Music for Running: 5K and 10K Running Playlists w/ 150 – 180 bpm songs (7.5 – 8.5 minute pace)

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by John on September 24, 2011

Here are two new running playlists that have faster bpm and focus on a 5K race or a 10K race. I went thru a lot of new songs from 2010 and 2011 and mixed in a few older favorites. I had to cut out a lot of music to fit into shorter playlists, so there are some amazing songs below. If you have a 5K or 10K race coming up, I’d suggest just downloading either whole playlist…you won’t be disappointed. As usual, I’ve started w/ some slightly slower bpm and finished with faster ones to focus on negative or reverse splits (read good Runner’s World article on subject).

All songs meet our standard of being either about running, inspirational, or at least fun w/ a great beat. For over 70+ hrs more of music for running and fitness 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.

There are 14 songs below with a total playtime of 52 minutes. Enjoy…

5K Running Music Playlist: Indie and Alternative music for running at 160 – 180 BPM (for runners w/ mile pace of 7.5 – 9.0 minutes)

Click here to download the 5K playlist of songs from itunes

(See below for the 10K playlist of songs)

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.

  1. Stand Tall – Dirty Heads (158): A great song to get you pumped up before a race or as you are starting out… “So I stand tall, it’s gets a little better, I can see the wall that we can break down together (we can break it down, yes we can make it)”
  2. Lewis Takes Off His Shirt – Owen Pallett (163): This singer/violinist from Toronto has a unique sound on this song that makes it feel like getting lost in a rainstorm and having your “senses bedazzled by the parallax of the road”. Listen for: “I am muscle, I am bone”
  3. Sydney (I’ll Come Running) – Brett Dennen (165): If you take a look at Brett Dennen’s website, he looks like he’s in high school. He actually put out his first EP in 2004, and this song “Sydney” is off his 6th release called “Loverboy”. He’s definitely a talent to watch. This song is perfect for running…enjoy the lyrics: “if you ever need me, call me…I’ll come runnin’ straight to you” “straight from the airport (I’ll come runnin’)…cut thru the customs line (I’ll come runnin’)…” I travel a lot, so I just love this chorus.
  4. Month of May – Arcade Fire (168): If you haven’t yet listened to all of “the Suburbs”, you are really missing out on what I think is one of the best albums of the last 10 years. Here’s another great song from that album that will keep you moving “gonna make a record in the month of May”… a PR perhaps?
  5. Tightrope – Janelle Monae (168): One of Rolling Stone’s 50 best songs of 2010, here’s a very talented woman who breaks down categorizations and crosses over between Rock, R&B, Hip-hop, you name it. Watch the video for this song if you want to see Janelle’s impressive dancing skills. Janelle says: “You either follow or you lead…yeah I’m talkin’ bout you”
  6. Sadie Hawkins Dance – Relient K (168): OK, I know it’s a little sugary, a little too pop, and a little high school…I still love this song. Think back to your high school years and picture being chased by the quarterback and “I took off down the next hall running, only to get stopped by a girl so stunning”. It’s just a fun song to take your mind off any pain you are feeling…keep pushing. Do you like my sweater?
  7. Ten-Twenty-Ten – Generationals (172): One of the Best Songs of 2011 (so far) according to The Wounded Jukebox and influenced by such favs as the Jam, the Kinks, and the Shins, this band knows how to craft a catchy, up-beat tune. It will make you feel like running…
  8. Come On Lets Go – Los Lobos (174): Originally written and performed by Ritchie Valens, this Los Lobos version is destined to motivate.
  9. Heaven’s On Fire – The Radio Dept. (176): This swedish group’s song was on several “Best of 2010″ lists (see Rawkblog: Best of 2010). Listen for…“We’re outnumbered by those who take no pride, in constantly moving against the tide”–you’re taking pride :)
  10. Friday On My Mind – The Easybeats (180): It didn’t get great reviews, but if you love music, you have to see Pirate Radio. I laughed so hard during this movie that my wife was embarrassed for me. This song had a prominent role in the movie and it should lift your spirits on any run.
  11. Hannah – Freelance Whales (180): From the album “Weathervanes” which was one of NPR’s “Best Albums of 2010″. Combining the cleverness of the fast-talking intro and verse with the slower chorus and layered instrumentation gives this song an uplifting vibe. “I’ll work on the limbs if you work on the torso, if it gets too much then you can lend a helping hand”
  12. Please Don’t Stop – Richard Bona (feat. John Legend) (180): [Actual bpm is 90, but if you double and run off the half-beats, it works at 180.] This one was suggested in a comment by db at Thank you db! It’s a little jazzy and certainly has the right idea for a run.
  13. Philadelphia – Standard Fare (180): Here’s a great review of this song and the album “The Noyelle Beat” from Buzzin’ Music. I may be biased on this one, but this is one of my favorites. As I’ve mentioned before, I do a lot of traveling and I live just outside Philadelphia. So, I definitely relate to the chorus “I’m going to have to wait all year to see you again in Philadelphia”
  14. Give It Away – Red Hot Chilli Peppers (184): I doubt that Anthony Kiedis is talking about “giving away” anything that has to do with running, but “what he’s got” is definitely an ATTITUDE and you can use that energy and confidence to finish the race hard… “reeling with the feeling, don’t stop–continue”

