If you’re looking for good running music, you won’t be disappointed. This running music playlist has songs at 130 – 150 bpm (building from slower bpms at start, to faster as you continue). This would translate into running a 10 – 11.5 minute mile pace. If you like alternative/indie rock and power-pop, but also like a few different styles of music to keep things interesting…you’ll love this mix. Actually, if you like pop and/or rock, but have an open mind to new songs, you’ll like this mix. Most are not overly obscure, artsy, or experimental…just songs that may not have received the radio play they deserved. These songs were carefully selected for running a marathon (but will work well for just running training or exercising). The pace (BPM) starts off slower in first few songs, then builds up to a faster cadence.
If you have a song that you love to use when running or working out, please share (either comment below our thru twitter @boldpacemusic)! If it is 140 – 180 bpm and meets our song “standards” below, we’ll add it to our next running or workout playlist and link back to your site with a big
thank you :)
All songs below meet our standard of being either about fitness/running, inspirational, or at least fun with a great beat (we don’t add songs with potentially uninspiring lyrics…ie. “19th Nervous Breakdown”, “Loser”, “Blister in the Sun” — all great songs, but not exactly motivational for running or fitness). For over 35+ hrs more of running and workout music, go to home page at Bold Pace Music.
Wondering if music can really improve your performance? We give links to several studies and discuss in more detail at our Bold Pace Music home page.
Looking for a perfect gift for a runner? Take some music below and slip it in with a running CD tin notecard set from Remanents. These cards, gifts, and tees have been sold at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Anthropologie, Nordstroms, Henri Bendel, Fortnum and Mason (London) and many other fine stores, however, you’ll find the largest selection at www.remanents.com. See more running cards and tees along with beautiful Couture Fabric Holiday cards and Halloween cards too.
Got an iphone or use an ipod? Check out this app and software that analyzes your itunes for BPMs and then lets you choose songs at that BPM from your iphone or ipod…see Cadence (need Mac w/ OS 10.4 or higher for ipod; PC version also available)
The itunes playlist below has ALMOST all the songs listed, there are a few that are not on itunes: The Monroes, Flash & the Pan, AC/DC, Bram Tchaikovsky, and Madness.
There are 73 songs below with a total playtime of 4.4 hours. Enjoy…
Click here to download songs from itunes
Click below to play samples and/or download songs from amazon:
To get this music, just click on either itunes or amazon playlist above and download either entire the playlist or individual songs. Or see our Amazon store for the very best full albums by artists on the playlists.
- Chariots of Fire – Vangelis (68): Just thought I’d put this one at the beginning to help get pysched up for the start. Seems like a perfect song while you’re waiting in the coral for the race to start.
- We Used to Wait – Arcade Fire (122): You just HAVE to see this
video“event” before your run. You type in a current address or an address where you grew up and suddenly you’re a runner in a hood running through your neighborhood. It’s really groundbreaking stuff…see bold pace music for more info and instructions to view, or go to The Wilderness Downtown site to see what all the hype is about–it’s worth it.
- We are the People – Empire of the Sun (125): This Australian band went platinum w/ their debut album in Australia and this song was nominated for “Song of the Year” by the APRA. It’s an epic song that starts out the race on the right foot w/ a good beat and lyrics like “A force running in every boy and girl, all rejoicing in the world, take me now–we can try”. Well done pop.
- I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas (129): “Let’s do it, let’s do it, …” Trying not to be music snobs here, and BEP do pop well with a great beat…you just gotta do it.
- Gimme Hope Joanna – Eddy Grant (130): With the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, this anti-apartheid anthem just seems like a perfect song at the beginning of a marathon. The song was banned by the South American government when it was originally released.
- Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap (130): This song might sound familiar from movie “(500) Days of Summer” or perhaps from Greek, One Tree Hill, or UK drama Skins. In any case, it’s a should put you in the right disposition…”We won’t stop until it’s over…won’t stop to surrender”
- Dream City – Free Energy (131): Always good to have a few handclaps, na-na-nas, and unbridled enthusiasm at the start of a race and the Philly band Free Energy delivers… “Hey, we’re coming out…cruising across the town”.
- Bad Things – Jace Everett (131): If you watch True Blood, you’ll know this song. Even if you don’t, it’s still a badass vibe that will get your competitive juice flowing.
- Drivers Seat – Sniff and the Tears (132): Released in 1978, this song went to #15 in the US, #1 in the Netherlands, and #43 in the UK. If you saw Boogie Nights, you may recall this song. Enjoy these lyrics: “Pick up your feet, got to move to the trick of the beat”…a good reminder for the songs to come.
