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.

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kelly
kelly
11 years ago

Long-time reader, first-time commenter…usually I don’t have much to say (which is why I don’t have a blog). Anyways, I totally feel you on the music while running thing. Currently “The Fire” by The Roots & John Legend saves me when my legs are telling me to fuck off.

Laura
Laura
11 years ago

Totally agree about songs losing their magic. Right now Monster (Kanye et al) is doing it for me.

Kate
Kate
11 years ago

beep beep bee-beep beep beeeeeeeep…I just want to interrupt your iPod music request b/c I’m early on the comment list and I really want you to read this *because* I want to say THANK YOU for mentioning Breaking Bad in a previous post a long time ago. My hubby and I are catching up on Season 3 reruns and it is getting so flippin’ good. so THX!

Now, back to music – Linkin Park’s new stuff is good! But I want to see what other people write. I’m stuck listening to toddler stuff or when I happen to be in my car by myself most days I find that I’ll have been in the car for 30 minutes with NO MUSIC. That’s how much noise is in my head.

I need new out-of-the-box running music too so thanks for posting the request!

Typelittlea
Typelittlea
11 years ago

OK, this is CORNY AS HELL but:

Crazy Train- Ozzy Osbourne
Gotta Fly Now (Theme from Rocky)
Top Gun Theme
Numb- Linkin Park
Boom Boom Pow- Black Eyed Peas
S&M- Rianna
Grenade- Bruno Mars
F’kin Perfect- Pink
Blame It- T-Pain

Christy
Christy
11 years ago

I’m so not and never will be a runner, but these two songs get me motivated and make me kind of want to run… Burn It All Down by VHS or Beta and Destroy Everything You Touch by Ladytron.

Amber
11 years ago

It’s cheesy, but I love it: “Club Can’t Handle Me” by Flo Rida. I’m tempted to say it’s the best running song ever. For me, anyway.

Passion Pit, “Sleepyhead.”

Seconding “Monster” by Kanye! I will last just for the sake of getting to Nicki Minaj’s rap.

Janelle Monae’s “Cold War” is pretty great, too.

Okay, one more. “Something Good Can Work (Twelves Remix)” by Two Door Cinema Club.

Happy running! And thanks for the recommendation of “Hello” — man, that is AWESOME to run to.

jenn
jenn
11 years ago

“Stop It” by Pylon. Heard it in a movie this week and immediately had to go find out what it is and download it. (It came out in 1980… they were playing frat parties in Athens, GA when REM was playing them.)

Jill
11 years ago

Same problem here. I got hooked on listening to NPR podcasts, specifically Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me and This American Life. I really get lost in the stories of TAL, and Wait, Wait makes me bust out laughing, which is funny given the suckage running can be. I’m quite slow, so I don’t miss the driving beat of the music. I find that the podcasts are the perfect length to knock out a good 4-5 miles.

Jen_Ann_W
11 years ago

First, LIBRARY. Sssh, don’t tell the Feds.
Second, I’m not a runner either but I have to have something upbeat on when I clean to drown out the siren song of the couch. Don’t know if the BPM’s are high enough for running on these, but they’re good anyway: The Airborne Toxic Event, Kate Nash (who, BTW, is hysterically funny), The Gaslight Anthem, Circa Survive, the TRON soundtrack (Daft Punk)… but my go-to pump-me-up band will always be Flogging Molly. Nothing like some good Irish get-drunk-and-fight-your-cousin music to get the juices flowin!

Laura
Laura
11 years ago

The Thong Song
Halo by Beyonce
Gangsta’s Paradise
Perfect by Pink
Brown Chicken Brown Cow

gm
gm
11 years ago

First, because I am a PEDANTIC INTERNET LOSER but mainly because I love that song so hard, it’s actually “Furr” by the band Blitzen Trapper. God, so amazing, right?

And second, because I am not just here to push my glasses up the bridge of my nose while mouth-breathing, I have been loving Fabulous (shut up!), particularly “Killen Em” (shut up!) for my runs and walks lately. Peace out, indie cred!

