Tuesday, May 11, 2010

EDU: How To Make A Running Mix

As SS's most recent blog post has alluded, a good running/biking/pilates mix can transform a crappy workout into an enjoyable experience, and can push a good workout into another gear you didn't know you had. Most people (including yours truly) usually throw a bunch of songs they like onto their iPod and press shuffle. Making an honest-to-goodness running mix however, is an art. Even Nike themselves have commissioned several notable artists to make an original running mix for them. Artists from A-Trak to LCD Soundsystem have tried their hand at stitching together a series of tracks to mirror a typical workout arc. A steady, deliberate build, a pulsing, relentless peak, and a harmonious cool-down climax to let you catch your breath. Simple concept, but difficult to pull off. Mostly because everyone runs differently at different paces and with different needs. What pushes one person to run a 5-minute mile, may leave another dry-heaving in the bushes. Thankfully, the aforementioned musicians are professionals and the mixes they have created do exactly what they are designed to do, namely, make you forget how much you hate whatever you are doing.  

I spent a couple minutes thinking about the tone of SS's bike-to-work mix, before quickly concluding that anything short of gangster rap would probably result in his untimely expiration. When you are biking at 6AM, you need everyone of your wits about you, and a thunderous bass should go a long way in keeping you awake. That's not to say I didn't add a certain hipster 'je ne sais quoi', but I tried to keep it in check. 15 minutes and a few sequencing adjustments later, a 10-track, 38 minute opus was born. I opened with a shimmery, synth-laden track from N.A.S.A, peppered in a few hip-hop staples, a remix or two, and ended matters on a breezy, refreshing note. If you're interested in hearing what I came up with, "holler at me" on Gchat and I'll share a link with you.

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