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How to Craft the Ultimate Dance Party–Inspired Running Playlist


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DJ and musical director Tiff McFierce knows a thing or two about getting a crowd pumped up. When she isn't DJ'ing exclusive parties for events like the Grammys or the US Open, she's spinning for crowds of 20,000+ at Madison Square Garden as the first female resident DJ for the New York Knicks, or curating a sick workout playlist at boxing gym Dogpound for a clientele that regularly includes A-list celebs. So we tapped her for tips on how to create the ultimate set-list-turned-running-playlist to get you through your training for the #WomenRunTheWorld Shape Half Marathon. Check out her tips—plus an exclusive "Women Run the World" Spotify playlist curated by Tiff herself. (And be sure to say "hi" the day of the race at the finish line party!)


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Let's face it: Some days you wake up pumped and ready to take on those training runs and other days… you make every excuse in the book to put it off. One thing that helps me when I'm lacking in motivation is music! The right tunes can make me kick into high gear and get 'er done! I curate running playlists the same way I rock a great party. So let's break down how to create the ultimate party playlist—for yourself.  

The Warm-Up

Think of your warm-up tunes as the equivalent of "walk-in" tunes—but instead of walking into a party or nightclub and grabbing a drink and mingling with your friends, you're drinking your water, getting in your pre-run stretching, and saying hi to your running buddies (or just checking in with yourself with some breathing). Your "walk-in" songs should stretch into the start of your run as well so you can set the pace and get yourself into the groove! You never want to jump right into the party with the fastest tracks tempo-wise—and you most definitely do not want to do that in your run, so stick with songs that are between 55 and 97 BPMs (beats per minute).

But don't get *too* fixated on BPMs. Focus on what gives you that push to get going and what lifts your vibrations. Music can put you in a whole new mental state, so the songs you open up your running set with are major.  I find it's best to gear up with songs that inspire you to get moving (of course), but that also put you in a clear state of mind and make you feel confident about yourself and the task at hand, so you're ready to give your own #MyPersonalBest. (See what I did right there #ShapeSquad?!)

Get Your Pace Going

Here's when it's time to cut the small talk and get everyone on the dance floor—aka bust out some serious jams. Mix things up by playing a combination of the hottest new tracks and your favorite old-school classics. The most important thing is to know what works for you. It's easy to get so wrapped up in the beat and start going a bit too fast, too soon. So keep your running goals in mind as you build your ultimate playlist, aiming for songs around 98 to 124 BPM. Some of your favorite songs to put in this section might be around the 60 to 78 BPM range, especially genres like hip-hop, so if there is a specific song that just feels really right in your gut, go for it.

The Home Stretch

Now we're in the home stretch. This is where you as the curator of your ultimate playlist should be playing everything you need to hear to make it through this last bit of your run. If you need to pump up the tempo, play specific songs you know get you super hyped. Or if you're more of a lyrical person like me, play something that truly speaks to you as you wrap up your run.

Sidebar: I meditate often when I DJ. Yes—meditate. It might sound strange, but I've learned that connecting with my breath is one of the truest and most motivating things I can do in my life. So *breathe* while you're listening to your playlist, especially in this last stretch. And of course, have fun—you're almost there!

The Cool-Down

But before grabbing your coat, settling your tab, and saying peace out to your peeps—aka stretching, drinking some water, and saying bye to your running buddies—here's where you slow things down. Again, depending on your mood and what you like, you should slow this down however you see fit and make sure it's something that will help you through recovery as you cool down and breathe it out. Stretching and recovery are beyond important, so make this part of your playlist just as entertaining as the main event. You wouldn't want people leaving your party saying how good you DJ'ed up until the end, would you?! Didn't think so.

Here, check out my exclusive "Women Run the World" Spotify playlist (note you'll need the premium version to hear the playlist in the correct order) for your half-marathon training  and for the day of the race! (And be sure to follow me on Instagram, Spotify, Sound, and Mixcloud @TiffMcFierce for more playlists and DJ mixes.)



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