Preparing for a daunting 26.2-mile run is often the pinnacle of a recreational athlete's career. A marathon requires intense physical, mental, and emotional stamina. It takes most runners around four months to prepare by building up weekly mileage over time, committing to long runs every 7–10 days, as well as making sure to give their bodies time to rest. Training for the big day involves a daily commitment to running and other cross-training exercises, a nutrient-rich diet, and, of course, building the perfect marathon playlist.
Marathon Training Tips
For beginner runners, the best way to get ready for a marathon is to start small with 5k, 10k, and half-marathon races. According to Runner's World, including shorter races as part of your master training plan is a great way to set more manageable goals and have concrete deadlines along the way. Keeping a training log is another excellent way to hold yourself accountable and see your progress in one organized place. Adding in specific details such as the meals you ate that day, the amount of water you drank, and your resting heart rate is always a good idea.
For more advanced runners, timing is key. To train your body to remain energized and on-pace, even when you are at your most tired, 2:13 marathoner Keith Dowling suggests completing a long run one month before the race. During that run, you should gradually speed up at the 18-mile mark with the last few miles running at or slightly above your marathon goal pace. On race day, it's important to run the first two to three miles around 10 to 15 seconds per mile slower than your goal pace. This ensures that your body won't use up all of its glycogen stores too early so that you can finish strong.
Top Songs for Your Marathon Training Playlist
According to Running USA, the average marathon finishing time in 2014 for men in US marathons was 4:19:27, and the median finishing time for women was 4:44:19. Runners need a long playlist that will keep them motivated and on-pace throughout their whole training process. Take a look at some of the most inspiring, upbeat songs to add to your marathon training and race-day playlists.
In 2014, the average marathon finishing time for men in US marathons was 4:19:27, and the median finishing time for women was 4:44:19.
Source: Running USA
This moving anthem featured on Sia's 2016 album, "This is Acting," received abundant positive feedback for its message of empowerment. Its catchy and spunky lyrics such as "I'm invincible. Yeah, I win every single game. I'm so powerful. I don't need batteries to play" will keep you running and feeling energized. Especially important to play on days when you would rather stay on the couch than train, this song will keep you on track to achieve your marathon goals.
Artist: Meghan Trainor
Another great empowering song, "Me Too" is all about being content with the person you are. Written by lyrical powerhouses Jason Derulo, Peter Svensson, and Trainor herself, this marathon training song will have you feeling self-assured and ready to rock your long runs. The upbeat tempo and irresistibly cheeky lyrics make it a great addition to your running playlist when you need a little extra dose of confidence.
"Can't Feel My Face"
Artist: The Weeknd
A fitting song to play when you've hit the "runner's high," this single from The Weeknd mirrors the euphoric, endorphin-filled feeling you get while running long distances. In fact, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland's School of Medicine in Baltimore shows a clear connection between listening to your favorite music and the release of endorphins. So, if you love The Weeknd's alternative R&B tracks, consider turning up the volume to "Can't Feel My Face" and enjoy all of the pain-relieving and mood-boosting benefits.
"I Got You (I Feel Good)"
Artist: James Brown
It's impossible to feel uninspired while listening to this classic song by James Brown. "I Got You" is Brown's highest-charting song and is frequently played at sporting events to liven up the athletes and spectators. Adding a little soul and funk to your marathon training playlist lets you switch it up and keeps you engaged throughout your training runs.
"I Bet My Life"
Artist: Imagine Dragons
This power ballad was written by Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds about his rocky but ultimately joyous relationship with his parents. Sure to trigger powerful emotions, this song will encourage you to give your all in pursuit of your goals—running or otherwise. Whoever or whatever your inspiration is for running a marathon, "I Bet My Life" will fuel your passion on your training journey.
Artist: Lady Gaga
When you've reached the final stretches of your race with the finish line in sight, Lady Gaga's "Applause" will give you the energy needed to take those last few steps. Inspired by the cheering of her fans at live performances, this song will have you imagining the roar of the crowd and the proud faces of your loved ones who came to support you at the end of the race. At 140 BPM, "Applause" is a fast-paced, suitable option to play while you finish strong.
The Best Running Companion
Throughout the training process and race, you'll need a durable pair of sports headphones that can stand up to the long hours of training. The MDR-XB80BS Sports In-ear Bluetooth® Headphones were built for the challenge, with an IPX5 rating that allows them to handle sweat and a good wash after a run. The ergonomic ear hooks and cable adjuster will keep your headphones in your ears where they belong throughout the entire race. The MDR-XB80BS headphones will also allow you to listen to your high-energy, bass-heavy marathon playlist with its EXTRA BASS technology that enhances the low frequencies and provides powerful, punchy beats to keep you motivated.
Whether it's your first marathon or you are setting out to achieve a new personal record, music is a key component in keeping you focused and driven. Press play on your marathon playlist, hook in your MDR-XB80BS headphones and get ready to run!