Turkey Trot 5K Playlist

How the heck do you curate the perfect playlist for a 5K, a race that lasts an average runner less than 30 minutes to run?

I add a bunch of upbeat songs that are proven motivators to keep me on 5K pace. Nothing slow and no ballads, here, just tunes with somewhere around 180 beats per minute. I also add extra songs to flip to in case there’s a dud or two in the list that slows me down or just flat-out annoys me mid-race.

So, without further ado, my 2014 Turkey Trot 5K Playlist:

turkey trot playlist

1. “Red Lights,” Tiesto

I started running the Mustache Dache to this song, which has the perfect tempo for the start of a 5K because it’s up-tempo without being too fast. It’ll help me keep from flying out at 7:00-minute for that first mile.

2.  “Hurricane,” Bridgit Mendler

This embarrassing-yet-catchy song is here thanks to my daughter, who watches way too much Disney Channel. As humiliating as it may be, it’s a good song for running quickly.

3.  “Shower,” Becky G

Also thanks to my daughter for bringing this syrupy-sweet pop confection to my Turkey Trot playlist. It’s bouncy and light, perfect for running fast and distracting me from the discomfort that may set in around 10 minutes into the race.

4.  “Blank Space,” Taylor Swift

Because Scary Taylor provides major motivation to run away. And I like the song.


5.  “Wild Ones,” Flo Rida featuring Sia

I am physically incapable of compiling a playlist without including Sia. She’s phenomenal and I love this song. In fact, I think this song has been on every one of my playlists since its debut.  It should boost my pace a bit when my body needs that extra help, which is somewhere during Mile 2.

6.  “Bang Bang,” Jessie J, Ariana Grande (!) & Nicki Minaj

Credit for this one–which features another Disney Channel wunderkind–goes once again to my darling pop-loving daughter. Ariana Grande’s voice drives me cuckoo but her vocals on this collaboration are downplayed. Plus there’s Nicki Minaj. Butt implants or no, Nicki Minaj sings/raps playlist-worthy songs.

7.  “Part of Me,” Katy Perry

Every playlist also needs some Katy Perry. I flip back and forth between “Firework.” This time I’m going with “Part of Me.” And this song may be the one that gets me through the final kick and across the finish line with a PR.

8.  “We Can’t Stop,” Miley Cyrus

I should only hear this song during the race if 1 of 2 things occur: (1) I throw up at the Mile 3 marker from going too hard after a PR, in which case I’ll need this song to motivate me to slowly keep moving forward, or (2) Ariana Grande’s voice bugged me so badly that I had to flip forward, in which case I’ll finish the race with this song.

9.  “Worn Me Down,” Rachael Yamagata

This “old” chestnut is great for half- and full-marathons, but may be a little pokey for a 5K. It’s a backup song, though, and it has such a nice melody that it shouldn’t matter.

10.  “Only Happy when It Rains,” Garbage

Another song from back in the day (i.e., the 90s) that will probably play only if I’ve crashed and burned. I say “probably” because there is a chance I’ll flip to it if it’s really rainy during the race. Potential race theme song, guyyysss!

11.  “XO,” Beyonce

I’m not sure why I tacked this on to the end of my Turkey Trot playlist other than that I like this song a lot (Challenger-disaster-recording notwithstanding). It’s a better song for a half- or full-marathon playlist, but oh well. It’s my playlist. If I hear this song on Thursday, I’ll have PW’ed and will need a favorite song to cheer me up.

What are your current favorite songs on your running playlist? Do you listen to music during races?

2 thoughts on “Turkey Trot 5K Playlist

  1. Thank you for my Thanksgiving gift, Molly, since I know you made this just for me; I am totally using this whole playlist. 😉 HA! I hope you have a wonderful time tomorrow and a great Thanksgiving holiday!

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