When I was about five, my parents decided it was time for me to become a runner. My sister, two years my senior, had already left a legacy for me to live up to as the latest Chatsworth Chief track team legend. As a somewhat-chubby sandbox dweller, I was ill-prepared for such expectations and was perhaps the only one who took solace in the fact that everyone always cheers for the kid who finishes last.

These days, there is no one to make me go running (unless you count my boyfriend's constant verbal affirmations of Jessica Biel's beach body). So, in an effort to re-live the days of my youth and force strangers to clap for me, I have signed up for my very first half-marathon.

When I started training, I hoped I could somehow catch the eye of some dejected, aging coach who would whip me into shape as “Eye of the Tiger” played in the background — just like in every magical movie montage. Pretty soon I realized “Eye of the Tiger” doesn't have the same effect when played on loop. In an effort to keep my musical inspiration fresh, I went in search of some new badass training songs. Here are my top five.

5. Matt and Kim

“Don't Slow Down”

Pretty self explanatory: The chorus repeatedly reminds you not to lose pace while a fun beat plays in the background. The ultimate guilt-trip is just a listen away.

4. Yeasayer

“Ambling Alp”

This one is a total feel-good listen, for when you are feeling your worst. When you get tired you can just imagine you are completely naked, running down a hill as a giant dripping silver-faced man gives you good advice from the sky. Don't get too inspired though. I hear mid-race nudity is generally frowned upon.

3. Outkast


I dare you to try to walk while this song is playing. When this song comes on in my running playlist I not only start running faster, but I start dance-running. Because I am a white girl, this is probably a pretty awkward thing to do, but I just can't help myself.

2. The Knux

“Bang! Bang!”

This song will help your feet go “Bang Bang” at a much faster pace. But hopefully not to forcefully, or you might get shin splints.

1. Joe Esposito (From the Karate Kid Soundtrack)

“You're the Best Around”

I bet you thought we were only including newer songs in this list. Perhaps you are trying to control the building anger and frustration that “Gonna Fly Now (Rocky's Theme)” didn't make it. But honestly, I think we can all agree that the Karate Kid can totally take Rocky anyways. Now I know what will be going through my head when I cross the finish line: I am the best around … even if I am in last place.

LA Weekly