I finally discovered why so many runners have earbuds in their ears.

For the record, I'm not a runner, and likely never will be. However, I have started running in 2019 and just "competed' in my second ever 5K, the Loveland Classic. I'm hoping to do more events this year, and every time I'm out I'm trying to improve my time.

Until now, I've simply listened to music on the station app or an audiobook. I guess I'm a slow learner. It finally donned on me that I could and should make my own playlist for 5K running. I mean, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Sally Field's In Pieces, somehow it just didn't motivate me to run fast or hard.

So, without giving it a whole lot of thought, I quickly compiled a list of songs I wanted to listen to while I'm running and strategically placed them in the order I wanted. Turned out to be a great playlist. The one common denominator, they all originated in the 1980s. The assortment of music is, by some standards, a bit odd. But, I find it to be an extremely motivational 25 minutes for me.

Here is a song by song look at my motivational 5k playlist that helped me get my 5k time under 25 minutes and to end strong at the finish line.

  • 1

    Eye of the Tiger


    The driving beat of Eye of the Tiger makes it a perfect running song. For anyone who has seen Rocky III once, twice, or 30 times it's the perfect song to start the run. Thoughts go immediately to Rocky Balboa training with his former rival Apollo Creed for the much-anticipated rematch with Clubber Lang. At least for a few moments, I am Rocky.

    Rocky movies tend to be pretty inspirational and so is the music. In fact, when I'm ready for a new playlist it's probably going to start with the Theme from Rocky "Gonna Fly Now."

  • 2



    Footloose is the perfect running song for me. The beat of the song perfectly matches my pace at this point in the race when I'm trying to maintain a good strong pace early on, but not overdo it. In fact, this song fits me so perfectly, I actually thought about making an entire 5K playlist using only this song, but decided that might be a little too much of one song.

  • 3

    Girls Just Want To Have Fun


    This is, perhaps, an odd choice for a running song. There's no driving beat, no inspirational message in the lyrics. It's just a fun, feel-good song that allows me to relax my pace slightly as I  transition into the middle part of the race. It reminds me that I should be having fun while I run and enjoy being in the great outdoors.

  • 4

    You Make My Dreams Come True


    I'm not a huge, over-the-top Hall & Oates fan, and this isn't even my favorite tune of theirs, but it feels right for my list. It's a fun, upbeat song about making your dreams come true. It's a catchy tune with an edge, that provides some spark and energy in the middle of my run.

  • 5

    You Got It


    This may seem like a real headscratcher. Sure, it's an upbeat tune, but hardly seems to fit in a running playlist. So, why is it here? Well, for starters I like the song, and it actually has a pretty nice tempo, even though it's not one of those hard-driving, beat-driven songs.

    Besides that, the lyric "you got it" speaks to me as I'm into the final mile of the race. By this point in the race, I'm starting to push the pace a little, even though the run is getting a little tougher. I remind myself  "You got this. You can do this. Don't let up."

  • 6

    Waiting For A Star To Fall


    If there is a favorite song on the list this would be it, though, not necessarily this version. The Boy Meets Girl version on the radio is one of my all-time favorite pop songs. However, for my run playlist, I stumbled across this workout mix that gives the song a little more energy and more of a steady dance beat, which I'm really needing at this point in the race to keep me going.

  • 7

    We Got the Beat

    GO GO's

    The recurring theme in my playlist is the beat, so this song seemed like an absolutely appropriate way to end. It's a driving song that raises your energy level at a time when you really need it. When this song starts, I know the end of my race is near and I need to push harder than ever to finish as strong as possible and not leave anything out on the course.

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