Running isn’t just about putting one foot in front of the other, there are major physical and mental aspects involved. The sport is a feat of human will — requiring serious perseverance, positivity, and heart. But also… all of those qualities are meaningless garbage without a good musical playlist.
Seriously, 90 percent of my running motivation is music-based. If my phone dies while I’m in the middle of a run I just flop to the ground and curl up in a ball until (I assume) the appropriate amount of hours go by to file a missing person’s report, a pack of German Shepherds are sent to find me, and I’m returned to my residence 10-40 hours later. That’s how important good songs are to my running routine. I would rather curl up in a ball, motionless, and cost everyone thousands of taxpayer dollars than just run in silence for a few minutes.
Hyperbole aside, without epic songs and good beats to push me to go further, run longer, and fight every urge to give up, I’m lost. Literally. And I’m not alone in this. Which is why crafting the perfect running playlist is both serious business and tough work. Because the perfect running song is an art form. It’s not just a song with a fast temp or thumping beat (although those things help!). No, what truly makes a great running song is how it makes you feel. It’s a song where the emotions build and fill you with big feelings and even bigger confidence. It inspires and, ultimately, pushes you to be better.
Of course, not every running song is helpful in every situation. You need a variety of powerful songs that will motivate you through each aspect of your run. Songs that distract you when the going gets tough, inspire you when you need that extra push, and celebrate with you when you get to the top of the hill and are flying downwards with the wind at your back. A good playlist moves through the emotional ups and downs of a run. It’s like your own personal trainer, giving you everything you need to be your personal best.
In hopes of helping you exceed your expectations, we compiled the best running playlist to throw on your Spotify. These songs will get you (and keep you!) moving through every stage of your run. Disclaimer: This list doesn’t stay all in one time period or genre. It’s just our favorite songs to get you motivated and elevate your running experience.
“Time to warm up! Let’s ease into this thing,” you think. But also: “Oh wow, I am hyped. I am going to kill this run.”
1. “Proud Mary,” Ike and Tina Turner
The intro says it all.
Y’ know, every now and then
I think you might like to hear something from us
Nice and easy
But there’s just one thing
You see we never ever do nothing
Nice and easy
We always do it nice and rough
So we’re gonna take the beginning of this song and do it easy,
and then we’re gonna do the finish rough.
And that’s not just the preamble to an E.L. James novel. It’s also the intro to Ike and Tina Turner’s version of “Proud Mary”. And it’s a great metaphor for your run. Ease into it, but don’t keep it easy for yourself the whole time. Push yourself, get a little crazy, allow yourself the frenetic, brilliant, vibrant energy of “Proud Mary” to get into your bones, and move!
“Proud Mary” is the perfect warm up. It starts off smooth, then brings in an even beat to get you into a jog. By the time the beat picks up, pushing at a wild pace, you’re chomping at the bit to go a bit faster too. You’re ready.