Great running music: My top running tracks on CD and MP3

Running to music is great. It pumps me up, gives me energy and keeps me positive while I exercise. It also helps me keep a good pace. But more importantly, every time I go out for a run listening to my top playlists I somehow run faster and don’t feel as tired as I do when my favourite songs are playing full blast on my iPhone.

That’s the reason I started this site. I enjoy it so much that I want to share the best music for running I’ve found. Today I want to share a few of my favourite CDs for jogging.

Here are a few notes on each. I may write a full review of each of them later, but for now just a short note:

1. 101 Running Songs is a collection of 5 CDs. The songs are good although a little old, so if you like recent music only this one may not be for you. I do like it quite a bit though. It has music by Queen, Pink, Fatboy Slim, Billy Idol, Christina Aguilera, Coldplay, Wham and many others. I wrote a short review of the first CD a few months ago. 5 Stars.

2. 101 Running Songs Lap 2 is the sequel to the above and also a 5 disc set. This one is more modern featuring music by Black Eyed Peas, Justin Timberlake, Blur, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Katy Perry, Alycia Keys, etc. mixed up with oldies by Judas Priest, Deep Purple, Duran Duran, Blondie, Erasure and Run DMC. I normally wouldn’t listen to some of these, but the combination is pretty good and all tracks are awesome for running. A little variety is great. This one is one of my favourites. 5 Stars.

3. Exercizer Maximizer Vol. 1 & 2 is a 2 disc set and it’s based on running at specific beats per minute. The tag line is “Workout Music Engineered To Get You Results” and it sure does. It has warm up and warm down tracks. The music was written specifically to work out by composer Raney Shockne. It’s not normal songs by known artists. It’s like having your own coach with you. However, the pace gets pretty high so it’s more geared towards regular runners that can already sustain a good pace. Skip it if you’re just starting out. 5 Stars.

4. The Biggest Loser Workout Mix – 80s Hits Remixed is as simple as it gets. Twelve up beat songs from the 80′s including Sussudio, Electric Avenue, Let’s hear it for the boy, Magic, and others. This one is a love it or hate it disc. Check out the song list and you’ll know if it’s for you. 3 Stars.

5. Bodymix: Sixties Cardio is good once in a while. The songs aren’t by the original artists (at least I don’t think so) and I wouldn’t listen to it when not running, but for a jog they’re good. I get this with some songs, don’t like them when I listen to them but like them while running. They have a good rhythm. 3 Stars.

So there you have it. If you’re looking for running music but don’t want to spend the time creating custom playlists these might be exactly what you want.

AC/DC running playlist – 60 minutes

I’m a big fan of AC/DC, so this week I thought I’d create a few running playlists with their music.

This is the first one I ran to and it was amazing.

I specifically picked songs that have a similar rhythm. They’re all relatively slow paced (for running) at around 125 beats per minute (BPM) for those interested in that. I thought it was going to be an easy run and I had planned to run to the beat.

However, as it turned out I got into it and just let go. AC/DC’s music is so energetic that I ran faster than I thought I would. Way faster.

And it’s not just the music, the lyrics also pumped me up.

Hearing the guys sing “T.N.T. I’m dynamite, T.N.T. and I’ll win the fight” 50 minutes into a run, when you’re getting tired, really gives you a burst of new energy. It’s great. I kicked up the pace with this song and finished 10 kilometres in under an hour even though it was supposed to be an easy run.

The playlist starts with the slower pace ones at around 120 BPM, then builds up to 130 BPM and slows down again towards the end.

The Playlist:

Song Album BPM
Rock ‘n Roll Train Black Ice 118
Touch Too Much Highway to Hell 123
Have A Drink On Me Back In Black 124
What Do You Do For Money Honey Back In Black 126
You Shook Me All Night Long Back In Black 128
Givin’ The Dog A Bone Back In Black 131
War Machine Black Ice 129
There’s Gonna Be Some Rockin’ Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap 128
Jailbreak Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap 130
Rocking All The Way Black Ice 126
Big Jack Black Ice 127
Spoilin’ for a Fight Black Ice 125
Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round To Be A Millionaire) Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap 124
T.N.T. High Voltage 125
Anything Goes Black Ice 120

Unfortunately, you can’t get the songs in digital format through either iTunes or Amazon.

The Australian band members have said they won’t sell their music through iTunes because they want people to buy the full album, not just individual songs. I do think people should listen to AC/DC that way for the most part, but it seems silly to me to stay out of iTunes.

So, unless you’re an AC/DC fan like me and already have a bunch of their music, the only way to make a playlist is to purchase full albums in CD. You can get these in Amazon, but only physical CD’s and not digital downloads.

Lesson learned:

As I said, AC/DC turned out to be amazing for running. Energetic music with great rhythm and powerful lyrics. I don’t think you can go wrong with AC/DC.

Rating:

I give it a 5 out of 5.

My favourite playlist so far.

