I'm not a morning person. On a scale of chipper to personality disorder, I veer dramatically toward the latter. But given the demands of the day (breaking news, social obligations, general exhaustion), the early hours are really my only available exercise time.
Work with what you've got, right? When I enter the park in the early morning, somehow in my running shoes and slightly whimpering, I need a playlist that won't just pump me up -- I need it to wake me up. My requirements for the first few songs are many: it must be simultaneously dreamy and expansive, but slightly dark to match my mood and with enough of a beat to keep my feet moving forward. Delta Spirit's "California" offers enough gauzy guitar and drum machine work to fit the bill. St. Vincent's "Cheerleader" makes me feel like I'm on an amazing all-girl revenge squad, but keeps a slow enough pace for a warm up.
From those first few, I can move into more of a straight up early-90s rock party with the Flaming Lips and the Pixies' Frank Black -- the better to convince myself that I'm having a great time. Girl Talk and Azealia Banks come up just in time for the energetic burst I need to get up a monster hill and from there, I float back to some ethereal indie rock and world music remixes.
Sure it's more elaborate and time-consuming than a shot of espresso, but a good run and some time spent with favorite songs are really the best part of waking up.
For more music, check out the rest of the HuffPost Workouts series here.
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