10K Running Music Playlist: Indie and Alternative music for running at 150 – 180 BPM (for runners w/ mile pace of 7.5 – 9.5 minutes)

There are 23 songs below with a total playtime of 1.3 hours. Enjoy…

Click here to download the 10K playlist of 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.

  1. I Want The World To Stop – Belle and Sebastian (151): One of Rawkblog’s Best Songs of 2010 and one of my favorite running music bands. Refined, cool, and smooth…this song should get you started off right. “I run alongside rush hour traffic…a prayer for every car”
  2. Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots – The Flaming Lips (156): [Actual bpm is 78, but if you double and run off the half-beats, it works at 156.] I must have played this song a thousand times when I first heard it. My kids now know it by heart and love it too. I feel like this should be playing during an episode of the Big Bang Theory while Sheldon discusses Asimov. It should bring a smile to your face on a run as well…enjoy the story. “she’s gotta be strong to fight them…so she’s taking lots of vitamins”
  3. Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen (157): I can’t believe I haven’t had this on a running playlist before. It’s a classic and perfect w/ motivation and bpm. “I’m burning through the sky, yeah…two hundred degrees, that’s why they call me Mr. Fahrenhiet…I’m travelling at the speed of light…I’m gonna make a supersonic man (or woman) out of you!”
  4. Come Out and Play – The Offspring (158): OK, this is no Belle & Sebastian, but you gotta have some variety right? Now you’re into the first 10 minutes of the run and it’s time to get pumped up. Sure the song is about violence, but focus on the attitude here. Is someone trying to pass you? “Hey, man you disrespecting me? Take him out…you gotta keep ‘em separated”
  5. Truth – Alexander (160): According to Esquire magazine, this is not only one of the Best new songs of 2011, it’s also one of the “50 songs every man should listen to” (but I think it’s OK for women to listen too). Now you’re pumped up after Offspring, here comes the whistling, relaxing sound of Alexander to just keep it going at your current pace. The bpm is about the same and you are “a different kind of fighter” “if you can’t stand to feel the pain then you are senseless” “have faith in ourselves”
  6. In One Ear – Cage the Elephant (162) *explicit lyrics*: Back to angst and attitude…You don’t care what people think, you’re just going to keep passing them and running hard. “People talking sh*t?” You know what to do…
  7. Me Me Me – Middle Brother (165): This is one of the 25 Best Songs of 2011 (so far) according to Paste Magazine. You’d be right to expect some good stuff from this folk-rock supergroup including Deer Tick’s John McCauley, Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith, and Delta Spirit’s Matthew Vasquez as the trio of frontmen. This song is off their 2011 debut album. Sometimes, you have to put yourself first…yes it’s Me, Me, Me.
  8. Gone, Gone, Gone – Nikki Lane (168): Here’s a good review of this song by KEXP in Seattle. Nikki Lane is another new artist (debut album in 2011) in the folk/country rock genre w/ a song about running away… She’s gone, gone, gone.
  9. Reward – The Teardrop Explodes (168): Here’s another recommendation based on a comment from John at Thank you John! John obviously knows his music as he had several good suggestions, but I had forgotten about this group that was Julian Cope’s project before he started his solo career. Running is it’s own Reward…
  10. Check Yes Juliet – We The Kings (169): This song is just so perfect for running, I had to add it. “Run, baby, run…don’t ever look back”
