Running and music go together like socks and shoes. Without a doubt, listening to music while running can make the miles fly by. The right song at the right time gives you an added boost when you thought you had nothing left in the tank. For the majority of my running career, I’ve preferred to run with no music, only my thoughts. I still go musicless from time to time but, thanks in large part to AirPods, I find myself running with music more often than not these days. Music is a very personal thing, and many people prefer to stick to one or two genres. My melodic taste varies wildly, however. I’m all over the place, my playlists range from gangster rap to contemporary Christian. My go-to running playlist is a constantly evolving creature centered around a few key songs. While there will always be those fleeting tunes that come and go, what makes a great running playlist are those timeless tracks that form the foundation of motivation. These six songs deserve a spot on every runner’s playlist.
Better known as the theme from Rocky, this triumphant tune has been powering people through workouts for over four decades. Just hearing this song makes you wanna run. I could be half asleep and as soon as I hear the horns in the opening, I’m ready to run through a wall. Without question, this song will shave a few seconds off your 5K time.
Every running/workout playlist needs at least one song from the Foo, and this is one of my favorite Foo Fighters tunes. As far as running songs go, the tempo of My Hero is a bit on the slow side, but the pounding drums and Dave Grohl’s motivating lyrics are more than enough to keep you going. “There goes my hero, watch him as he goes…”
This song is a staple on running playlists everywhere, and for good reason. In my opinion, Florence Welch is one of the most talented singers of our generation. Her haunting vocals combined with the crescendos on this track provide the perfect combo to power you through. “…so you better run! Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father. Run for your children, for your sisters and brothers…”
I had to stick an 80’s power ballad on this list, and this is one of the best. This inspiring song reminds us to never give up hope and, let’s be honest, as we approach the end of a long run, we often feel like hope is all we have left! This tune is an absolute classic. Just admit it, you know every word to this song, and now its in your head. ”Just a small town girl………”
A great running song is about more than just a catchy beat and fast tempo. A great running song also needs applicable lyrics. Lyrically, this song is perfect for running. “My body tells me no, but I won’t quit, cause I want more…” I mean, honestly, what runner can’t relate to that?
This upbeat and encouraging song will provide inspiration to anyone, but for me, it’s much deeper. Just a few years ago, I lost the ability to run, and thought I’d never be able run again. Losing the ability to run made me realize just how blessed I am. The experience taught me to live each day with gratitude. It seems like you never truly appreciate something until it’s gone. This song keeps me grounded and reminds me of the only reason I was able to recover and run freely today: God. Without Him, nothing is possible. “…cause all I know, is you’re my only hope…I just need, I just need You”.
These are just a few of my favorite tunes to take with me on a run, but I’m always looking for new songs to add to the mix. Leave a comment and let me know some of your favorite running/workout songs. Music can make the most strenuous workouts seem effortless. In the words of Thoreau, “When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable….”.