Scales & Arpeggios – Running Lessons from Disney

I have a guilty little secret to share. I really like to run to Disney songs.

I don’t often listen to music when I run (mainly because I’m concentrating too hard on my pace, not getting lost, and staying upright) but sometimes a run lends itself to a bit of background noise. Yesterday’s 8 miles at race pace was one of those runs; just far and fast enough to be a challenge but not so hard that it stops being enjoyable. And I decided to treat myself to a bit of Disney while I was at it.

It’s not just the fact that there are so many old favourites to choose from which I am always astonished to find I know all the words to (Friend Like Me) or songs sung by women with such beautiful voices they send shivers down your spine (Colours of the Wind, Part of Your World). It’s not just the classic show tunes (That’s How You Know) or Zimmer-penned orchestral masterpieces that keep your legs moving apace (He’s A Pirate). It’s not even the songs which give you perfect cadence and running rhythm (We Belong Together from Toy Story 2).

Disney songs tell a story, and these stories always have a staunchly positive message which is usually ‘do your best, keep going, and you’ll get there’.There are particular songs which have lyrics I find apply to my running, and they spur me on.

Really – bear with me here! For example:

  1. Scales & Arpeggios – The Aristocats


If you’re faithful to your daily practising, you will find your progress is encouraging

Though at first it seems as though it doesn’t show, like a tree ability will bloom and grow

This reminds me that every run counts as practise. Every mile counts. You wouldn’t expect to be a virtuoso pianist overnight, why should learning to be an athlete be any different?

2. A Star is Born – Hercules


Just remember in the darkest hour
Within your heart’s the power
For making you
A hero too

You want to smash that marathon? Nothing stopping you but you. Be your own hero.

3. Whistle While You Work – Snow White

Snow White

It won’t take long when there’s a song to help you set the pace

Self explanatory  – it’s just a run, get your shoes on and get your arse out the door. Also, just you try to run to this without singing along with Adriana Caselotti’s incredible ear-splitting high notes!

4. Tale As Old As Time – Beauty & The Beast


Bittersweet and strange, learning you can change, finding you were wrong

Bit more personal this one. Sometimes it’s easy to worry about how far there is still to go, but this song allows me to look back at how far I’ve already come and take heart that change is always possible if only we are open to it.

5. Almost There – The Princess & The Frog


I remember Daddy told me, fairytales can’t come true

You gotta make ’em happen, it all depends on you

As well as the literal ‘almost there’ (which was spot on last night as this kicked in at 7.5 miles!), the whole message of Tiana’s character is that she doesn’t need a prince to rescue her, because she has everything she needs within herself to succeed. Keep working hard, rely on your own tenacity, and you’ll get what you want.

Running to Disney is for me the perfect mix between happy carefree escapism and recharging my mental batteries with PMA and determination. I merrily plod along, with a big smile on my face, invariably conducting or waving my hands about as a substitute for dancing (some actual dancing may occur when waiting at traffic lights. I can neither confirm nor deny).

It was just what I needed last night and I feel so much better for it. Give it a try. I promise you’ll find it Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

14 thoughts on “Scales & Arpeggios – Running Lessons from Disney

  1. A Disney run! Sounds like something I’d want to try. I love Disney – watching the old classics and listening to the music. Never thought of adding them to my running playlist though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Surprisingly motivational! Give it a try – I did 14 miles today on top of a 10k race yesterday and needing the positivity. Made me smile just when I was starting to feel sick from too many gels and lucozade!


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