In the last couple years I’ve learned a couple tricks for at least partially salvaging a run when everything feels like it’s going to hell. I can try and make a pitiful little game out of it and start leaping over cracks in the sidewalk and running on the bumpy grass alongside the trail. I can switch to intervals and do short bursts of sprinting followed by longer periods of gasping, eye-bulge-y walking. I can repeat a mantra over and over in my head until I get past the overwhelming sensation of wanting to stop and hail a cab.

Sometimes there’s nothing that can be done, the body just isn’t feeling it. I don’t know if Serious Running-Type People still experience this, but I sure do. It’s one of the maddening things about running, how one day you feel like you might just have this thing figured out and WATCH OUT BOSTON!—and the next time you get maybe one whole block away before your legs turn into cinder blocks and your lungs say “you know what, fuck this noise,” pull out tiny STRIKE signs, and start picketing your aorta.

Anyway, the single most important factor for me in non-suicidal running (aside from not wearing something that’s sliding down my hips or crawling up my ass) is music. An iPod loaded with newish-to-me tunes will almost always result in a good run.

The unfortunate thing about music is that it only works for a certain period of time. After listening to a song during three or four runs, it starts rapidly losing its magic. It’s the only thing that makes running somewhat of an expensive form of exercise, because I’m constantly trying to refresh my playlists in order to spend my tortuous pavement-pounding time blissed out on whatever’s in my ears instead of fiddling with buttons skipping through the lost-their-mojo songs.

Which is all to say, I’ve started running again and my iPod needs your help. I’ve asked for music suggestions before, and I plan to eventually collect every song that’s been recommended and publish a gigantor master list for everyone’s benefit—but for now, will you indulge me (again) and share your favorite get-up-and-move music? I’m partial to aggressive and/or dance tunes with a high tempo, but really, I listen to all kinds of stuff.

Here’s my running mix from November 2009, and the playlist I used during the marathon last April.

Currently, I’m running to:

Hello (Single Edit) • Martin Solveig & Dragonette
Chocolate • Snow Patrol
Come and Get It • Badfinger
No Man’s Woman • Sinéad O’Connor
Walk Like An Egyptian (Energy Remix + 190 BPM) • DJ ReMix Factory
End of the Line • The Traveling Wilburys
Gavotte from Orchestral Suite No. 3 – J.S. Bach • Various Artists
O Fortuna • Spiritual Project
Pro-Test • Skinny Puppy
Supernaut • 1,000 Homo DJ’s
100 Miles and Runnin’ • N.W.A.
Ready for the Floor (Album Version) • Hot Chip
Bulletproof • La Roux
You’re a Wolf • Sea Wolf
Rococo • Arcade Fire
White Blank Page • Mumford & Sons
We Used to Wait • Arcade Fire
Hey Boy Hey Girl • The Chemical Brothers
Got My Own Thing • Liz Phair
Telephone • Lady GaGa & Beyoncé
Sorrow • Bad Religion
21st Century (Digital Boy) • Bad Religion
Twin Cinema • The New Pornographers
Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo • Bloodhound Gang
Disturbia • Rihanna
So Bad • Eminem
Untitled • Eminem
Crack a Bottle • Eminem, Dr. Dre & 50 Cent
Furr • Blitzen Trapper
Loud Pipes • Ratatat
Montanita • Ratatat
The Ghost Inside • Broken Bells
Your Man • Down With Webster
Last Resort • Papa Roach
Click Click Boom • Saliva

(Here’s an iMix link of the above list, if you’re interested.)

Okay! Hit me with your best song. My lungs thank you in advance.


147 Responses to “Propellant”

  1. Kris H. on March 28th, 2011 8:25 am

    Anything non-ballady by Linkin Park. Bleed It Out has an aggressive beat.

