It’s not Oakenfold or Steveboy, but it’ll do

I have a 5K tomorrow morning, weather permitting, and I’m trying to shave a minute off my personal best—from 29:04 down to 28:00. I’ve got two solid weeks of really good runs on me, so I think I can do it.

This evening I bit the bullet and fired up GarageBand. DJ Steve Boyett makes great workout mixes, but I needed something more personal. With a 28:00 time, I’m on a 5:36/km pace. I wanted music tailored for that pace, increasing tempo from 160bpm to 180+bpm, and I wanted audio effects to let me know when I crossed each half-km point.

(I’d love for the Nike+ to allow me to set alarms based on my distance, but it still doesn’t do that. Hence why my birthday list includes a Garmin ForeRunner.)

It turns out that mixing your own music isn’t rocket science. I mean, I’d barely call what I was doing mixing—fading out one track while fading in another. I did spend a bit of time trying to match up the beats, but I didn’t do any of the real work that the pro DJs do. I have to give credit where it’s due: GarageBand makes it disturbingly simple to do. It’s not a Swiss Army Knife of tools and effects like Audacity, but it’s good enough and doesn’t crash every 5 minutes.

I ended up with two mixes: the one for my 5K tomorrow, and a second 30-minute intervals mix with cute little racecar sounds telling me to book it and dinosaur growls to telling me to chill out. And … they don’t suck. In total, I probably spent 4 hours on the first one, then 2 on the second. I don’t know that I could get it down to any less than that, but 2 hours before a race isn’t a bad investment. For the Gate River Run in March I’ll probably need 4-5 hours to get the 110 minutes of music that I’ll need … but that’s something I can work on in tiny pieces from now until then.