BBB
BBB
11 years ago

Matt & Kim (most of it, but maybe not so much their new album)
Sleigh Bells – it’s all pretty bad ass
Ting Tings – Shut Up & Let Me Go
Girl Talk – is a really good dj remix of popular and classics so many to choose from!
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll & Zero
Cults – Go Outside
M.I.A
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Home

Keep it up! I’m in the same boat, took some serious time off and decided that running really is what does it for me, even though it kicks my ass.

Vince
Vince
11 years ago

My ‘Gotta Get to the End of the Run’ list of 20 minutes worth of audio crack is:

Ok Go – Here it Goes Again
Halo 2 Soundtrack – Mjolnir Mix
Rush – Marathon
Back Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feelin’
Foo Fighters – Learn to Fly

Use only in case of emergency (or waning motivation!) Best of luck!

Aubrey
Aubrey
11 years ago

“Rolling in the Deep” by Adele. I haven’t actually ran to it yet, but every night when I drive home from work it comes on the radio and my legs start itching for a good run.

I also find that some of the bass and drums in Kings of Leon songs make me want to run so fast and so far, too.

mikhat
mikhat
11 years ago

I have to admit that I’ve never contributed before, but love your blog. I’m a sometimes runner, and although it’s old…Im always motivated by “How we operate” by Gomez. I feel myself picking up the speed, and powering through the hills.

Toni
Toni
11 years ago

Galvanize – Chemical Brothers
Planet Earth – Duran Duran
Feel Good Inc – Gorillaz
Uprising – Muse
Check it Out – will.i.am & nicki minaj

Molly
Molly
11 years ago

So…at the risk of everyone falling off their chairs laughing, there are a bunch of songs from my Zumba classes that I also love to run to. And not sure how you feel about Latin music in general – but here are some from my playlist ranging from Latin indie to Latin cheesy or should I say ‘queso-y’ and other random stuff:

Atrevete-te-te – Calle 13
Buena – Bacilos
Jenny Says – Cowboy Mouth
Elena – Bacilos
Hace Calor – Los Rodriguez
La Camisa Negra – Juanes
No Hay Nadie Como Tu – Calle 13
Amor a la Mexicana – Thalia
Whenever, Wherever – Shakira
Bon, Bon – PItbull
Danza Kuduro – Don Omar & Lucenzo
King of Anything – Sara Bareilles
Magalenha – Sergio Mendes
Loca – Shakira

Happy running. It is my sanity these days (that and the 8:30 pm Zumba classes that I can make if we get the kids down right at the official bedtime). Yes – big L on forehead – it’s always there.

Molly

Jill Browning
11 years ago

Atomic – Blondie
Dance (Pt. 1) – Rolling Stones
Hang Fire – Rolling Stones
I Can’t Decide – Scissor Sisters
I Don’t Feel Like Dancing – Scissor Sisters
It’s My Life – No Doubt
Use It Up and Wear It Out – Pat & Nick (remix)

Enjoy!

Tamara
11 years ago

I’m working on a new running playlist myself and I feel like “I Need a Dollar” by Aloe Blacc could be on it, same with “How You Like Me Now” by Heavy. And also, embarassingly enough “Shots” by LMFAO.

Tara
11 years ago

It will sound absolutely crazy to many, and it may only work for me because I run slow, but I run to books on my iPod. I trained for and ran my marathon in 2009 to the Harry Potter series. It helps take my mind off of the tedium, but gives me room to think about my surroundings and run if I want or need to. Also, by listening to books I had already read, I was able to carry on conversations with running buddies and not be bored if I ran alone or the conversation lulled. And if you haven’t read the book, or are invested in the story, having to shut it off when you get home makes you look forward to the next run so you can find out what happens next!