  2. Carrie on March 28th, 2011 8:37 am

    You totally just wrote what is on my mind! I desperately need new tunes for my 1/2 marathon training. Case in point: yesterday on a run I listened to “Right Above It” by Lil Wayne at least 10 times, no joke. It’s the newest one I’ve downloaded and didn’t have time at work to get to others, so there it was: the only song I haven’t been listening to for like, a year.
    “Horchata”- Vampire Weekend
    “Right Above It”- Lil Wayne
    “Eye of the Tiger”- whoever sings that

  3. Simon on March 28th, 2011 8:43 am

    I like the podcast called PODRUNNER. It’s electronic mixes, each one to a different BPM, each one about an hour long, so you can have them for different exercises. And although I’m not into techno, they are actually really enjoyable, and since all that techno shit sounds the same, it’s tough to get tired of them.

  4. Jessi on March 28th, 2011 8:44 am

    Lots of great suggestions here!

    Kids by MGMT (Love it!)
    Raise your Glass by Pink

    And for clapping fun while running – Private Eyes by H&O. Yes, I clap. I already look funny running…so why not!

  5. Missy on March 28th, 2011 8:49 am

    I don’t know if it’s good running music, but you must listen to Katy Perry’s Peacock. It’s funny as hell and cracks me up every time I listen to it.

  6. melissa on March 28th, 2011 8:50 am

    Thank GOD – I’m glad to know it’s not just me whose legs revolt two minutes into the run. C25K made me run for twenty-five minutes straight in the last session, and about three minutes in I said, out loud, alone on the treadmill in my basement, “I’m never going to make it twenty-five minutes”. Then I switched from my lame playlist of repeatable forgettable songs..and turned on Pandora – Bon Jovi channel…and somehow with the randomness of those songs, I finished those twenty-five minutes.

    Songs I can always run to:
    Vanilla Ice – Ice Ice Baby
    DMX – Up in Here
    Limp Biscuit – Rollin’

  7. Jen on March 28th, 2011 8:52 am

    I am so looking forward to a list, and will take some of yours. My workout list is getting old and I’m bored and need some fresh beats. Thanks for asking ;-)

    Another White Dash – Butterfly Boucher
    F**k You – Cee-Lo
    Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked – Cage the Elephant
    Cupid’s Chokehold – Gym Class Heroes
    Let It Rock – Kevin Rudolf
    Can U Dig It – Pop Will Eat Itself
    What Time is Love – KLF
    Headhunter – Front 242
    Energy Sucker – Luscious Jackson
    Put It Down – Mike Doughty
    Beat the Devil’s Tattoo – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

  8. Carrie on March 28th, 2011 8:54 am

    And more (not that I’ve gotten into my laptop)

    Walking On A Dream- Empire of the Sun
    Stay With Me- Faces
    I Want You Back- Jackson 5
    Virtual Insanity- Jamiroquai
    Down- Jay Sean
    Feelin’ Alright- Jay Cocker
    California Girls- Katy Perry
    Up Up & Away- Kid Cudi
    American Honey- Lady Antebellum (surprisingly)
    Unwritten- Natasha Bedingfield
    52-50- OAR
    Da Art of Storytellin’- Outkast
    Hey Daddy- Usher
    Right Now- Van Halen
    Crystalised- The XX
    Intro- The XX
    I Wanna Dance With Somebody- Whitney Houston
    Skeletons- Yeah Yeah Yeahs
    Mony Mony- Billy Idol

    HAPPY RUNNING! This thread was amazeballs. I took a ton of music from everyone. :)

  9. Molly on March 28th, 2011 10:07 am

    Okay, this list is all over the place but I think the songs are fun to run to…

    Walk this way: Aerosmith & Run-Dmc
    Lose Yourself: Eminem
    Pump It: Black eyed peas
    What’s the frequency kenneth? R.E.M
    Baby got back: Prof of Funk
    Angel of harlem: U2
    Bad reputation: Joan Jett
    Beverly Hills: Weezer
    Intergalactic: Beastie Boys
    Supermassive black hole: Muse
    TKO: Le Tigre
    Welcome to the jungle: Guns n Roses

    Aw man, wish I could go for a run but I’m 8 months pregnant and the size of a small ocean mammal. Have fun!

  10. Jennifer on March 28th, 2011 10:21 am

    Have you tried listening to podcasts? There was a whole training cycle where almost every run I listened to a (hilarious) morning radio show – Preston & Steve. They’re engaging enough to take my mind off the boring parts of running, esp. on longer runs, but not so consuming that I can’t watch out for cracks in the pavement or oncoming bikes or whatever. And FREE. Always good.

