When it comes to music, we all have our own tastes and preferences.
But I think we can all agree that listening to music on a run is one of the best ways to get you pumped and motivated for a run.
Some of the best running songs can help you set your pace and help to get your heart rate going.
The tracks in this guide are ideal whether you’re heading for the trails, hitting the treadmill or simply going for an easy run around the block.
So whether you’re into your hip hop beats or love a guitar riff, you’re bound to find your newfound favourite tune.
In this guide we’ll look at:
- The benefits of working out to music
- What songs are best for running?
- The best running songs for easy runs
- The best running songs for long runs
- The best running songs to improve your cadence (170 bpm)
- The best running songs to improve your cadence (180 bpm)
- The best running songs for speed training
- The best running songs for running uphill
- The best running songs for the treadmill
- The best feel-good running songs
Are you ready?
The benefits of working out to music
Over the last decade, studies has shown that exercise and music are an effective pairing for many people.
Music has the potential to change both the body and mind during physical activity.
Research has found that music:
- Distracts people from pain and fatigue
- Elevates mood
- Increases endurance
- Reduces perceived effort
- May promote metabolic efficiency
And if this list of benefits wasn’t enough to convince you of the powerful effects of music, the research also found that when listening to music, people run farther, bike longer and swim faster than usual – often without realising it.
What songs are best for running?
The same research concludes that there are four key factors when assessing the motivational qualities of a piece of music.
#1 Rhythm response
This refers to the effects of musical rhythm, especially the tempo and speed of the music in beats per minute (BPM).
This refers to the pitch-related elements of the music, such as harmony and melody (the tune).
#3 Cultural impact
According to the research, “this concerns the pervasiveness of the music within society or a sub-cultural group”.
Finally, association refers to the extra musical associations that may be evoked.
The example given in the research study is the composition of Chariots of Fire by Vangelis and how this is often linked with Olympic glory.
The study adds that music that exploits cultural and personal associations are likely to yield significant benefits.
This is because the music reminds an exerciser about an aspect of their own lives that is emotionally significant.
So what are the best running songs? Read on to find out more!
The best running songs for easy runs
The songs in this playlist are designed to make you run slower at an easier pace.
Easy runs are great for recovery in between harder sessions like long runs and speed training.
#1 Material Girl by Madonna
#2 Creep by Radiohead
#3 Gold by Imagine Dragons
#4 Prioritise Pleasure by Self Esteem
#5 Fast Car by Tracy Chapman
#6 Virtual Insanity by Jamiroquai
#7 Teardrop by Massive Attack
#8 Feel Good Inc by Gorillaz
#9 The Scientist by Coldplay
#10 Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers
The best running songs for long runs
When you need that extra bit of fire and motivation to keep you going on a long run, plug in this playlist and get going!
These songs will keep you going you longer mileage runs.
#11 Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes
#12 Blinding Lights by The Weeknd
#13 Motivation by Normani
#14 Shake It Off by Taylor Swift
#15 Wake Me Up by Avicii
#16 Harder, Better, Stronger, Faster by Daft Punk
#17 Runnin’ by Naughty Boy feat. Beyonce
#18 Unstoppable by Sia
#19 Touch Me by Rui Da Silva
The best running songs to improve your cadence (170 bpm)
This playlist will help keep your legs moving at 170 beats per minute (BPM).
In other words, the recommended number of steps that you should be taking each minute when running.
You can find out more about running cadence in my guide on how to improve your running cadence.
#21 Paper Planes by MIA
#22 Take On Me by A-Ha
#23 American Woman by Lenny Kravitz
#24 I Write Sins Not Tragedies by Panic! At the Disco
#25 How You Remind Me by Nickelback
#26 Runnin’ Down A Dream by Tom Petty
#27 All My Life by Foo Fighters
#28 Sabotage by Beastie Boys
#29 Coming Home by P Diddy & Skylar Grey
#30 I’m Still Standing by Elton John
The best running songs to improve your cadence (180 bpm)
These songs will help you increase your cadence to 180 beats per minute.
This is the number of steps you should be taking each minute when running if you adopt a slightly faster cadence.
#31 Lose Yourself by Eminem
#32 Monkey Wrench by Foo Fighters
#33 Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen
#34 I Only Want You by Eagles of Death Metal
#35 She by Green Day
#36 The Anthem by Good Charlotte
#37 Rock and Roll by Led Zeppelin
#38 They Don’t Care About Us by Michael Jackson
#39 I’m So Excited by The Pointer Sisters
#40 Tusk by Fleetwood Mac
Related: 4 ways to improve running cadence
The best running songs for speed training
Speed training like interval training and tempo running can be gruelling.
These songs are bound to pump you up and get you ready and rearing to go.
#41 Dog Days Are Over by Florence and the Machine
#42 212 by Azealia Banks feat. Lazy Jay
#43 Bad Blood by Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar
#44 Go! by Santigold feat. Karen O
#45 Run Like Hell by Pink Floyd
#46 Breathe by The Prodigy
#47 99 Problems by Jay Z
#48 Stronger by Kanye West
#49 Work Bitch by Britney Spears
#50 Give It A Way Now by Red Hot Chili Peppers
The best running songs for running uphill
Uphill running is one of the hardest things to master as a runner.
It’s physically demanding and punishing at times, so plug these tracks into your playlist to keep you moving.
#51 Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush
#52 Welcome to the Jungle by Guns ‘N’ Roses
#53 Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
#54 Survivor by Destiny’s Child
#55 Mr Brightside by The Killers
#56 Good As Hell by Lizzo
#57 Pump Up The Jam by Techotronic
#58 Don’t Stop Movin’ by Livin’ Joy
#59 Sandstorm by Darude
The best running songs for hitting the treadmill
Running on a treadmill is great for a variety of workouts, including speed training and hill sprints if you don’t have any hills close by.
These tracks will get you pumped for your next workout.
#60 Roar by Katy Perry
#61 Firework by Katy Perry
#62 Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin
#63 We Will Rock You by Queen
#64 Humble by Kendrick Lamar
#65 Enter Sandman by Metallica
#66 The Power by SNAP!
#67 Song 2 by Blur
#68 Whoomp! (There It Is) by Tag Team
#69 Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana
The best feel-good running songs
These songs will get you off the couch and running in no time.
#70 Finally by CeCe Peniston
#71 Show Me Love by Robin S
#72 Got To Be Real by Cheryl Lynn
#73 No Limits by 2 Unlimited
#74 Rhythm of the Night by Corona
#75 Titanium by David Guetta
#76 Run the World (Girls) by Beyonce
#77 Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus
#78 You Don’t Know Me by Armand Van Helden
#79 Bang Bang by Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj
#80 High Hopes by Panic! At the Disco