- She’s Not There – The Zombies (132): “Let me tell you about the way she looked”…from the 1968 “Odessey and Oracle” album that is now considered one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time according to Rolling Stone (it was ranked 80). Let this song bring you back in time…
- Surrender – Cheap Trick (133): Another “best” song as this one was on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” ranked at #465. It may not have exactly running lyrics, but you can just “Surrender” to the magnificence of the marathon.
- Marseilles – Angel City (135): Seems to me that “thinking ’bout the south of France” is not a bad visual diversion. Keep running and thinking about “drinking champagne, playing it cool…”
- She’s Got You High – Mumm-Ra (135): Another song from “(500) Days of Summer” and another nice diversion as you enjoy a romantic song with “I figured love would shine through…open your mind, believe it’s going to come…” PS. (500) Days of Summer is a great soundtrack
- This Tornado Loves You – Neko Case (135): Listed on many indie blogs as the “Favorite Song of 2009″ this gem includes good focus lines like “Run out to meet me, come into the light”and “Your rails have always outrun mine”.
- Lights Out – Santigold (135): “Lights out…where’s there to run, watch everybody come undone” and “Darling, don’t got to worry, you’re locked in tight”.
- Life During Wartime – Talking Heads (135): This could be your running mantra: “This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no fooling around…no time for dancing, or lovey dovey, I ain’t got time for that now”.
- Giving up the Gun – Vampire Weekend (135): An appropriate follow-up to “Life During Wartime”… Key line here is “I see you shine in your way…go on, go on, go on”.
- I’m Your Man – Wham! (135): A good example of pop done well… “If you’re gonna do it, do it right…do it with me”…I’m pretty sure George is talking about running here.
- London Calling – The Clash (136): One of my all-time favorite bands w/ a classic. From the same titled album ranked #8 on Rolling Stone list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, this song was also #15 on the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Always politically conscious, the song covers concerns about nuclear power, riots in London, flooding, drug use and even the Broadway production of Beatlemania. Not too much about running, but inspirational nonetheless and “while we were talking, I saw you running out”.
- O Valencia – The Decemberists (136): Always good for a story, the Decemberists are describing star-crossed lovers similar to Romeo and Juliet. But there are some potential running lines like… “You say you can’t breakaway” and “you ran like a fool to my side”.
- Love in a Trashcan – Ravonettes (136): The guitar riffs on this song are just so cool. It almost sounds country, but this isn’t a country song. As for running lyrics… “On the road ’til the end of time” and “Now the time is right and you feel the need…come on baby you’re my best fix”.
- Rat Trap – Boomtown Rats (137): Another great story song…enjoy as Billy tries to navigate back to the “right side of town” and avoid the “rat trap”.
- October – Broken Bells (137): A terrific new band featuring Brian Burton (better known as Danger Mouse) and James Mercer (of the Shins). They deliver a nice line to think about during a marathon: “There’s no shortcut to a dream, it’s all blood and sweat and life is what you manage in between”
- French Navy – Camera Obscura (137): Let loose with Camera Obscura… “I wanted to control it, but love, I couldn’t hold it”
- Hate To Say I Told You So – The Hives (137): This band is a favorite for running music and they do it again here w/ a fast beat and an attitude that “I’m gonna” do whatever, because “I wanna”.
- Dashboard – Modest Mouse (137): Upbeat w/ great guitar riffs…”Now here we go!”
- I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better – The Byrds (138): As you pass the next runnner… “I have to let you go, babe, and run away” and “I’ll feel a whole lot better, when you’re gone”
- Perfect – Fairground Attraction (138): A Scottish band with an infectious acoustic mix of folk, jazz, and country. Their 1988 album “The First of a Million Kisses” was a killer debut and this song made it to #1 in the UK. “Too many people take second best, but I won’t take anything less…It’s got to be Perfect”
- Too Fake – Hockey (138): Enjoy a little sarcasm from Hockey w/ lines like “Everybody’s watchin’ oh, but nobody cares..no, wait does it go…nobody’s watching, but everybody cares?…Oh, whatever talk to you later”
- Looking for Lewis and Clark – The Long Ryders (138): Here’s a great band out of LA that turned me on to several other “country-rock” bands (like Green on Red, BoDeans, Hoodoo Gurus, Guadalacanal Diary). They are definitely more rock, than country as they “write a check and fill in zeros, looking for Lewis and Clark”
- Teenage Kicks – The Undertones (138): Some of you might recall the lead singer of this London band named Feargal Sharkey (remember A Good Heart ?). Sharkey’s unique voice is on display here with this light, upbeat tune.
