Track And Trail

Mu­si­cian Ben Gib­bard’s per­fect playlist

Runner's World (UK) - - In This Issue -

A mu­si­cian and ul­tra run­ner on a playlist that will go the dis­tance


for Ben Gib­bard, front­man of in­die-rock band Death Cab for Cutie, to knock out a 25-mile run a few hours be­fore he takes the stage. ‘I kind of dig hav­ing that post­long-run ex­haus­tion on tour,’ says the 40-year-old singer, who logs 60-70 miles a week. Gib­bard has run more than 20 ul­tra marathons since 2013, in­clud­ing his first 100-miler last Au­gust. When it comes to com­bin­ing his pas­sions, he strays from the stan­dard ap­proach of build­ing a playlist based on beats per minute (BPM). ‘If some­one is try­ing to break a time and needs to main­tain a cer­tain pace, BPM could help,’ he says, ‘but I’m not par­tic­u­larly that guy.’ In­stead, Gib­bard prefers tracks that are more in tune with his run­ning style – long and me­an­der­ing. Here are his playlist rules…


‘I want songs that work as back­ground music and don’t dic­tate my run­ning ex­pe­ri­ence or pace. I love the band Ex­plo­sions in the Sky. Their music is beau­ti­ful, cin­e­matic and lolling.’


‘When I’m lis­ten­ing to three-minute songs, I find my­self in a panic. Shorter songs are a marker of time, as in, “Five songs have played and I’ve only run two miles!” The last time I used music in a race, I lis­tened to Sis­ter Ray by the Vel­vet Un­der­ground. It’s like a 20-minute jam. It hit my mood at a time when I was suf­fer­ing and it pro­pelled me for­ward.’


‘One of the defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics of Krautrock is that it’s driv­ing and hyp­notic. You can get lost in it. There’s a song by Spir­i­tu­al­ized that I love called I Think

I’m in Love, which has a long Krautrock-trance in­tro. Our band’s at­tempt at Krautrock is an eight­minute ver­sion of one of our songs, I Will Pos­sess Your Heart.’ TUNE OUT, TUNE IN ‘I en­joy be­ing in the woods and hav­ing a break from music. But I usu­ally bring an ipod shuf­fle for late on in a race. The last 20 miles, I re­ally need some­thing else to fo­cus on.’

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