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Best Running Playlist: Songs for Each Type of Run

Music can sometimes be the only running companion you need. It can give you that extra motivation boost and make even the longest and tedious runs seem more exciting. Sometimes your good old playlist can become boring after a while too, though, and there’s nothing that takes the fun out of running more than the same songs playing on a loop over and over again.

Whether you are a no headphones = no run type of person, or you simply just want to add some background music to your runs, we’ve got you covered. Here are some song suggestions categorized into the best running playlists for each type of run and purpose

Easy & Recovery Runs 

Not all runs involve giving it your all and putting maximum effort when it comes to pace and duration. Especially if you are constantly training, it is important to incorporate easy and recovery runs into your training routine so you give your body time to recuperate. Here are some songs for when you need to store your maximum efforts for the next run, while still hitting the road for a more relaxing run:

  • Good Days – SZA
  • Put Your Records On – Ritt Momney
  • Thinking of You – Joesef
  • Dang! – Mac Miller, Anderson .Paak
  • Be Honest – Jorja Smith, Burna Boy
  • Passionfruit – Drake
  • Swim Good – Frank Ocean
  • LOVEHAPPY – The Carters
  • Queen Tings – Masego, Tiffany Gouché
  • Dreams – Fleetwood Mac
  • Back Pocket – Vulfpeck 
  • I Feel It Coming – The Weeknd, Daft Punk
  • Take Shelter – Years & Years
  • After the Storm – Kali Uchis, Tyler, The Creator, Bootsy Collins
  • Ocean Drive – Duke Dumont
  • Golden – Harry Styles

Interval Runs & Fartlek Songs

If you are a long-distance runner, you may know the importance of including interval training into your routine. Incorporating this type of training every once in a while in between your other runs is crucial for building aerobic and anaerobic endurance. A fun way to do this is by adding music as a way to control speed.

Fartleks, for example, involve changing your pace continuously throughout a certain distance. So, we thought some songs with tempo changes, be it mid-song or after the first 20 seconds, can be an entertaining way to manage switching your speed. Here are some of the best running songs for adjusting your speed according to the change in tempo, which should make for quite a productive interval training:

  • Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen 
  • Dog Days Are Over – Florence + The Machine
  • On My Mind – Diplo, SIDEPIECE
  • Blame – Calvin Harris, John Newman
  • Latch – Disclosure, Sam Smith
  • Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars
  • Green Light – Lorde
  • Afterglow – Wilkinson
  • 505 – Arctic Monkeys
  • When the Sun Goes Down – Arctic Monkeys
  • Come on Eileen – Dexy’s Midnight Runners 
  • Isley Brothers – Shout
  • Child in Time – Deep Purple
  • Imma Be – Black Eyed Peas
  • Diane Young – Vampire Weekend

Energetic Run Mix

Are you in the mood for a dynamic and maximum effort run? Then what better way to get that energetic boost than from some electronic beats and catchy songs. For when you want to pick up the pace and work on your endurance, here are some powerful and rhythmic music suggestions:

  • Raingurl – Yaeji
  • Yup – Fallon
  • Watch Out for This (Bumaye) -Major Lazer, The Flexican, FS Green & Busy Signal 
  • The Rhythm of the Night – Corona
  • Take Me As I Am – The Streets, Chris Lorenzo
  • Losing It – FISHER
  • Pump It – Black Eyed Peas
  • Lemon – N.E.R.D, Rihanna ft., Drake
  • Stir Fry – Migos
  • 212 – Azealia Banks, Lazy Jay
  • GOT REAL – JOYRYDE, Mika Means
  • Levitating – Dua Lipa ft. Madonna and Missy Elliot (The Blessed Madonna Remix)
  • Bonkers – Dizzee Rascal, Armand Van Helden
  • The Renegade – Friend Within
  • Work – Chris Lorenzo, Denise, Puppah Nas-T
  • Find My Way Home – Sammy Virji
  • Get Stupid – Cloonee

Motivational Running Songs

Sometimes, even the most committed and determined athlete has to gather all their strength and muster up the motivation to go for a run or endure a longer distance. After all, choosing this lifestyle is a matter of dedication when motivation is lacking. Still, it is luckily something you can boost with the help of some good music.

We don’t know about you, but when we think of motivational music, we think of hip-hop, trap, and rap songs. The certain rebellious nature of these genres makes for the perfect motivation boost in situations  when you want to feel tough and ready to take on another run. Here are some songs for running the struggle away and to help push you through those harder runs, be it during training, or even those last miles during a long-distance race :

  • POWER – Kanye West
  • King Kunta – Kendrick Lamar
  • ATM – J. Cole
  • Nonstop – Drake
  • SICKO MODE – Travis Scott
  • Chun-Li – Nicki Minaj
  • Freedom – Beyoncé ft. Kendrick Lamar
  • Shutdown – Skepta
  • Rain – Aitch, AJ Tracey, Tay Keith
  • Laugh Now Cry Later – Drake ft. Lil Durk
  • APESHIT – The Carters
  • Touch The Sky – Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco
  • Young Sinatra – The Manor 
  • Ready or Not – Fugees, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, Pras
  • Many Men (Wish Death) – 50 Cent
  • Show Out – Kid Cudi, Skepta, Pop Smoke
  • Warm Up – NF

Indie & Folk for Hitting the Trails

The untamed and rocky surroundings of trails are always a good way to recharge through nature and remind ourselves of our roots as runners. There is no better feeling, for both your feet and mind, than tackling some natural terrain through an adventurous trail run, and what better companion to that than some indie and folk music. Here are some songs we like to listen to when running through the primeval ground of trails:

  • The Less I Know The Better – Tame Impala
  • Disparate Youth – Santigold
  • Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked – Cage The Elephant
  • Pumped Up Kicks – Foster The People
  • Midnight City – M83
  • Kids – MGMT
  • I Follow Rivers – Lykke Li
  • Young Folks – Peter Bjorn and John
  • Talk Is Cheap – Chet Faker
  • Tongue Tied – Grouplove
  • Riptide – Vance Joy
  • Wolf – First Aid Kit
  • Home – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
  • Lump Sum – Bon Iver 
  • Paper Aeroplane – Angus & Julia Stone

These were some music suggestions that complement each type of run and its pace. That does not necessarily mean they are strictly made for one pace only; music is to be enjoyed and tastes can vary from one person to the other. Some even prefer to run without music, so it is ultimately a matter of choice. For music lovers, however, music is a motivation for running while running is simultaneously a motivation to explore new music. 

With our recommendations for new tunes, now it is time for you to grab your headphones, press play, and power through that run!


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