There is some debate as to whether or not you should listen to music while you run. Some people, known as "purists", prefer to run sans music, as it allows them to be in better touch with their bodies. Others find that finding some good songs for running provides just the motivation they need.
That being said, research shows that there are benefits for runners who listen to music while they train, as music can help you "block out some of your fatigue and spur you to longer distances and faster miles, reducing your perception of your body's limits," according to Runner's World.
A 2009 study at Liverpool John Moores University revealed that athletes' average output was greater when the music tempo increased, and lower when it slowed, and a 2004 study at Lincoln University, also in England, revealed that music is generally better than no music.
What makes a good running song?
It's not entirely about the bpm (beats per minute) when it comes to choosing the right song for your running playlist.
According to an article in Scientific American, workout music has two main qualities: the tempo, and the "rhythm response", which means how much that song makes you want to dance.
Essentially, different people are stimulated by different kinds of music, and rock, pop and hip-hop are all valid genres from which to choose the best songs for running.
Some things to keep in mind when creating your playlist:
- Pick songs you identify with, songs that speak to you, songs with a special meaning
- Pick popular hits of the moment
- Pick songs that deal with overcoming challenges or excelling as an athlete
- Pick fast songs - those with a bpm of between 120 and 145. Research shows that anything higher than 145 does not actually increase your motivation
- You can also pick slower songs, but make sure they make you want to jump up and shake it
So now would be the time to get your iPod ready so you can start creating the perfect list of songs!
40 great songs for running
These songs are among the top-rated by runners like you. Keep in mind that bpm numbers may vary, as they depend on the version of the song.
1. Eye of the Tiger - Survivor (109 bpm)
2. Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen (148 bpm)
3. Don't Stop the Music - Rihanna (123 bpm)
4. Runnin' Down a Dream - Tom Petty (170 bpm)
5. Lose Yourself - Eminem (171 bpm)
6. Dog Days Are Over - Florence and the Machine (150 bpm)
7. Rolling in the Deep - Adele (105 bpm)
8. Don't Stop Believing - Journey (119 bpm)
9. Footloose - Kenny Loggins (174 bpm)
10. Gonna Make You Sweat - C+C Music Factory (113 bpm)
11. Tainted Love - Soft Cell (143 bpm)
12. Happy - Pharrell (81 bpm)
13. Working for the Weekend - Loverboy (144 bpm)
14. One More Time - Daft Punk (124 bpm)
15. Whip My Hair - Willow Smith (82 bpm)
16. We Like to Party - Vengaboys (136 bpm)
17. Can't Be Tamed - Miley Cyrus (117 bpm)
18. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me - Culture Club
19. Beautiful Day - U2 (136 bpm)
20. Thunderstruck - AC/DC (132 bpm)
21. Dancing Queen - ABBA (125 bpm)
22. I Got You (I Feel Good) - James Brown (144 bpm)
23. Shake it Up - The Cars (148 bpm)
24. Crazy in Love - Beyonce (101 bpm)
25. Praise You - Fatboy Slim (110 bpm)
26. Club Can't Handle Me - Flo Rida (128 bpm)
27. I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor (140 bpm)
28. Dark Horse - Katy Perry (132 bpm)
29. Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough - Michael Jackson (119 bpm)
30. What's My Name - DMX (188 bpm)
31. 99 Problems - Jay Z (92 bpm)
32. No Sleep - Wiz Khalifa (160 bpm)
33. Here Comes the Sun - The Beatles (129 bpm)
34. Africa - Toto (98 bpm)
35. Whip It - Devo (158 bpm)
36. Enter Sandman - Metallica (128 bpm)
37. Semi-Charmed Life - Third-Eye Blind (102 bpm)
38. Jack & Diane - John Mellencamp (103 bpm)
39. Don't Stop Me Now - Queen (155 bpm)
40. What I Like About You - The Romantics (160 bpm)
After you've created your running playlist
Now that you have your playlist ready, get out there and try it out! The only way to know if songs motivate you to move is to get exercising.
Most likely it will require some trial and error for you to create the ultimate playlist for running, but there's certainly no shortage of great songs to upload to your iPod or your MP3.
If you want more advice on creating an epic list, Lifehacker has an excellent guide you should check out. Gizmodo also has some great advice, and the team there even went ahead and created a few playlists for you.