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Our Favorite Running Songs

Our Favorite Running Songs

We all need something to get us out the door and help us through a run from time to time. If you have a running buddy who can keep you accountable and provide some company on the run, well, lucky you! If you’re like most of us who don’t have a fellow runner available to provide motivation and companionship at our beck and call, a good playlist can be the difference between getting in that long run or dreaded treadmill run or watching another episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. 

These songs will give you the energy and motivation you need to get out on that run and keep going once you’re out there. 

Our favorite running songs

“Running Up That Hill” – Kate Bush

Definitely the eeriest song on this list. You might want to save this for a foggy morning or a night run to really capture the mood. Whenever you utilize it, “Running Up That Hill” allows you to get into a trance-like state that helps those lonely miles go by without any thought.

“All My Friends” – LCD Soundsystem

Sometimes running is just about getting in such a rhythm or state of flow that you almost forget that you’re doing it. For the entirety of this nearly eight-minute track, you get caught up in the steady and unrelenting piano beat that just gets more intense over the course of the song. While it might be stretching it to truly call this a pump-up song, it does carry you to a state of euphoria that pairs well with a runner’s high.

“Dancing on My Own” – Robyn

As its name suggests, this is definitely more of a dance song with a droning bass synth that feels more at home in the club than on a run. Still, there’s something about it that works for running. Maybe it’s that it’s a song about a solitary pursuit that, if you’re listening to music while running, is part of your running experience. 

“The Story Of Us (Taylor’s Version)” – Taylor Swift

The lyrics aren’t important here – the driving guitar of this track will keep you moving forward. It has the feel of an early-2000s pop-punk track – and who wouldn’t want to run to (away from?) that? – with Taylor Swift on vocals instead of … well, we don’t need to be too hard on the music of our youth, do we? 

“Born To Run” – Bruce Springsteen

“Born to Run” may not have been written about running, but it has understandably become an anthem for runners everywhere. With lyrics like, “In the say we sweat it out on the streets,” “We’ll run ‘til we drop,” and, of course, “Tramps like us, baby, we were born to run,” there’s more than enough here to latch onto for motivation on the run. To top it all off, you have the Boss’ energy, which is always irresistible. 

“Pressure Drop” – Toots and the Maytals

There’s something about the classic two-tone reggae/ska rhythm that always adds a bit of bounce to my stride. Be careful, though: like some other songs on this list, you might find yourself losing yourself in the beat of the song and going faster than you planned!

“A Thousand Miles” – Vanessa Carlton

I’ve discovered this song to be shockingly versatile. There used to be a bar in Eugene, Oregon – Track Town USA, for those in the know – that closed their dance floor each night with “A Thousand Miles.” It is surprisingly danceable! It also works for running. Don’t let the piano-heavy instrumentation fool you: This song has some drive to it. You could easily log 1,000 miles to this track. Ok, maybe not that much, but you get the point.

“Running Down A Dream” – Tom Petty

The opening guitar riff evokes the roar of an engine and it should get you motivated to run, too. Yes, most of the action here takes place behind the wheel of a car, but the images are those of a perfect run – beautiful day, trees going by, anything feeling possible. 

“Rapper's Delight (full-version)” – Sugar Hill Gang

For 15 minutes you can enjoy this classic hip-hop track and not worry at all about what’s next in the queue. Like running, it’s repetitive and hypnotizing so you can just set it and forget it. Also like running, it’ll be over before you know it.

“Better Off Alone” – Alice Deejay

Do you think you’re better off alone? Of course, the implication here is that one is not better off alone. Well, while running, sometimes you are better off alone in your own thoughts enjoying some time disconnected from the world and others. “Better Off Alone” sets a rhythm you can fall into, so you might actually be better off alone with this song on your playlist.

“Blinding Lights” – The Weeknd

The appeal of “Blinding Lights” is also its curse. The chorus here is just incredibly catchy and comes in at just the right rhythm for night – or pre-dawn – run, but it’s so catchy that I find myself humming it even when other songs are on. That’s ok. There’s nothing wrong with getting lost in repetition on a run, but it may make the rest of your playlist irrelevant.

“Jump Around” – House of Pain

You don’t have to be at Camp Randall Stadium in Wisconsin to get pumped up when “Jump Around” comes on. This song is a giant ball of energy, so it’s not for the faint of heart – or those trying to maintain a leisurely pace – but could be just what you need to get out the door or push through a rough patch.

“Don’t Wanna Fight” – The Alabama Shakes 20

While “Don’t Wanna Fight” has absolutely nothing to do with running, the song lays down a groove that you get into. Don’t fight it, get swept up in the groove here and let it carry you to a good run.

“Eye Of The Tiger” – Survivor

Like John Fogarty’s “Centerfield” for baseball fans, if you spend enough time around running races you’re going to hear plenty of “Eye of the Tiger” and probably get a bit sick of it. Even so, it still motivates us to get moving every time it comes on. From the first chords, “Eye of the Tiger” can transform even your most ordinary run into a Rocky-style training montage. 

“Let’s Go on the Run” – Chance the Rapper

We know that running isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes, it’s a slog for all kinds of reasons. But, “Let’s Go on the Run” exudes happiness to add pep when your run might be dragging. The piano track alone will have you bouncing right along with each step.

“The Edge of Glory” – Lady Gaga

Like “Dancing on My Own,” you may think of this song for the dance floor instead of a running playlist. But, don’t let that cause you to write it off. The steady, simple drum beat gives you something to latch onto for a rhythm. Repeating “I’m on the edge of glory” over and over again on your run is never a bad thing to build confidence for your next race.

“Shake It Off (Taylor’s Version)” – Taylor Swift

Yes, a second Taylor Swift song. She’s ubiquitous in pop culture at the moment, so it’s only fitting that the same be true of your running playlist. “Shake It Off” as a pure pop song gives you a different version of Taylor than “Story Of Us.” “But I keep cruisin’ / Can’t stop, won’t stop moving” and “I never miss a beat / I’m lightning on my feet” serve as ideal mantras for long runs and workouts, respectively.

“I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” – The Proclaimers

A song about dogged determination that has a beat like a march? What could be more perfect to get you through a run? Even if our efforts may be more on the scale of “I would run two miles and I would run two more,” we can take a fraction of the motivation embodied in this song to get through what we need to get through.

“The Harder They Come” – Jimmy Cliff

Just a purely upbeat song from the lyrics to the reggae beat that will certainly keep you going and leave you feeling better about yourself. What more could you want out of a song to run to?

“B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad)” – Outkast

Warning: Do not put this song on your playlist for easy runs. For over four minutes, Outkast goes all out in this one, and it demands you match its energy on the run. Save this one for when you need to get pumped up or need a little extra juice to get through the last mile of a long run or a tough speed interval.

What's on your playlist?

Obviously, a list of the "best" running songs is incredibly subjective and depends on your taste in music.

We want to know what gets you up and going. What's on your running playlist? It's always interesting to hear what people listen to during workouts! 

Don't be shy! Leave us a comment below or post your favorite running songs to our Facebook or holler at @runpacers on Instagram and TikTok!