  11. Closer To Fine – Indigo Girls (170): Some of the best lyrics I know…just enjoy listening to Emily Saliers & Amy Ray harmonize and be uplifted. “and the best thing you’ve ever done for me, is to help me take my life less seriously, it’s only life after all”
  12. The Mighty Sparrow – Ted Leo & the Pharmacists (170): What Ted Leo does best–fun and up-tempo… “lifted up on wings of strangers”
  13. Remember The Name – Fort Minor (172) *explicit lyrics*: [Actual bpm is 86, but if you double and run off the half-beats, it works at 172.] Here’s your mantra: “10% luck, 20% skill, 15% concentrated power of will, 5% pleasure, 50% pain, and 100% reason to remember the name!”
  14. Come Alive – Janelle Monae (175): Now that your pumped and running hard, it’s time to take it to a new level (the schizo level) “that’s when I come alive, like a schizo running wild, that’s when I come alive…now let’s go wild!!”
  15. Last Train to Clarksville – The Monkees (175): OK, time to lighten the mood a little and have a little fun…and who better to have fun with than the Monkees! But “don’t be slow, oh, no, no! Oh, no, no, no!”
  16. Answer to Yourself – The Soft Pack (175): A good review here from “Leaps and Bounds” declares this album #2 on their Top 10 albums of 2010. Another clearly motivational pick…“you gotta answer to yourself, you can’t depend on anyone else” “you got a talent, don’t you know? You’re more talented than you know, and you give it a shot and give it the time, you’d be surprised how far it goes”
  17. I Believe – R.E.M (177): So bummed about R.E.M breaking up (called it quits on 9/21/11) as they were one of the few bands that stood the test of time since the 80’s. Here’s a tribute to R.E.M and a great motivational running song for you… “trust in your calling, make sure your calling’s true, think of others, the others think of you”
  18. Maneater – Hall & Oates (178): On a previous playlist, I used a Neko Case song with “Maneater” in the chorus, but now I’m going all the way. “watch out boy, here she comes”
  19. Blogspot – Paul and the Patients (178): Perhaps I’m biased on this one too being in the blogger world, but it’s such a fun song and rings so true. And as you race toward the end of the race, you know that “you’ve done your very best, we’re gonna put it to the test, and everyone, will tell everybody” (you are going to blog about your race, right?)
  20. My Generation – The Who (185): I grew up with a friend that loved the Who and could play any Who song on his drums. I’ve seen them in concert several times and I can still picture Pete doing his signature windmill guitar, Roger swinging the microphone around and bringing it back just in time to start singing again, and Keith having a brain aneurysm on the drums (of course, John Entwistle would just be standing there looking disinterested, but playing a mean bass guitar). As you get close to the end, use this song to remind yourself to tell all the people running behind you “why don’t you all ffff…fade away!”
  21. Ready to Start – Arcade Fire (190): Another killer song from “The Suburbs”. This one should take you to the homestretch…“your mind surely opened the door, to step out into the dark, now I’m ready”
  22. Proud – Easter Island (190): Congrats! chorus: “I’m proud of you”

Know any more great music for running or fitness? Please comment and share…

There are a number of ways to get BPM for your music collection. See this comprehensive post from on BPM detection software.

Want more music? See all of our playlists and more songs listed by bpm…Bold Pace Music

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