Running Music

Running MixI’ve always enjoyed running and I’ve been doing a lot more of it over the last few months. Since the Charleston Bridge Run 10k back in March, I’ve been trying to run at least 5k (3.1m) twice a week. One of the things that keeps me going when I’m out on a long run is good music. Choosing the songs that go into my running playlist has never been a very technical process. I just look for songs in my library that are a little faster than the stuff I might listen to while sitting here in front of the computer. That playlist is up to about 100 songs now and I’m always cycling songs out that didn’t work and adding new songs that seem promising. I don’t know if anybody would be interested, but just in case, I shared an iTunes iMix of my top 20 running songs.

It’s a pretty random assortment of music with a lot of old punk and ska music. Yes, I said ska music. After creating this mix, I did some searching for other running music ideas. Rather than focusing on genres of music, it seems there is a lot of emphases on beats per minute. Ideally, you should choose songs for your run that either match up with your workout pace or push you to go faster. I was curious to to see what the average bpm was for the songs I chose. I googled what I could and if there were any that I couldn’t find a bpm for online, I used the free MixMeister BPM Analyzer app that’s available for both Mac and PC. While the bpm for my list is all over the board, the average is about 130bpm which falls dead in center of the 120-140bpm range mentioned in a 2008 NYTimes article about workout music.

Here’s the list:

  • The Postal Service – Such Great Heights (175 bpm)
  • Bubba Sparxx – Deliverance (92bpm)
  • U.S. Bombs – Jaks (89 bpm)
  • Eels – Mr E’s Beautiful Blues (114 bpm)
  • Dropkick Murphey’s – Barroom Heroes (101 bpm)
  • Flogging Molly – Within a Mile of Home (159 bpm)
  • Green Day – Minority (138 bpm)
  • Modest Mouse – Dashboard (136 bpm)
  • Mustard Plug – Go (155 bpm)
  • Pennywise – Bro Hymn (98 bpm)
  • Black Eyed Peas – Boom Boom Pow (130 bpm)
  • Blink 182 – All the Small Things (148 bpm)
  • Death Cab For Cutie – Soul Meets Body (128 bpm)
  • Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out (105 bpm)
  • Jimmy Eat World – The Middle (162 bpm)
  • Marathon – Stand Back (152 bpm)
  • The New Pornographers – Use It (145 bpm)
  • Spoon – The Underdog (145 bpm)
  • SR71 – Right Now (116 bpm)
  • The Wedding Present – Always the Quiet One (97 bpm)

You can preview all the songs by visiting my shared Jason’s Running iMix (opens in iTunes). As a side note, I typically prefer to buy my music from Amazon over iTunes. It’s usually a little cheaper and the MP3s from Amazon are DRM free.

2 comments on “Running Music

JAbbott says:

Nice mix. I have not ventured into running with headphones. I’m afraid I’d be less aware of my surroundings and get run over or not hear the rabid dog that is quickly gaining on me.

That’s true. Aside from the 2 German Shepherds across the street that tend to get out without a leash from time to time, our neighborhood is pretty safe. Those are the only dogs I’d be concerned about. I definitely don’t bike with headphones on though.

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