The Ultimate Playlist Interview:

Herdthinner
3 min readNov 21, 2023

What I Listen To When Running

Herdthinner sat down with Eric Fate for an in-depth interview about the game-changing playlist What I Listen To When Running.

“What I Listen to When Running” sounds like an exciting playlist for fitness enthusiasts. Could you tell us more about your inspiration for creating a playlist geared explicitly toward runners and how it aligns with their workout experience?

One of my favorite authors is Haruki Murakami. He is an avid runner, and his running memoir “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” resonated with me deeply. The title influenced me, and when I created the playlist, I wanted to pay homage to a great writer and an avid runner.

I have learned to love running, and it has, over time, impacted my life in a very positive way. Music is a big part of that, and getting lost in a collection of tracks while running for a prolonged period is highly meditative. I rarely run without music, so fresh tracks every week are something I look forward to.

For me, the music uplifts the overall running experience. If I do my job right, I get into a collaborative flow between cardiovascular exertion and euphoria.

How do you keep the playlist fresh while ensuring it continues to resonate with your target audience of runners?

I update the playlist weekly and spend 30–40 minutes curating the music. Ultimately I’m curating totally different each week, so some people may not resonate with every playlist.

Variety is vital in fitness playlists. Could you share some genres or artists frequently appearing in “What I Listen to When Running” and why you believe they resonate so well with runners?

This varies wildly and depends on my mood when I sit to curate the following playlist. Nothing is off the table from Ween to Honey Dijon. Some playlists incorporate both of those artists, and no matter what genre it ends up being, I’m always picturing myself running and trying to choose music that will uplift that experience.

The rhythm and tempo of a song can significantly impact a runner’s performance. How do you ensure that the songs in your playlist synchronize with the different paces and strides of your audience?

This is almost impossible because everyone runs at a different pace and distance. I can only put myself in my run when I’m curating and base the playlist on my pace. I like to run a 10k in less than an hour. It varies from my peak performance of around 46 minutes but can go up to an hour when moving slowly. So, I focus on about 125–128 bpm to keep a good flow.

Sequencing is vital in playlists, especially for runners. How do you structure the playlist to provide a seamless listening experience that enhances a runner’s workout journey from start to finish?

I use the crossover feature within Spotify to remove the gap between songs. I have this set to cross over from track to track, so playing the music seamlessly is possible. Then there’s the flow from one song to the next, the story it tells, and the feeling it delivers. This is based on the playlist as a whole. It creates a distinct beginning, middle, and end, sonically speaking.

With “What I Listen To When Running” serving as a resource for fitness enthusiasts, what advice do you have for fellow runners who want to create their own playlists for their workouts, and how do you envision the playlist evolving in the future to meet the needs of the running community even better?

It’s time-consuming to create a playlist and have it work for you how you want it to. I don’t get it right every time, but with practice and an understanding of how the flow of music works over time, things get easier. I encourage anyone looking to create a playlist for themselves to build multiple playlists at a time and test out track combinations they resonate with. Over time, I see this playlist growing as a community and possibly even opening up another playlist for collaboration. Ultimately, the goal is to uplift the training experience by adding an emotional aspect beyond the physical.

Listen to > What I Listen To When Running

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