  11. Kim on March 28th, 2011 10:51 am

    my body by young the giant

  12. Kari on March 28th, 2011 10:52 am
  13. Shanon on March 28th, 2011 10:57 am

    Here are a few of my favorites:

    Just Say Yes – Snow Patrol
    Animal – Neon Trees
    Chasing Pirates – Nora Jones
    Breakeven – The Script
    Stop for a Minute – Keane
    Rhythm of Love – Plain White T’s
    We R who we R – Ke$ha
    Magic – B.o.B.
    DJ Got us Falling in Love – Usher
    Like a G6 – Far East Movement
    Riding Solo – Jason Derulo
    I Like It – Enrique Iglesias
    Faster – Matt Nathanson (new single – not out yet… but oh, so good!)

  14. Dorie on March 28th, 2011 11:23 am

    Current faves to get me through the second half of a run when I really need the distraction of some screaming in my ears.

    bulls on parade – rage against the machine
    killing in the name of – rage against the machine
    pokerface – lady gaga
    just dance – lady gaga
    love game – lady gaga
    we r who we r – kesha
    your love is my drup – kesha

  15. Pete on March 28th, 2011 11:32 am

    Anything by The Go! Team or Handsomeboy Technique.

    Also, library CDs + ripping = free loaded iPod

  16. katie on March 28th, 2011 12:45 pm

    Thanks so much for posting and asking for requests! I’ve been trying to get back into running, but I don’t follow Top 40 music and really need to update my workout beats playlist.
    Here are some of my favorites that have popped up on my slacker station:

    Giving Up the Gun – Vampire Weekend
    Come On, Get In – KT Tunstall
    Dog Days Are Over – Florence & the machine
    Magick – Ryan Adams
    The Moneymaker – Rilo Kiley
    Give A Little – Hanson
    Zorbing – Stornoway
    King of Anything – Sara Bareilles
    Enough’s Enough – Jamie Lidell
    Gypsy Blood – Jamie Lidell

  17. Rachel on March 28th, 2011 1:33 pm

    Pink’s “Greatest Hits…So Far” album is really doing it for me right now.

    So What and Raise Your Glass are the songs I go to when I want to boost my pace.

    Now if they could only make an mp# player for long distance swimming…

  18. Elizabeth on March 28th, 2011 1:39 pm

    The Remnant by Josh Ritter

  19. Linda on March 28th, 2011 1:45 pm

    Just a quick note to say I went for a run last night with some of your suggestions in my ears and I had the BEST RUN EVER. Like, one of those great runs where you’re all I AM A FLYING UNICORN! You guys are incredible, thank you so much.

  20. telegirl on March 28th, 2011 2:19 pm

    I’m a bit late on this but why not kick it old style, like I do? A couple of my favorites:
    Twilight Zone by Golden Earring
    Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel
    Without Me by Eminem
    I swear, a little Hall & Oates really lifts my spirits
    Evidence by Faith No More

    A DJ friend just sent me a remix from Sia called “Clap Your Hands Prince Vince Remix” and I luuuuuuuuurve it. I have no idea where she got it, though.

    But, now I’m going to get thee to iTunes and look at the stuff everyone else suggested. I know having good music is *key* to a good run, for me at least.

  21. Elaine on March 28th, 2011 4:00 pm

    telegirl, that Sia mix of Clap Your Hands in freakin’ incredible. That keeps popping up one of my pandora stations and I am in love with it every time it comes on. The woman singing on that track has an awesome voice.

  22. Kay on March 28th, 2011 4:18 pm

    I’m a bit late with this I know, but I have the ‘Hello’ song on my running list too so thought you might like some of my others .
    Lights on – Katy B featuring Miss Dynamite
    Traktor – Wretch 32
    Pass Out – Tinie Tempah
    Anything by Dizzee Rascal (But especially Dance Wid Me)

    This is mainly British rap/grime stuff. I don’t usually choose to listen to this stuff but it’s on the radio all the time over here and bloomin ‘eck it gets me moving.