- Burning Bandstands – Matt Stevens (139): Sometimes, a nice instrumental song is just what you need. Here’s a great one from a guitarist in North London who puts out some excellent multi-layered music (and is a kick to follow on Twitter). Find more on his site.
- People Got a Lotta of Nerve – Neko Case (140): What a voice…Neko also has the the best use of “maneater” in a song since Hall and Oates: “I’m a maneater…yet your still surprised when I eat ya”
- I Can’t Explain – The Who (140): As a big Who fan, I was having a tough time finding a faster bpm song. Here’s a classic…”I’m feeling good now, yeah, but (can’t explain)”
- A Certain Romance – The Arctic Monkeys (141): Starts out like a heavy metal song and then seamlessly transitions into a great guitar riff. I could listen to Alex Turner’s voice all day…just love the English accent.
- Girl of My Dreams – Bram Tchaikovsky (141): You can hear the similarity to contemporaries Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, and Joe Jackson and the obvious talent. This one is for the guys to think of the girl of their dreams and “ooh, she makes me feel all right, gets my feet right off the ground”. Can’t find this on itunes…get at Amazon
- Higher Ground – Red Hot Chili Peppers *explicit lyrics* (141): Gotta love the Peppers… “People keep on running” (OK, not the actual lyrics, but it almost sounds like it) and “Keep on trying ’til I reach the higher ground”
- Kick Drum Heart – The Avett Brothers (142): A band who have been around for awhile, but is getting lots of critical acclaim lately, and for good reason. Here’s a song that shows their country/folk/bluegrass roots, but is still rockin’. It ends w/ a great line… “I won’t look back anymore, I left the people that do, it’s not the chase that I love, it’s me following you”
- Penny on the Train Track – Ben Kweller (142): Another indie critical fav who started writing songs when he was 8 years old. He has toured with Ben Folds and Death Cab for Cutie and pens a terrific motivational song here… “And go, just go, find a place that you don’t know”
- The Breakup Song – The Greg Kihn Band (142): If you are older than 35, you’ll instantly recognize the “uh, uh, uh, un uh”
- Ali in the Jungle – The Hours *explicit lyrics* (142): One of my new all-time favorite running songs. Just enjoy the motivational lyrics and chorus “Everybody gets knocked down, how quick are you gonna get up?” (you might recognize this from this Nike commercial)
- What Do all the People Know – The Monroes (142): I think anyone I have ever played this song for likes it, but it never got much airplay. It’s not real deep or about running, but it has a great beat and a catchy chorus. Not available on itunes, get at Amazon
- Suedehead – Morrissey (143): As a great juxtaposition to the last Monroes song, a Morrissey song will not be so light (of course). Many people have tried to understand the meaning of “suedehead” and this song, but it is one of his best. “Suedeheads” where a offshoot of the “skinhead” subculture in the UK and they grew their hair slightly longer, wore more formal fashion, and enjoyed music that was slower and more soulful. It seems that the song is about a love affair gone wrong with a suedehead, but “it was a good lay”. And as it ends on that last note, I think that is still motivational :)
- Keep it Clean – Camera Obscura (144): Such an awesome band. Another love affair gone wrong, but from a woman’s point of view. Enjoy hearing Tracyanne Campbell tell her old boyfriend off and that “I don’t want to be a part of your scene, I’ll stick with him and keep my nose clean”
- Hey St. Peter – Flash and the Pan (144): Sometimes you need a little empathy on a long run, and Flash and the Pan is here to give it to you. Listen to the cool voice say: “It really feels like hell”. Now, keep going! Not available on itunes, get at Amazon
- 1901 – Phoenix (144): In danger of being over-played, but still a great song. Just enjoy the rhythm on this one, the lyrics are pretty esoteric and you can’t really hear the words anyway.
- The Cure – Tegan & Sara (144): “Oh oh well I keep going, oh no I ran while knowing, no no I know you need it, so so I need it too, and oh oh I must keep going…”
- Car Trouble – Adam Ant (145): Adam Ant just made great running music… “Push, Push, Push, Push”
- Rockin’ Down the Highway – Doobie Brothers (145): Another one for nostalgia… “Can’t stop…gotta keep moving”
- The Underdog – Spoon (145): Another for the all-time favorite list. As you pass another runner, enjoy singing to yourself “you got no fear of the underdog, that’s why you will not survive”
- Ambling Alp – Yeasayer (146): “Now the world can be an unfair place at times, but your lows will have their complement of highs, and if anyone should cheat you, take advantage of you, or beat you, raise your head and wear your wounds with pride…You must stick up for yourself son”
- Left & Right in the Dark – Julian Casablancas (147): Front man for the Strokes doing just fine on his own…listen for: “Running in the parking lot, I’m four years old” and “I’m on my way on somewhere”
- Change Your Mind – The Killers (147): From their “Hot Fuss” album… “Racy days help me through the hopeless haze”
- Tonight Tonight – Smashing Pumpkins (147): Trivia: Did you know Ric Ocasek (from the Cars) wrote this song? As one of Kara Goucher’s mantras is “Believe” (she wrote “Always believe” on the back of the t-shirt she designed), I think focusing on “Believe, Believe in me, Believe” should work well at this time in the race.
