listening to it while on the elliptical or running is like strapping a jet pack onto my feet - UNSTOPPABLE! Report
When I need to make it those last few minutes I go to Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" and Taio Cruz's "Dynamite." Yes, I do "throw my hands up in the air sometimes." Or just fist pump a bit so I don't look like the looney lady running down the street. Report
I am going to have to work on this for me. Report
I'm not really into Power Songs but having read this blog and all the comments I can't wait to try out some of these favorites. Thanks! Report
I am going to work out more with music it will probably help me. Report
Boys II Men. I know that seems silly, but actually for walking, it has a great beat to get you walking 14-15 minute miles. Report
I put my Blackberry Pandora on Manafest Radio. It's cutting edge Christian, and usually includes LeCrae, GRITS and other amped up Christian music. VERY motivating, and POSITIVE!! Report
My power songs...Danger Zone by Kenny Loggin
Living On A Prayer Bon Jovi
Eye Of A Tiger by Survivors
Under Pressure by Queens
These are just a few of them. But they really do get me going no matter what workout I am doing. Report
Ok..showing my age. I MUST have my power songs.
80's Van Halen - Jump; Any John "Cougar" Mellenkamp, - Almost any Heart - Huey Lewis, I Want a New Drug. This is just a sampling, but as of right now these really get me going.
I have to have music to get me through my workout! My MP3 contains an extremely eclectic mix of tunes ranging from the 60s to the present and classical to hard rock. At the moment I would list these 3 as my top "power songs":

1) Danger Zone - Kenny Loggins
2) Eye of the Tiger - Survivor
3) Victory - Bond

All of these will help push me through a tough workout and the last one is great for my cardio, either the elliptical or stationary bike. Anyone who can keep pace to the tempo throughout that whole song is definitely my hero! Report