Running Songs


Running songs can add motivation, inspiration, and even a subconscious pacer to your training. A song can be a very powerful tool that can take your mind in a positive direction and keep your focus on success. Let’s say, for example, you’re running through the park and the next song that starts playing is the theme from “Rocky”. You get a spring in your step and a cadence to your breathing, and before you know it you’ve run through a winding road, up and down hills, and never once did you think about the quicker pace or your tired legs! Music can really give us a mental edge when running.

While some running songs can impact our pace by the tempo or beat, many songs can have an even stronger impact by the way they influence our thoughts. If a song causes us to daydream, envision a successful race finish or some other stream of positive thinking, this will keep our focus on succeeding and increase the likelihood of it happening. Positive thinking can also help keep those pesky thoughts of fatigue and soreness out of our minds. There have been times when I’ve delved into hour-long day dreams only to mentally emerge many miles down the road. Using music on long, slow distance days can be a really smart way to stay focused and motivated, provided that you choose the right running songs.

Choosing the right running songs can be a very individual task. My favorite songs, which I’ve listed below, motivate and inspire me because of the thoughts and moods that they evoke. Don’t pick a song based on tempo alone. If a song reminds you of a messy break-up or a miserable moment in your past, no beat or cadence is this world will overcome that negative mood. Pick the songs that make you feel good. A positive spirit will pick up the feet whether the song has a medium or a quick tempo.

Below is a list of my top 25 running songs. You’ll notice that there’s quite a variety in the genre, tempo, and age of these songs. I like the variety and will usually leave my MP3 player on random / shuffle. And whether it be a high school glory days song or a quick-beat motivational song…these are the songs that give me a lift…

  1. Holiday – Green Day (2004, Alternative); 3:56
  2. Chariots of Fire – Vangelis (1983, Classical); 3:25
  3. Rocky - “Gonna Fly Now” – Bill Conti (1977 – Instrumental); 4:21
  4. Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen (1983, Rock); 4:30
  5. Get Ready For This – Crazy Frog (2005, Pop); 3:05
  6. Here I go again – Whitesnake (1987, Rock); 3:54
  7. Footloose – Kenny Loggins (1984, Pop); 3:37
  8. St. Elmo’s Fire “Man in Motion” – John Parr (1985, Pop); 4:04
  9. Dreams – Van Halen (1986, Rock); 4:52
  10. Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds (1985, Alternative); 4:18
  11. Olympic Fanfare – John Williams (1984, Classical); 3:55
  12. Jump – Van Halen (1984, Rock); 4:03
  13. Almost – Bowling for Soup (2005, Pop); 3:26
  14. Wonderwall – Oasis (1995, Alternative); 4:14
  15. Closing Time – Semisonic (1998, Alternative); 4:33
  16. Over the Rainbow - Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole (2001, Island); 3:32
  17. 100 Years – Five for Fighting (2004, Pop); 4:01
  18. This is the Time – Billy Joel (1986, Pop); 5:01
  19. Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day (2004, Alternative); 4:22
  20. 1985 – Bowling for Soup (2005, Pop); 3:13
  21. Since You’ve Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson (2004, Pop); 3:17
  22. How you Ever Gonna Know – Garth Brooks (1997 – Country); 3:36
  23. I Don’t Like Mondays – Boomtown Rats (1979, Alternative); 3:50
  24. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor (1982 – Rock); 4:06
  25. I Got You “I Feel Good” – James Brown (1965, R&B); 3:12

Good running songs can serve like a metronome for your feet…and it’s not just the beat that keeps you going but the positive mood that these songs can instill. These songs can really give your mind and body a huge boost of motivation when you need it. So next time you look with apprehension at that grueling workout that lies ahead…load up your MP3 player with some good tunes and run through it!


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