101 Running Songs CD 1 – 80 minutes

I told a friend of mine, who’s also a runner, that I had started this site for running songs. We were having coffee on the weekend and he suggested I looked at a CD set that he had that was a collection of running songs. I looked it up and it’s great.

It’s called, appropriately, 101 Running Songs and it’s exactly what the title suggests.

The set is a collection of 5 CD’s, each with around 20 songs chosen specifically as running music. I imagine it would be pretty cool as workout music for most types of exercise as well. I suggest you have a look at the songs as, like me, you might find many of them are already in your iTunes library. If so, it might be best to buy the individual songs you’re missing and make your own running songs playlist out of it.

This is how the Amazon product description explains it:

This collection of tracks, the latest offering from the hugely successful 101 brand, is the ideal motivation to get the heart thumping and the legs pumping. Contains 101 tracks including cuts from Queen, Outkast, The Ting Tings, Pitbull, Hot Chip, Fatboy Slim, Survivor, T. Rex, Kenny Loggins, Billy Idol, The Dandy Warhols, David Bowie and many others.

Today I put together a playlist with the tracks in the first disc of the set for my morning run. It’s about 80 minutes worth and I have to say it really is a great bunch of running songs.

Even if you don’t particularly like the songs, the beat is relatively fast and consistent and it did keep me pumped. I actually finished the 8 kilometre run at a higher pace than ever before!

The Running Songs:

Song Artist Amazon
Don’t Stop Me Now Queen Buy in Amazon
The Rockafeller Skank Fatboy Slim Buy in Amazon
Hey Ya Outkast Buy in Amazon
Wake Me Up Before You Go Go Wham Buy in Amazon
Rebel Yell Billy Idol Buy in Amazon
Lust For Life Iggy Pop Buy in Amazon
One Way Or Another Blondie Buy in Amazon
Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Dub Apollo 440 Buy in Amazon
Reet Petite Jackie Wilson Buy in Amazon
Candyman (radio edit) Christine Aguilera Buy in Amazon
Mambo No 5 (A Little Bit Of) Lou Bega Buy in Amazon
Footloose Kenny Loggins Buy in Amazon
Modern Love David Bowie Buy in Amazon
Black And White Town Doves Buy in Amazon
Milk And Alcohol Dr. Feelgood Buy in Amazon
Goody Two Shoes Adam Ant Buy in Amazon
Fascination Alphabeat Buy in Amazon (album)
Ooh La La Goldfrapp Buy in Amazon
Speed Of Sound Coldplay Buy in Amazon
How To Save A Life Fray Buy in Amazon

Lesson learned from these running songs:

There were a few surprises. For example, I was amazed at how good Footloose is as a running song. I don’t really like the song that much. I certainly wouldn’t listen to it in a different context or just because I felt like it. But as a song for running it’s great. As soon as it started I could feel myself getting pumped and for some reason made me smile.

Mambo No 5 is also pretty cool. I felt like I was dancing to it more than running, which made it more enjoyable.

Rating:

I give it a 5 out of 5. It’s a great collection of running songs.

If you’re interested in the full 5 CD set you can get it from Amazon:

 

Rock Music Playlist – 60 minutes

This time around, I decided to go with a rock/alternative running playlist for this week’s jogging.

Instead of doing a smart playlist as previously, I just filtered by genre and randomly listed to a few songs and made a very quick decision. If they sounded “runnable” I threw them into a playlist, if they were too slow I skipped them.

I did this very fast until I had roughly 60 minutes worth or songs for running. I didn’t want to think about the songs too much as I really liked the feeling of listening to stuff I hadn’t heard in a long time or even ever!

I realised I have a lot of songs I just haven’t heard.

I’ve purchased way too many CD’s over the years and I either never got around to listening to the whole thing or I just don’t remember. There are also songs that others in the family have purchased that I hadn’t heard. Since we keep all music in a huge shared library, there’s a lot to choose from. This will be fun.

The Rock Music Running Playlist:

Song Artist BPM Amazon
Love foolosophy Jamiroquai 129 Buy in Amazon
Alt.end The Cure 115 Buy in Amazon
Not Afraid Earshot 84 Buy in Amazon
Pardon Me Incubus 76 Buy in Amazon
Yesterday’s Today Living Syndication 171 Buy in Amazon
Guerilla Radio Rage Against The Machine 207 Buy in Amazon
The Door Silverchair 184 Buy in Amazon (full album)
Suck My Kiss Red Hot Chili Peppers 102 Buy in Amazon
Song 2 Blur 172 Buy in Amazon
Around the World Red Hot Chili Peppers 155 Buy in Amazon
Everlong Foo Fighters 79 Buy in Amazon
Brighter Than The Sun Tiamat 134 Buy in Amazon
Juicebox The Strokes 155 Buy in Amazon
Black Bugs Regurgitator 65 Buy in Amazon
Brown Eyed Girl Everclear 110 Buy in Amazon
Break My Body Pixies 127 Buy in Amazon

 

Lesson learned from this running playlist:

This rock music running playlist turned out great. I chose the songs just by ear and it worked. I’ll do a few more of those using different genres.

