This Male Swiftie Ran 13 Miles At Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour

I WAS THE sweatiest person listening to Taylor Swift sing “All Too Well” at the Eras Tour on August 8 in Los Angeles. Minutes before Swift strummed the first note on her glistening guitar for that 10-minute ballad inside SoFi Stadium, I had just finished running 13.1 miles of laps around the venue. With Swift’s live vocals soundtracking my entire run, I weaved through thousands of non-ticketed fans also listening to the concert outside the stadium walls. Why did I do this stunt? 13 is Swift’s favorite number, and a half marathon is coincidentally 13.1 miles long. So, to invigorate my full-marathon training routine, I ditched my wireless headphones and instead enjoyed her live music blaring from the stadium speakers. Call me the Taylor Swift Half Marathon Guy.

I’m just one of countless male Swifties who rely on Swift’s music to propel them through long runs and gym sessions. Search “guys working out to Taylor Swift” in TikTok, and you’ll see muscular men unironically proclaiming, “Real men listen to Taylor Swift while deadlifting” and “Real gym bros listen to taylor swift to get a pump.” Even pro athletes are Swifties: the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant said in a 2019 interview that “it’s important to listen to people who do great things. ​​Taylor’s been at the top of the game for a very, very long time.” In 2023, dozens of NFL players divulged their favorite T. Swift songs. And let’s not forget when Grammy winner Drake lip-synced Swift’s “Bad Blood” while lifting weights in an Apple Music commercial.

Standing in the audience at her August 7 show somehow felt like more of a challenge than running the 13 miles. “It’s like you have to do endurance training to come to this show,” Swift, 33, quipped during her performance. The next day, I reached my invisible finish line outside the stadium in 1 hour and 45 minutes (an 8-minute-per-mile pace) just as Swift finished her Speak Now era of the setlist with “Long Live” and started her Red era with “22.” Swift, whose endurance has been applauded throughout the tour, still had 25 songs to go on that night’s 45-song setlist. Drenched, I stretched and caught my breath as she belted the cinematic lyrics of “All Too Well.” Afterward, still feeling the after-show euphoria, I wondered what positive impact music, specifically Swift’s 17 years worth of songs, has had on our physical and mental fitness journeys.


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Since starting to train in February for my first half marathon, I have often leaned on Swift’s songs before, during, and after my long runs or races, including when I eventually ran the San Francisco Half Marathon in July with Swift’s “I Can See You,” “Hits Different,” and “Cruel Summer” on repeat. When I hear her songs, my body knows it’s “go time,” either psyching me up for the miles ahead or settling me into a rhythm mid-run. It’s like her hand is on my back, propelling me forward with every step I take with her in my ears. Sport and exercise psychologist Costas Karageorghis, a professor at London’s Brunel University and author of Applying Music in Exercise and Sport, told me there are different benefits for incorporating music “pre-task, in-task, and post-task.”

“Listening to music pre-task can aid in priming you to be physically active and to coax you from a sedate state into an active state,” says Karageorghis, pointing to the tempo of Swift’s “…Ready For It,” which sits at 80 bpm (beats per minute). “Using music in-task can serve several functions — it can make the exercise experience more pleasurable, which might lead you to turn exercise into a habitual behavior; it can provide a rhythmic cue with which you might synchronize your movement pattern … or the lyrical content might reinforce something that you’re trying to achieve during your workout, such as ‘Shake It Off’ (160 bpm) being used for a battling ropes routine.”

brian anthony hernandez getting ready for half marathon run

Brian Anthony Hernandez

After a taxing workout, he says that music with a slower bpm (think “White Horse,” with its 93 bpm) can expedite recovery after a taxing workout. Karageorghis asserts that having a positive workout impacted by music you love can make you feel better, influencing you to work out more regularly. It’s worked on me. “Through repeated self-selection of Taylor Swift songs, you have engendered a process of classical conditioning, wherein you associate the sound of Swift’s songs with your workouts,” he observes.

Other male Swifties at Swift’s L.A. shows associate her music with their workout regimens as well. Dominic Cielak, a 21-year-old college student who has attended 10 Eras Tour concerts and documented them on Instagram, told me at the August 7 concert that he listens to Swift “99 percent of the time” while lifting, doing cardio, and even swimming via bone-conduction headphones. “‘I Did Something Bad’ and ‘…Ready For It’ are my songs at the gym that bring out the demon in me,” he says. “I picture myself at a concert, and we’re doing triceps, OK, biceps, OK, back, how about legs? It’s a full cohesive moment, and I like being centered in the music.”

Meanwhile, self-described “Senior Swiftie” James Kim, 34, currently has “Electric Touch,” “Betty, and “August” on his workout rotation. “Her music keeps me focused and provides a layer of protection that helps me dig deep when I’m training,” Kim says. One of Kim’s go-to songs—“Electric Touch”—has “a driving rhythm and is a perfect accompaniment for a run, particularly when your motivation might be flagging,” according to Karageorghis’s recommended Swift songs for workout playlists. Other recommendations include “22” for a warmup, “Look What You Made Me Do” for weight training, and Swift’s rip-roaring ‘The Story Of Us’ for demanding workouts such as HIIT or circuit training.

the final night of taylor swift the eras tour los angeles, ca

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I completed my half marathon stunt with Swift’s live rendition of “22” pulsating out of the stadium, beating my goal time of 120 minutes for 13.1 miles in a swift 105 minutes.

“Great pace,” a dad sitting beside his daughter cheerfully said as I passed him during Mile 5. Another guy, during Mile 9, yelled, “He’s still running!” At Mile 12, I overheard one Swiftie ask his friends, “Who is he?” At the finish line, I proudly proclaimed, “I’m the Taylor Swift Half Marathon Guy!”

Three years ago, I was 35 pounds heavier and not very active. With Swift’s help, I was able to do something I wouldn’t have fathomed ever being able to accomplish, and I felt great while doing it. During your own fitness journeys, it’s worth remembering Swift’s wise words from the Midnights track “Dear Reader”: “If you don’t recognize yourself, that means you did it right.”

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Brian Anthony Hernandez is a runner, music lover, and journalist who has been published in Billboard, Forbes, MTV, Genius, Fuse, and Mashable. Most recently, he was the Senior Celebrity News Editor at Bustle. He has trained as part of the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund and The New York Times Student Journalism Institute. He has also written and edited at top U.S. newspapers, covering the entertainment business, the music industry, diversity, equality, social issues, health, crime, courts, and major pop culture events such as the Super Bowl, Oscars, Grammys, MTV VMAs, and national elections. 

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