Your Complete 5K Playlist: From 0 to 3.1

4 years ago

My friend, Kate, and I are running a 5K tomorrow morning. It will be my third and her first. We've been training together for several weeks and I'm so excited to share this experience with her and watch her achieve this goal she has set for herself! Also, the race benefits a local humane society, which is perfect for dog lovers like us!

I know people frequently share their favorite running songs or what is on their running playlist. But it hit me on Monday during our 3 mile training run, that the right songs, at the right time, can really make a difference. At least for me. It just so happened that the "random shuffle" of my playlist that day built me up at the right times, steadied my pace when needed, and motivated me to finish strong.

As I prepare my songs for tomorrow, I'm taking what I figured out on Monday and putting it into a mile-by-mile playlist. And of course I wanted to share it with you! You certainly can use different songs to suit your taste, but I would suggest trying to go with the tempos/pace songs I suggested and see if it produces results for you like it did for me!

I finished my run on Monday (at 3 miles) feeling like I could do it all over again right then and there. I wasn't sucking air and counting down the seconds until my phone announced: "Distance: 3 miles". I was enjoying the scenery, crisp weather, and songs that were pumping through my headphones. That's a good feeling!

This complete playlist is based on a 10 minute mile. Yes, I'm slow. But I'm OK with it.

Mile 1 

For the first mile I like to start slow and steady. I like to find a comfortable pace and avoid jumping out fast so my legs don't die early. I find songs that have a steady beat. Not necessarily a slow Adele song, but one that is more calm with a smooth sound. You could call these the SWAG songs. For me, Mile 1 is all about getting into the run physically and mentally and these songs set the tone.

Song 1: Justine Timberlake- TKO (4:32)

Song 2: Chris Brown - Love More (3:13)
Song 3: Chiddy Bang - Ray Charles (3:51)

Other Mile 1 favorites:

  • Lorde - Team (3:14)
  • Miley Cyrus - We Can't Stop (3:34)


Mile 2

Mile 2 is where I need to kick it into high gear. I've found my comfortable pace. Now I need to push myself to steadily increase my speed . After all, I want to beat my best time of 30:03! For this mile, I choose songs that are obviously upbeat and enthusiastic. These are your "pre game locker room songs", whatever gets you hyped up. Also, I love finding a quick steady beat that I can match my steps to. That way the song does most of the work for me! It's all mental, right?

Song 1: Skrillex - Bangarang (3:37)

Song 2: T-Pain - Church (4:06)



Song 4: MKTO - Classic (2:54)

Other Mile 2 favorites:

  • Olly Murs - Dance With Me Tonight (3:27)
  • Taylor Swift - 22 (4:04)


Mile 3.1

Mile 3.1 is where I pull out all the stops. Not only do I want songs that are upbeat and have a catchy tempo, but now I choose ones that are motivational. This is the home stretch. Mile 3 is where you either feel like shit and give up or you power through the pain and kill it. Think girl power songs by Christian Aguilera and Kelly Clarkson from back when we were young. I've noticed that most of mine happen to be sassy break up songs (event though it's not relevant to my life currently!). It's just whatever you need to hear to get you across that finish line. Here's my current choices.

Song 1: Miss Movin' On - 5th Harmony (3:20)

Song 2: Taylor Swift - I Knew You Were Trouble (3:41)


Song 3:  Kerri Hilson - Pretty Girl Rock (4:14)

Other Mile 3.1 favorites:

  • Kristina DeBarge - Goodbye (3:29)
  • Run the World - Beyonce (4:51)
I can't wait to crush this 5K tomorrow morning with the help of my running buddy, Kate, and this strategically planned playlist! I'll let you all know how we do!
Have a great weekend!
For more, visit Kaliwood.
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