Guest Blogger Christina Torres

After the holidays have passed, it’s easy to fall into winter doldrums as a runner. Sure, you’re pscyhed because the New Year is coming, but a lot of us (myself included) tend to scale back the running for the holidays. That, combined with the colder weather many of us see in the holidays (if you’re not here in sunny Los Angeles) and the ridiculous amount of food you eat during this time of year (I legitimately have scarfed down 15 tamales in 2 days. It’s embarrassing) can make it easy to feel less-than-excited about getting out on the road. For me, music is a huge part of my getting-hyped routine. In an attempt to keep YOU motivated (and by “YOU” I also mean “ME”) during this time of year, here are five unexpected ways to find great new music to run to!

1) COVER BANDS – We all know what gets us going as runners (or maybe you’re still in that delightful learning stage– lucky you!). For some of us it’s bumping hip hop, thumping techno, or some hardcore rock and roll. Why not change it up a little by taking some of your favorite artists and hearing them in a new light? One of the reasons I love this is that it’s led me to a lot of new favorite songs. Here, for example, is a song that helped me PR at this year’s Santa Monica and Venice Christmas Run:

Click here to check out Alkaline Trio’s covers The Muppet’s “Movin’ Right Along” from “The Green Album”.

Buy it on ITunes.

I love The Muppets. I love running. Perfect combo!

2) CLASSICAL MUSIC – Okay. Bear with me here. I get it. This seems a little… unusual to a lot of us. However, after seeing the beautiful scene in “Shame” where Michael Fassbender’s character runs to classic music, I wanted to give it a try. If you Google search “Classical music to run to” a lot comes up. I recommend taking a look. One of my favorite? This suite from “Bacchanale.” I played this in my high school orchestra my junior year, and have loved it every since. It’s got a fast enough pace, but varies enough to be interesting.

3) REMIXES – This is probably pretty well known, but I just want to recommend YouTube as a fantastic place to find new music. A lot of amateur but very-talented DJs find there way onto YouTube, and you can use a number of different ways (including asking the user) to get the music in Mp3 version.

Other great remix artists include DJ Earworm and Fatboy Roberts’s Geek Remixed series (one of my absolute favorites) – and all for free!!

Here’s a great remix of T-Pain’s “Motivated,” with a verse by Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover)
(Warning: this song is definitely PG-13)

4) FILM AND TELEVISION SOUNDTRACKS – I hadn’t even thought of this until a few fellow ambassadors mentioned this to me, but what a great idea! Some mentioned were “The Pirates of The Caribbean”, “Requiem for a Dream”, and one of my favorites, the “Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol” soundtrack.

It’s like I’m running around the streets of some foreign country to save the world. With Tom Cruise. This has a number of fantastic benefits. The biggest being that I run fast.

5) PODCASTS AND AUDIOBOOKS – Kind of a cheat, I know, since it’s not music, but I’m often surprised at how many runners refuse to believe this is a good idea. I’m not recommending this for short runs, or any speed workouts. However, my first 20 mile run, I ran to the Jeremy Iron’s recording of “Lolita,” and it was fantastic. For runs where I know that I want to zone out, or for recovery runs where I know I want to stay slow, I can’t recommend them enough.

I also recommend Tina Fey’s “Bossypants,” and “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett. As for podcasts, I love “This American Life”, Pop Culture Happy Hour, and, for you sports nuts out there, Listen Up! Sports.

Alright friends, that was just a small sampling of ways to stay hyped. Be sure to share yours!

Christina Torres is an active runner, writer, and proud USC alumna. During her time in Teach For America, Christina got her start running three years ago with Students Run LA, where she trained for the L.A. Marathon alongside her high school students. Before then, she had never run more than a mile. She has now completed 3 marathons: L.A. 2009 and 2010, and earned her PR in The San Francisco Marathon’s 2010 event. Now out of the classroom, Christina uses running as a way to find positivity, stability, and unfettered joy in her life, as well as a way to combat the ridiculous amount of cheeseburgers she eats. She hopes she can help others do the same in the L.A. running community and beyond (but maybe with less cheeseburgers). You can follow her on Twitter at @biblio_phileor read her blog at “What’s Next?”