I’m pretty new to this “running” thing. I mean, I’ve exercised before, and even consistently enough to actually get in better shape. But running was something I was always against. Even in gym class when we were told to run a mile, I was always part of the gaggle of girls who would walk around the track. (I’m sorry, but I am very pale and I sweat a lot so if I’m running, I’m bright red and dripping in sweat at the end. That’s not a great look to show up to other classes with.) Running just always seemed awful to me. Like, give me a Pilates DVD to do at home or some yoga on the Wii Fit and I’m good to go, but running? Yuck.
I’ve now realized that one of the best aspects of running is what you get to do or listen to as you run. For a while I was listening to episodes of The Vampire Diaries or Cheers on Netflix Instant but I had to give that up because I would get too involved in the shows. So I made myself a running playlist and set to work. Now, I’m partial to songs like ‘Firework’ or ‘Walking on Sunshine’ when I’m running. But I realized something amazing the other day: Kelly Clarkson songs are the best to run to.
Now, I’m not talking about the ballads. I’m talking about some Kelly Clarkson ANTHEMS. I once got two Kelly songs in a row on shuffle and just about died of happiness. I now even have a playlist just of the four Kelly Clarkson songs I like running to just so I can cut to the chase and stop pretending I’m going to listen to ANYTHING else.
1. Great For Fantasy Running
I’m just going to assume we all follow Mindy Kaling on Twitter and have read Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and therefore know all about her “revenge fantasies” on the treadmill.
I wouldn’t say I have REVENGE fantasies specifically, but I definitely have fantasies on the treadmill as a motivator (because of Mindy Kaling). Yes, usually Kelly Clarkson is singing about a guy being a jerk and having the courage to dump him or get over him or whatever. And I’m married. So I don’t specifically have that fantasy. But I do have the “Oh, you’re a jerk? Well, now I’m running all the time and am going to be super skinny so BOOYAH” fantasy. (Aimed at no one in particular but just the general . . . world.)
It doesn’t even matter if the song is about a guy specifically because you can change it in your mind to be anything. The best one for this is ‘Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)’, which we adopted at work during a rough day as our theme song. Sometimes you just need Kelly to get through the day. And especially when you’re running, what better way is there to get motivation than with the lyrics “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”??
Also, let’s all agree that song titles with a parenthetical aside are the best.
2. Always a Big Key Change At Some Point
One thing you can count on in a Kelly Clarkson ballad is a good old-fashioned key change and/or dramatic chorus. These are the BEST. When I was a kid my friends and I were obsessed with dramatic key changes and it really helps with running. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on the treadmill and almost punched the air Rocky-style in triumph.
‘My Life Would Suck Without You’ is great for this. Especially if you picture the scene from Glee which uses this song. (I haven’t kept up with this show since this episode, basically but just thinking about it is making me almost cry.)
So just know, when I’m listening to that song I’m thinking about Mr. Shue running down the hallway to kiss Ms. Pillsbury. And crying.
3. It Really Helps To Lip-Synch While Running
I don’t know about you, but I think to really get into the spirit of running you have to sort of embrace the Phoebe Buffay school of running which involves not caring what anyone thinks about you when you run.
Sure, I’m on a treadmill and not in Central Park, but I still try not to be bothered by what others think of me. And what really helps me run is lip-synching along to every single song I am listening to. So, I’m on a treadmill and I’m really intensely lip-synching along. It’s great when I don’t turn the TV on the treadmill on because it acts as a mirror of sorts and I can watch myself singing and get some serious motivation that way.
I was talking to my friend about running and she said she loves watching her legs in the mirror when she runs. I don’t have a mirror on my legs, so I focus on my super serious lip-synching face. And it really helps.
I guess, Kelly, wherever you are, I just want to say thank you. You’re helping me get off the couch and actually run and I’m grateful for that.
My life would suck without you.
(Main image from amazon.com, awesome playlist image from me, Friends image from my DVD)