What better way to get you through that challenging speed workout, 3-hour long run, or hill sprint session than an awesome pump-you-up playlist of the best running songs out there?
True, we all have different tastes in music, and not everyone is going to love every song on these lists. Still, I hope to help get you through some of those workouts by singing along to these fun tunes!
On days I don’t have a running buddy or group to train with, I bring along my trusty headphones with my pre-made playlists and crank up whichever one goes with my workout for that day. It puts a massive smile on my face as I zoom, or trot, down the road or trail, singing away and having a grand old time.
In this article, I will break up my best running songs into a few different categories depending on the type of workouts, such as speedwork or hills, or drills to improve form or cadence. I’ve also included what I like to listen to on long runs and recovery runs.
Today we will look at:
- The Benefits Of Listening To Music While Running
- The 80 All-Time Best Running Songs
- Good Running Songs For Your Long Run
- The Best Running Songs For Hillwork Sessions
- Songs To Run Recovery Runs
- Good Running Songs To Improve Your Cadence
Ready to sing along?
Let’s jump in!
I have to be honest, I was a bit leery about sharing my running playlists as my best running songs choices have some excellent hints pointing toward which decade I grew up in. That’s okay; the cat’s out of the bag now!
Before we jump into our best running songs playlists, let’s look at why running with music can be beneficial to us.
The Benefits of Listening to Music While Running
For most of us, we know that listening to music while running pumps us up and makes us feel good, right? But why is that? What can music actually do for us?
- Music can help improve running performance: According to studies, music can help regulate mood and enhance a runner’s motivation and inspiration while running, resulting in a better workout outcome.
- Music improves mood by boosting the brain’s dopamine production: Haven’t you ever listened to a song that just puts a smile on your face immediately? A song can turn your mood around and cheer you up on a dime.
- Music can reduce stress and distract you: Distraction sounds like a pretty significant benefit when you are trying to push through those last few 400-meter repetitions at top speed or suffering through the last few kilometers of a peak-week long run. Get lost in the lyrics and finish up those final laps.
- Music can help reduce pain: This statement will vary depending on the study you read, but some state that by reducing stress and anxiety, you can also feel a reduction in pain. Therefore, music helps reduce our stress levels, which will result in less pain.
Even though we already love running, having a little music to help pump us up a bit more, and possibly improve our performance, sounds like pretty great reasons to try it out.
Just be sure and take precautions when listening to music on busy roads and ensure you are always aware of your surroundings. We want to use music as a distraction as an advantage to training, but not completely zone out to the point where the workout can become a risk.
Now, what you’ve all been waiting for: the music. Let’s get ready to sing, dance, or both!
The 70 All-Time Best Running Songs
The following 70 all-time best running songs that I’ve compiled are broken up into four distinct lists. Each list has a purpose to accompany the different types of runs and specific objectives that you may, run into, no pun intended, in your training plan. As the type of run changes, the genre of music I listen to shifts along with it.
Are you ready for some feel-good pop songs for your next long run? Here we go!
Good Songs For Your Next Long Run
- Shivers – Ed Sheeran
- There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back – Shawn Mendes
- Take You Dancing – Jason Derulo
- Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 & Cristina Aguilera
- Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
- Bang Bang – Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj
- Locked Out Of Heaven – Bruno Mars
- Time Of Our Lives – Pitbull & Ne-Yo
- Raise Your Glass – Pink
- Don’t Stop The Music – Rhianna
- SexyBack – Justin Timberlake & Timbaland
- Kiss You- One Direction
- Stronger – Kelly Clarkson
- Boom Boom Pow – Black Eyed Peas
- Like Sugar – Chaka Khan
- On Top Of The World – Imagine Dragons
- Cake By The Ocean – DNCE
- Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake
- High Hopes – Panic! At The Disco
- Good As Hell – Lizzo
Now, for my hill workouts or some intense, fast speedwork, I want something a bit more, well, loud! The following songs have helped me through some of the most strenuous uphills I have had to face during trail runs and vertical kilometer races and even good old classic speedwork where I need to give it my all.
The Best Running Songs For Hillwork
- The Phoenix – Fall Out Boy
- Sabotage – Beastie Boys
- Bulls On Parade – Rage Against the Machine
- Somebody Told Me – The Killers
- Come Out and Play – Offspring
- Welcome To The Jungle – Guns N’ Roses
- Eye Of The Tiger – Survivor
- Survivor – Destiny’s Child
- Reptilia – The Strokes
- Misery Business – Paramore
- ‘Till I Collapse – Eminem
- Numb – Jay-Z & Linkin Park
- Last One Standing – Bon Jovi
- Music Make You Lose Control – Missy Elliot
- Pump It – Black Eyed Peas
After listening to these songs to push you to your max, let’s take a breath, calm back down and listen to some easy-listening but still upbeat recovery-run songs. The following list of songs is for when you don’t have any specific training intervals to do and just need to focus on relaxing, recovering, and enjoying your kilometers!
Songs To Run Recovery Runs
- Trumpets – Jason Derulo
- Drops Of Jupiter – Train
- Lucky – Jason Mraz
- Demons – Imagine Dragons
- Sultans Of Swing – Dire Straits
- Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
- Wake Me Up – Avicii
- Budapest – George Ezra
- Lego House – Ed Sheeran
- Sunday Morning – Maroon 5
- Life Is A Highway – Rascal Flats
- Breakfast At Tiffany’s – Deep Blue Something
- Sitting, Waiting, Wishing – Jack Johnson
- 3 AM – Matchbox Twenty
- It’s A Great Day To Be Alive – Travis Tritt
Now, when you do want to worry about pace or work on your stride rate, the following list of running songs will help you out.
The songs in this next list have a rhythm of 180 beats, or a bit more, per minute. Sound familiar in the running world? Of course, it does!
Even though this number will vary depending on different factors and beliefs in the running world, 180 has been known as the “ideal” number of steps per minute to take while running. With the following songs, be sure a foot touches the ground on each beat. To sum up, 180 steps per minute.
This list will not only help you improve your cadence but will also help you improve your running economy in general. Running at a faster cadence will help your running efficiency and limit the amount of unnecessary energy used with each stride. Take a listen and try them out!
Best Running Songs To Improve Your Cadence
- Hawái – Maluma
- Despacito – Luis Fonsi
- La Bicicleta – Carlos Vives & Shakira
- Burn – Ellie Goulding
- No Diggity – Blackstreet
- Give It Away – Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Demons – Imagine Dragons
- Roar – Katy Perry
- Jumpin’ Jumpin’ – Destiny’s Child
- Cheap Thrills – Sia
- Bailando – Enrique Iglesias
- Thrift Shop – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
- Get Right – Jennifer Lopez
- Beautiful Liar – Beyoncé & Shakira
- Con Calma – Daddy Yankee & Snow
- Hey DJ – CNCO
- Drive – Incubus
- Renegades – X Ambassadors
- Say Something – Justin Timberlake
- Súbame La Radio – Enrique Iglesias
There you have it! Take a good listen to my best running songs and see if they are right up your alley or if you need to make some changes. The important thing is that the songs you choose to run motivate you, inspire you, and put a smile on your face. If you start belting out the lyrics during your run, even better!
Charge those headphones; you’re going to need them.
If you want to look at one of our own Marathon Handbook Playlists for a complete set of high-bpm music, you can see it on Spotify here!