  23. Kylydia on March 28th, 2011 5:13 pm

    Making Me Nervous by brad sucks its one of my current favorites

  24. Taube on March 28th, 2011 5:15 pm

    Try Ke$ha’s Sleazy, although you might stop running and start dancing.

  25. dembrat on March 28th, 2011 7:14 pm

    wonderful night by fat boy slim

  26. Alecia @ Hoobing Family Adventures on March 28th, 2011 8:31 pm

    Dog Days are Over by Florence & the Machine

  27. mixette on March 28th, 2011 9:23 pm

    Cazwell – Watch My Mouth

  28. michal on March 28th, 2011 9:40 pm

    i am obsessed with my Pandora station. it is the only thing I listen to on my distance runs.

    some of the stuff played recently:

    Kickstart My Heart – Motley Crue (yeah, a little old school)
    Crazy Bitch – Buckcherry
    Lit Up – Buckcherry
    Little Sister – Queens of the Stone Age
    Steady, As She Goes – The Raconteurs
    As Good As Dead – Local H
    Cumbersome – Seven Mary Three
    Talk Dirty to Me – Poison
    Muse – Supermassive Black Hole
    Velvet Revolver – Falling to Pieces
    Kaiser Chiefs – Ruby
    A Million Ways – Ok Go

  29. Chaya on March 29th, 2011 1:32 am

    Tesselate, by the Tokyo Police Club.

    I’m training for a marathon, and I generally only run with music once or twice a week, but I can’t get through a long run without it.

    I’m a runner now partly because of your inspiration, and it turns out I’m not half bad at it (plus I totally love it). I ran a 1:46 half one year after finishing C25K, and I’m running Eugene in 5 weeks. So thanks for the music and running.

  30. Sundry on March 29th, 2011 7:32 am

    Chaya: not half bad is quite the understatement! Talk about an inspiration. Good luck in Eugene!

  31. Nicole on March 29th, 2011 12:25 pm

    This is truly an amazing amount of songs – I have quickly scanned them and wanted to add a few I didn’t see – I tend to like songs that build and have a steady beat:

    Valkyrie Missle – Angels & Airwaves
    Little Bird – Annie Lennox
    The Rising – Bruce Springsteen
    Hang Me Up to Dry – Cold War Kids
    Spotlight (into Twilight) Mute Math
    State of Love & Trust – Pearl Jam
    Wishlist – Pearl Jam
    Paint it black, Rolling Stones
    Ecstasy – Rusted Root
    Lazy Eye – Silversun Pickups
    Sweet Dispositin – The Temper Trap
    Possum Kingdom – The Toadies
    Bittersweet Sympony – The Verve
    Rock & Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution – ACDC
    Move Along – All American Rejects
    Brian Wilson (live) – Barnaked Ladies
    Cannonball – The Breeders
    All I’m Thinking About – Bruce Springsteen
    Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
    Flathead – the Fratellis
    Let Go – Frou Frou
    Big Love (Live 2005) – Lindsey Buckingham
    How Far We’ve Come – Matchbox Twenty
    Teenagers – My Chemical Romance

    I have to stop there – I have about 500 songs in my ‘Run’ playlist and I just hit shuffle, so I never really know what is coming, and can always skip if not the right fit… is this weird??!

  32. runbei on March 29th, 2011 6:28 pm

    Making my own music works better than anything. Gets me in the moment, which is the secret to enjoying ALL runs. Enjoying each moment is the beginning of the end of crappy runs. I hum, chant, repeat tuneful mantras, sing out loud. Practicing my tenor part for “Three Wise Men,” a Xmas song by my spiritual teacher, REALLY got my endocrine system cracking during a long run.

    ALSO, starting slooooooooowly helps a lot. There’s always a BEST pace for the day. When you do the right thing, you feel great. When you argue with your body, you’re sunk.

  33. Christy on March 29th, 2011 8:09 pm

    I have LOVED so many of the music suggestions you’ve made over the years so I just had to delurk to offer:

    Young Blood – The Naked and The Famous
    Barton Hollow – The Civil Wars
    Uprising – Muse
    Satellite Mind – Metric
    The Weight – Thrice
    I Can Talk – Tourist History
    Backfire – MuteMath
    Rumour Has It – Adele
    Millions – Starfucker
    Drumming Song – Florence + The Machine (really anything from that album)
    I Want Nothing – Kerli

    Happy Running! :)

  34. Penny on March 29th, 2011 8:35 pm

    I’m not a runner, but anything by The Lovehammers can get me motivated to get moving, especially Straight as an Arrow, Hold On, Better Off/Walk Away, and Call of Distress.

