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Friday, August 15, 2014

Awesome Running Mix: Volume 1

Ever since I saw Marvel's The Guardians of the Galaxy last week, I've been completely enamored with the soundtrack.  The 12 tracks, which represent both hits and one-hit-wonders of the 1970's, were hand-picked by the film's director James Gunn.  I love the soundtrack, first and foremost, for the way it captures the adventurous, irreverent spirit of the movie.  I knew immediately that I wanted to incorporate these songs into my running mixes.  According to a handful of interviews, actor Chris Pratt also listened to these songs while training for his role in this movie.  Pratt now-famously lost 60 pounds during this training period, so, obviously, working out to this soundtrack yields results!  Whether trying to get fit, nail a PR, or just have a blast while running, I've comprised some of my favorite tracks from the bunch. 

To Channel your inner Space Cowboy

"Come and Get your Love" - Redbone

For those unfamiliar with the term, Space Westerns are a sub genre of Science Fiction that feature elements of a Western - exploration of uncharted lands, archetypical heroes and villains battling on the fringes of civilization, and other hi-jinx in the "Final Frontier."  Guardians of the Galaxy kicks itself off with our hero,  Peter "Star-Lord" Quill, dancing to "Come and Get your Love" as he explores an uninhabited planet in search of a mysterious artifact.  The scene sets the tone for the movie perfectly, and the song has just the right joie de vivre of the lovable outlaw who aims to misbehave.  The song is catchy, upbeat, and ideal for a lighthearted run exploring a new route or appreciating the character of an old one.

To Rock Your Way to a PR

"Cherry Bomb" - The Runaways

If "Come and Get your Love" is Star-Lord's song, "Cherry Bomb" belongs to Rocket.  The raccoon-like creature embodies the relentless energy and wily strategy necessary to achieve a personal record in a race.  The girl-power punk-rock anthem has both the driving guitar and the powerful vocals to propel any runner speedily towards a new goal.

To Endure the Middle Third of a Long Run

"O-O-H Child" - The Five Stairsteps

Cool, calm, sunny, and steady, this track is practically designed to be rocked during a long run.  The lyrics alone are enough to make this the mantra of the distance runner mid-workout:  O-O-H Child, things are gonna get easier.  

To Crush the Final Third of a Long Run

"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

After "O-O-H Child" pushes you towards the end, trust the lyrics of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" to push you across the finish line.  No matter how may hill repeats you may already have run, just remember that there's no mountain too high to keep you from the family, friends, brunch, and bling that await you on the other side.

To Strut your Stuff at a Rest-Day Dance Party

"I Want You Back" - The Jackson Five

On a cross-training or rest day, many a runner enjoys dancing, whether in a fitness studio, in the club, or just in the kitchen while making dinner.  One of the more commercially popular songs from this soundtrack, "I Want You Back" spent time on the Billboard charts, and was gleefully danced to as the Jackson Five performed on the TV show Soul Train.  During his lifetime, Michael Jackson cemented his legacy as one of the world's most skilled dancers, but, after watching Guardians of the Galaxy, this song crowned a new champion of dance.  I won't share any spoilers, but stick around during the credits to see some masterful dancing to this track, and then bust some moves yourself!  (For those who have already seen the movie, or don't mind being spoiled, watch the delightful dance clip here.)

Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix, Vol. 1 has earned its spot in my rotation of running mixes.  While I focused on just a handful of tunes here, the remainder of the songs on the mix are just as awesome.  The full mix is available on iTunes for download and, for those who prefer a more retro experience, on CD.  Sadly, it looks like there is not a cassette available for purchase, so the purists will have to make their own mix tape.  Whether you enjoy these songs while running, dancing, walking, or adventuring, I hope that others enjoy this soundtrack as much as I have!

*All photos included in this post have been taken from the Guardians of the Galaxy gallery at  While this post is an endorsement of a product, all opinions are my own and I have not received any compensation for my endorsement.

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