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A music track for the run

What do seasoned runners listen to when they run?

Actor Milind Soman. Photo: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times
Actor Milind Soman. Photo: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times

1. ‘Sheila Ki Jawani’

I stopped listening to music on my runs in 2012. I just didn’t need it anymore. A few weeks ago I was running an ultra marathon from Uttarkashi to Rishikesh and it involved running all through the night. So, I made a playlist to keep myself awake. Staying alive is the reason I found myself listening to music again on my run. I love pop. Sheila Ki Jawani, Saturday Night Full Tight, Beyoncé, Rihanna and Adele were thestaples.

Milind Soman, actor and co-founder, Pinkathon;ultra runner; Mumbai

2. Heavy breathing of other runners

I like to hear the birds chirp and sing as I run but that’s rare in the cement jungle that I live in suburban Mumbai. On race day, I love the energy and rhythm of thousands of runners breathing heavily and feet hitting the ground. Then there is the loud cheering crowd that is shouting encouragement at us all. It works for me, so I need no other music when running.

Bhasker Desai, businessman; sticks to halfmarathons now; Mumbai

3. Old Bollywood songs

I listen to old songs because they make me comfortable with the pace I need to maintain during my training runs. I love the lyrics of those songs, the beats are fast and peppy, and it keeps my mind calm and takes the attention away from the pain. I listen to Hindi songs because I can relate to those words and emotions better than the English numbers. However, on race day, I do not listen to any music.

Gagan Arora, fitness coach and founder, Kosmic Fitness; runs marathons, half marathons; New Delhi

4. Mix tape: a bit of Hindi, some trance and a bit of rock

My running playlist changes a fair bit since I tend to get bored and a bit of variation is required. But there are staples like Eye Of The Tiger, Stayin’ Alive and OneRepublic’s Kids that I love. Among the Hindi songs that I have been listening to for a while are Zinda from Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Arijit Singh’s Ilahi. Lot of times, I don’t even know the name of the songs I am listening to while running.

Shaibal Dutt, national sales manager, Goodricke Group Ltd; prefers half marathons; Kolkata

5. Podcasts

It is only when I am running at a really slow pace for my marathon training that I carry my phone and listen to something. I listen to podcasts such as 99pi (99% Invisible), Reply All, The Economist, Slate’s Political Gabfest, Planet Money, Hidden Brain and ESPN’s 30 for 30.

Vrinda Bhandari, advocate; half marathons are her favourite; Noida, near Delhi

6. Punjabi songs

I listen to anything by Sharry Maan and Ranjit Bawa. My two favourites are Chandigarh Waliye and Chandigarh Returns. Punjabi songs have everything that I like, such as a lot of bass, emotion and a small story in each song. Whenever I run with music, I cut off from everything else and am able to completely concentrate on my running. In that moment, I don’t think of anything else.

Nitendra Singh Rawat, athlete, represented India in the marathon at the 2016 Rio Olympics; marathoner; Bageshwar in Uttarakhand

7. Avicii

I have fond memories of listening to Avicii so I listen to him a lot. I had reached the 30km mark on race day and Wake Me Up came on. It really helped me pick up my pace and spirit. I like to start my run with Sweet Child O’ Mine dedicated to my tween, who is my inspiration. Mid-run the Rocky Balboa soundtrack puts me in that Rocky zone. I also enjoy Cake By The Ocean, it’s peppy. Music is a good distraction for a recreational runner like me.

Gayathrie Maediratta, corporate communications, IBM India; runs marathons, half marathons and 10k races; Bengaluru

8. Podcasts

I don’t need music to find my rhythm when I run. But I try to make the best use of the time available to me so I listen to podcasts. It helps in keeping my mind engaged and away from the inevitable pain. I catch up on football and my favourite club Arsenal on podcasts such as Football Weekly by The Guardian, Arsecast by Arseblog, The Tuesday Club. I also enjoy This American Life.

Nirav Mehta, managing director,Morgan Stanley; half marathons; Mumbai

9. ‘Hanuman Chalisa’

I listen and hum along to the Hanuman Chalisa the moment I set foot on the tarmac to start my run. Not only does it de-stress me but it also has an amazing effect on my self-confidence. I feel so much in control of my runs. There have been times when things haven’t gone as planned, but, a few chants of its verses and I shed off all negativity, ready with a rebooted me.

Minal Sukhija Kotak, chartered accountant; ultra marathon runner; New Delhi

10. Radio Tunes and more

All through my training I listen to music depending on what I like at that point in time. I have had my time with Justin Timberlake (Can’t Stop The Feeling), George Ezra (Budapest), Maroon 5 (Sugar), Sia (Cheap Thrills) and Justin Bieber (Love Yourself). But I usually tune into RadioTunes, which offers a lot of stations. I have heard Paris Radio (Café de Paris), hip-hop and, through December, it was Christmas carols on that app. On race day, the sound of feet hitting the road is my only music.

Maria Goretti, cookbook author, chef and TV host; half marathoner; Mumbai

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