- Working for the Weekend – Loverboy (148): OK, guilty pleasure…but sometimes you just want a fun oldie to pump you up on a run (right?). “Everyone’s watching to see what you will do” and “You wanna be in the show, come on baby LET’S GO!”
- Come on Lets Go – Paul Weller *explicit lyrics* (149): This will be your new running favorite. It’s the perfect up-tempo motivational song by the master in Paul Weller (formerly of the Style Council) “You say where to, I say I don’t know, I just need to run, and you need it too, and I catch your eye, and I feel the wind, and it feels so high”
- Banditos – The Refreshments (149): Channel your inner geek (ignore any political correctness) and enjoy this chorus “Well give your ID card to the border guard; Yeah, your alias says you’re Captain Jean-Luc Picard, of the United Federation of Planets, ’cause he won’t speak English anyway” and “Everybody knows that the world is full of stupid people, so meet me at the mission at midnight and we’ll divvy up there”
- Armistice – Phoenix (150): Another great band that puts out great running music. This is off one of my “5 Best Running Albums“… “In the middle of the course when ambitions are low, head-on close, hang on before you lose control”
- Alright – Supergrass (150): This song starts out perfectly with “We are young, we run green, keep our teeth, nice and clean, see our friends, see the sites, feel alright!” Well, just go w/ the “we are young” part…
- Cold War – Janelle Monae (151): Another motivational and “keep fighting” song from the critically acclaimed, multi-talented, Grammy nominated performer… hear lines like: “If you want to be free, feel the ground is the only place to be, ’cause in this life you spend time running from depravity” and “bring wings to the weak and bring grace to the strong, may all evil stumble as it flies in the world”
- Me and Mia – Ted Leo and the Pharmacists (151): Keep fighting… “Fighting for the smallest goal: to get a little self-control…I see it in your eyes, I see it in your spine” and “But do you believe in something beautiful? Then get up and be it”
- Shake a Leg – AC/DC (152): I love AC/DC and this song just rocks. The title says it all. Can’t get this anywhere but here: AC/DC web site
- We Got the Beat – The Go Gos (152): Once again, no music snobbery here. This one is just fun, and you need some fun to bring it home…
- I Was a Teenage Anarchist – Against Me! (153): “Do you remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire?” Try to remember and it will keep you going…
- Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting – Elton John (153): From back when Elton rocked…a reminder to keep fighting.
- Veronica – Elvis Costello (154): Just a cool, up-beat song from Elvis to help you push to the end. Be the spunky Veronica as she says “You can call me anything you like, but my name is Veronica”
- Lust for Life – Girls *explicit lyrics* (154): One of my daughters favorites, and just seems like it would be fun song to run with. Getting close to the finish you’re thinking “but now I’m just crazy, I’m totally mad” and then there is looking toward the future at the end with “And maybe if I really tried with all of my heart, then I could make a brand new start in love with your”…now keep pushing with all of your heart.
- One Step Beyond – Madness (155): Almost there, thinking of stopping? no…”you better start to move your feet…One Step Beyond!” Not available on itunes, get at Amazon
- The World at Large – Modest Mouse (155): You’ve been doing a lot of thinking on this run and “my thoughts were so loud, I couldn’t hear my mouth”
- Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked – Cage the Elephant (157): “I can’t slow down, I can’t hold back…there ain’t no rest for the wicked, until we close our eyes for good”
- I Melt with You – Modern English (157): “Moving forward using all my breath” and “The future’s open wide”
- Never Miss a Beat – Kaiser Cheifs (158): A fun, sarcastic song with a faster beat to help bring it home…”Take a look at the kids on the street, no they never miss a beat”
- Someday Someway – Marshall Crenshaw (159): A great ending with “Now after all you’ve done for me, all I really want to do, is take the love you brought my way, and bring it all right back to you”
There are a number of ways to get BPM for your music collection. See this comprehensive post from mmartins.com on BPM detection software.
Want more music? See all of our playlists and more songs listed by bpm…Bold Pace Music
Have any suggestions for our next playlist? Please comment and share…
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