What I’m now convinced of is that the software I used to calculate BPM didn’t do a good job.The difference in the tunes on this playlist are just way too big that it doesn’t sound right. Either they’re wrong or I don’t fully understand BPM.

(UPDATE: I found a better way to add BPM to songs in iTunes).

Rating:

I give this rock music running playlist a 4 out of 5. It was pretty cool

Latin Music Playlist – 55 minutes

After my previous running playlist failed attempt, I re-run the smart playlist in iTunes with 2 changes:

  1. BPM is in the range 190 and 195
  2. Limit to 60 minutes

I kept the genre to contain “Latin” as I wanted to get what I thought the previous playlist should’ve been. Note that I have genres for “Latin Pop”, “Latin Rock”, “Latin Mariachi”, “Latin Salsa”, etc., so setting the rule to Genre contains “Latin” will pick up anything that has the word “Latin”.

I found similar issues as previously with BPM. I don’t think they’re correct.

The first song that came up, Suelta Mi Mano (Let go of my hand) by Sin Bandera, is a ballad. A good song, but not a “running” song by any means. I guess it was OK as the first one for a bit of a warm up, but I would definitely exclude it from the playlist next time.

Then it goes into a pretty fast paced death metal type song by Brujeria, then into a couple of pop/reggae style tunes by Mana, then back into slow ballads, then rock, etc. You get the point. I think the rhythm changes way too much, which is not ideal for a playlist of songs for running.

The Running Playlist:

Song Artist BPM Amazon iTunes
Suelta Mi Mano Sin Bandera 192 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Raza Odiada (Pito Wilson) Brujeria 190 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Te solte la rienda Mana 193 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
En el muelle de San Blas Mana 193 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Dudar? Quizas Enrique Bunbury 194 Buy in Amazon
Quisiera ser Alejandro Sanz 190 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Sin Ti Sin Mi Ricardo Arjona 195 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Brujerias Victimas del doctor cerebro 195 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Salida Miguel Rios 192 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Inocencia Efecto Mariposa 190 Buy in Amazon
King Kong Five Manu Chao 190 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
cai (con nina pastori) Alejandro Sanz 192 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Frijolero Molotov 190 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Si He Cantado Mal Alejandro Sanz 193 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes

 

Lesson learned from this running playlist:

Although the combination of songs was a bit random, I found this a great way to listen to old forgotten songs I haven’t heard in a while. Some of them were quite a surprise taking me back to my high school days. That’s really cool.

 

Rating:

I give it a 2 out of 5, just because the rhythm varies too much for a running playlist.

My first running playlist, Latin Music – 45 minutes

This is my first running music playlist.

It’s the first time I’ve built a playlist specifically for running, so I decided to do a smart playlist and let iTunes pick the songs based on set criteria.

I wanted to do a 6 kilometre run on a fairly hilly track, so I figured about 45 minutes of music would be more than enough.

For some reason, I was in the mood for latin music today. I thought it might be a good match for running at a comfortable pace of around 6:30 minutes per kilometre. Plus, I have literally thousands of songs in Spanish that I really like and haven’t heard in a while.

The running playlist has the following rules as the image below shows:

  1. Beats per minute (BPM) is 190
  2. Genre contains “Latin”
  3. Limit to 45 minutes selected by random
Latin music playlist itunes running

As far as running playlists go, this one turned out OK, but not great.

For one, I’m not sure how the BPM (beats per minute) is calculated, but it doesn’t seem entirely accurate. I’ll write about how I added BPM to my entire library in another post. (UPDATE: Here’s how to add BPM in iTunes)

The first song starts with a long intro with people talking and the music doesn’t kick in until about 1:30 into it. Hardly what you want in a running playlist. Once it starts it’s ok though, it’s a fairly fast song. But the boring intro is annoying while running. Then the second one is more of a rhythm ballad. Nice for running, but completely different from the first. The rest are pretty good until the last one, which is just an intro to an album. Not sure how this is 190 BPM.

The bigger issue is that even though I thought I’d capped the time at 45 minutes, the actual playlist is only 20 minutes! I later realised that restricting it to songs with exactly 190 BPM is the problem. Not many songs are exactly 190.

So, my music ran out about half way into the run. I ended up fumbling with my iPhone while running to play something else.

The Running Playlist:

Song Artist BPM Amazon iTunes
Raza Odiada (Pito Wilson) Brujeria 190 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Quisiera ser Alejandro Sanz 190 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Inocencia Efecto Mariposa 190 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
King Kong Five Manu Chao 190 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Frijolero Molotov 190 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes
Intro Luis Miguel 190 Buy in Amazon Buy in iTunes

Buy the entire Playlist in iTunes here.

Lesson learned from this running playlist:

The main thing I learned is to check the actual total time in iTunes. With this one, it turns out I don’t have enough songs in my “Latin” genres that are exactly 190 BPM, so it couldn’t fill the 45 minutes I had in the rule. Running out of music halfway through a run is not fun.

Rating:

I give my first running playlist a 2 out of 5.