  35. Sarah on March 30th, 2011 8:28 am

    Some favorites from my current playlist:

    “All These Things That I’ve Done” The Killers
    “At The Beach” The Avett Brothers
    “Dog Days Are Over” Florence & The Machine
    “Drink Your Whiskey Down” Reckless Kelly
    “I Feel Lucky” Mary Chapin Carpenter
    “Oxford Comma” Vampire Weekend
    “Surrender” Ben Lee
    “Walk of Life” Shooter Jennings
    “Love Struck Baby” Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
    “F!&$ You” Ce Lo Green

    And yes, this list is totally random. :)

  36. Maria on March 31st, 2011 3:00 pm

    I love that The End of the Line so much. What. I had a weird inappropriate crush on every dude in that video when I was TEN. I feel like this somehow influenced my taste in men in a really weird way.


    The ENTIRE Awolnation album is good for running.


    Architecture in Helsinki – Contact High

  37. Maria on March 31st, 2011 3:01 pm

    Oh and Daylight by Matt and Kim.

  38. dee on March 31st, 2011 9:44 pm

    “My Body” – Young the Giant

    That’s a sure-to-get-your-butt-moving song.

    Thanks for this massive collection of tunes. I’m always on the hunt for new music.

  39. Lana on April 1st, 2011 5:38 am

    Hashpipe – Weezer. Hands down my favourite running song.

  40. Kelly on April 1st, 2011 8:15 am

    Although this is days old by now, who could deny a flying unicorn more gas for her tank?

    Trouble Comes Running- Spoon
    What Part of Forever- Cee Lo Green
    Bum Like You- Robyn
    Just Like Zeus- Jenny and Johnny
    Fee Da Da Dee- The Guggenheim Grotto
    If I Ever Feel Better- Phoenix
    The Belle of St. Mark- Sheila E.
    Life in Technicolor- Coldplay
    Let’s Get Out of This Country- Camera Obscura
    Lloyd I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken- C.O.
    If Looks Could Kill- Camera Obscura
    Tall Boy- Har Mar Superstar
    Dead Disco- Metric
    Fun, Fun, Fun- Pharrell

    Hey, could you publish some of your new playlists? THANKS!

  41. Sabrina on April 2nd, 2011 6:00 pm

    Ida Corr : Let Me think about it

    Needs to be on your playlist.

  42. Mallory on April 5th, 2011 10:55 am

    I’ve found Kanye’s newest album to be running magic! Especially Power, All of the Lights, and Lost in the World.
    Neon Tiger – The Killers
    Bloodbuzz Ohio – The National

  43. Sarah on April 5th, 2011 12:05 pm

    My favorite new-to-me band is Volbeat, which has an awesome blend of a little country but mostly really upbeat (at least in terms of rhythm, the lyrics aren’t always “uplifting”, so to speak). Great example: Guitar Gangsters and Cadiallac Blood

  44. Amee on April 13th, 2011 5:11 pm

    I have to have good music to work out, too.

    A couple favorites from the “workout” playlist:

    Uprising – Muse
    I Love to Hate You – Erasure

  45. Adrienne on April 27th, 2011 2:51 pm

    Don’t know if anyone else has already said this – but ditch the ipod and try the Pandora app on your phone. Its the best for working out and gives you a fresh list of music and I always find myself thinking “Damn! I love this song, havent heard it in forever!”

  46. Spinal Tap 11 Meme « Logy Express on March 1st, 2012 5:02 am

    […] but starts real and respectful conversations. I would love to get responses to my questions, like this post where she asked for running song recommendations and got 144 responses. It’s like she has a […]

  47. Turtle Beach Ear Force x41 on September 25th, 2014 9:07 am

    Turtle Beach Ear Force x41…

    Propellant : All & Sundry…

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