A holiday-themed running playlist that’s actually not cheesy

This time last year, it was actually cold in New York. It hit 70, neither a face mask nor layers were necessary for my run today.

This time last year, it was actually cold in New York. It hit 70, neither a face mask nor layers were necessary for my run today.

First off, I will start with the obligatory “HAPPY HOLIDAYS” wishes to you and your loved ones....

OK, now that’s over, I must admit: I’ve never been big on holidays—too much hubbub, too much drama, too much uneaten food, too much tossed-away giftwrap…. It’s essentially a sustainabilitarian’s worst nightmare. (Sustainabilitarian…new word for 2016, Oxford English Dictionary?) 

If you too are tired of “too much” around this time of year, I wholeheartedly recommend going for a run.

If you’re a regular runner, sticking to your schedule can help you maintain a calm and even temperament even as crazed holiday shoppers manically cut you off on the highway or obliviously bump shopping carts into your car at the supermarket (I stocked up on food last week to avoid the latter).

If you’re an occasional runner or don’t think it’s for you, if not running then I recommend at least being active this holiday season. Whether it’s cycling, yoga, strength training, walking, swimming, skateboarding, or whatever, just do something to get moving.

You’ll feel better. Trust me.

Like fresh mozzarella cheese and fine sopressata, running and other activities pair well with good music. It can help get you motivated to move when your mind urges your body to be sedentary. And, though some people like it, and I respect that, holiday music--the um, "cheesy" variety (I think you know what I mean)--drives me off the wall.

So, to that end, I present to you an approximately 35-minute-non-cheesy-yet-holiday-themed running playlist to get you going during these hectic and emotional winter weeks.  

Either listen to it all in one run, or set your mp3 player or phone on shuffle for a surprise. I’ve laid out a workout plan, if you’re so inclined. Take it to the track, treadmill, trail or roads. And enjoy!

Erica's non-cheesy holiday-themed running playlist:

Easy pace (warm-up):

1. Rise to the Sun – Alabama Shakes (3:09)

“Rise to the Sun”: Do your workout in the morning, since we have a little less sunlight this time of year

Endurance pace (60-70% effort):

2. One Big Holiday – My Morning Jacket (5:21)

“One Big Holiday”: Included for its title…I dig the percussion. It will help you work up to a nice tempo quickly.

Quick tempo (80% effort):

3. Holiday – Vampire Weekend (2:18)

“Holiday”: Another aptly titled song (with thematic lyrics) with a high-energy feeling to help you kick it up for a few minutes. Add some spice to your workout by changing pace like this. It burns calories and challenges your lungs…and leg muscles.

Back to endurance pace (60-70% effort):

Coney Island Winter – Garland Jeffreys (3:47)

“Coney Island Winter”: Well, it’s winter. And I’m from N.Y. so this had to be included. 

Winter Windows – Sea Wolf (3:51)

“Winter Windows”: Another “winter”-titled song.

From a Window Seat – Dawes (4:30)

“From a Window Seat”: If you had to travel this holiday season, I’m so, so sorry. But this song is just awesome.

Heartbeat – Kopecky Family Band (3:12)

“Hearbeat”: This time of year should be about being around the ones you love. So, “heartbeat”….

Quick tempo (80% effort):

New Year’s Day – U2 (4:18)

“New Year’s Day”: Kind of the end of the holiday season, hence it is near the end of this playlist. Finish strong, pick up the pace!

Back to endurance pace (60-70% effort):

Karma Police – Radiohead (4:20)

Easy pace (cool-down):

Closer to the Sun – Slightly Stoopid (2:26)

"Closer to the Sun": For the science geeks who know that, due to its tilt and elliptical orbit, the Earth is closest to the sun in the wintertime.

peace. love. run.

Lingering thoughts:

·      Do you have any non-cheesy running/workout songs to recommend?

·      Do you let your fitness routine slide during the holidays?

·      Where is your favorite place to run in the winter/holiday season?

Merry Christmas and happy howl-idays from me and Foo to you.

Merry Christmas and happy howl-idays from me and Foo to you.