Erin
11 years ago

I’m sure since you are from Seattle you already listen to the KEXP Music That Matters podcasts, right? If not, start downloading them immediately! I’ve found lots of great new music on there. :)

Amy
Amy
11 years ago

Raspberry Beret by Prince
Goodbye to You by The Veronicas
Devil went down to Georgia
Aimie (or however it’s spelled, it’s not spelled AMy like my name)
The wedding song from Father of the Bride (I’m so cultured I can’t remember the real song…maybe Beethoven)
Quiet Dog
Fat Betty
Always a Woman (Billy Joel)
Hollerback Girl (Gwen Stefani I think)

I totally get you what you mean. I have 5 hours worth of songs on my iPod and one week a song is great, the next not so much. I’m pretty sure I run a lot more than I would have if the iPod had not been invented though. I did one marathon and when I did my 15 mile run, I decided to go without music so I could do the race without music. That was the only really bad training run I had. When I ran the marathon, I didn’t change the songs. I just put my playlist on random and let the songs come up as they may. When I came to the last mile, I felt like I was going too fast and thought about slowing down. Then, I decided to wait and see what song came up next….it was Eye of the Tiger. I barfed my brains out for 12 hours after that race, but I didn’t slow down, and I actually enjoyed it…well, until the puking started. It was worth it though.

Amy

Amy
Amy
11 years ago

I love what Aubrey wrote. I try to download any song I hear in my car that makes me drive too fast. I now have an app on my droid, Shazam, that listens to the song and tells me the title. Now I actually know some of the artists of the songs I like too.

Amy

Carey
Carey
11 years ago

Girl Talk. I’ve loaded his two albums on my iPhone and find that he’s mashed two completely opposite songs to keep me going. I find I focus more on the anticipation of what’s coming next than where I am in my run. But I also run intervals (Couch to 5k-er here) so it might be the combo of the music and the change in pace. Thanks for your list though!

Allison
11 years ago

I need a Doctor – Eminem / Dr. Dre, airplanes – b.o.b., be my lover – la bouche, Carry out – Timbaland/Justin Timberlake, I like it – Enrique Iglesias/Pitbull, Raise your glass – Pink, Upside down – J. Pinder, Irish Celebration – Macklemore, winner – Jamie foxx and Justin timberlake/T.I.

Paige
Paige
11 years ago

Awesome…I love foisting my musical tastes on other people!

On the Floor – Jennifer Lopez
Till the World Ends – Britney
Stereo Love – Edward Maya
Rude Boy -Rihanna
Make Light – Passion Pit
Little Sister – Queens of the Stone Age
Black & Yellow – Wiz Kalifa
What the Hell – Avril Lavigne
Have a Cigar – Pink Floyd
Triskaidekaphobia – Shooter Jennings
I Drive a Lot – Starflyer 59
Adagio for Strings – Tiesto
Lloyd I’m Ready to be Heartbroken – Camera Obscura (they have another “If Looks Could Kill” that’s also great)
Versus – Ladytron (the entire Velocifero album is damn good for running)

Ness at Drovers Run
11 years ago

My favourite song is “Meditation – Celtic Trance, by Clannad” its always the first song on my ‘move your ass’ play list. The first 42 seconds are for when you’re still going out the front gate, straightening yourself up, and picking a direction. Then bang on 42 seconds, it heats up and provides the most awesome rythymn for the next 9 minutes. *Love it*!

Erin
11 years ago

I’ve mostly been listening to Geek Comedy music lately so I’m probably not a whole lot of help but I do have a money saving recommendation! Rhapsody! Rhapsody has an “on the go” thing that lets you download songs into your iphone or ipod (or whatever) for like fifteen mucks a month and they have just about everything you’d want to listen to or download. That way you can switch between songs without having to worry about wasting money. I use it to test out music before I buy the songs on iTunes. It has saved me probably thousands of “aw I wish I hadn’t bought that” dollars.

Kyla
Kyla
11 years ago

As heard on KEXP often these days – but so good and catchy- Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People. Love!

Kathy
Kathy
11 years ago

Filter – The Only Way (Is the Wrong Way) is my guaranteed hit-the-pavement running song.

I also kind of get off on Tatu’s cover of How Soon Is Now. Shh. Don’t judge.

Phoebe
Phoebe
11 years ago

First time commenter with songs that make me feel like dancing while running:
Dancing on My Own – Robyn
Anyway – Duck Sauce
Get Shaky – The Ian Carey Project
When Love Takes Over – David Guetta and Kelly Rowland

Lizzie
Lizzie
11 years ago

Pink’s Raise Your Glass is my current favourite get up and move song. Impossible to listen to without feeling energised and smiley.

Fiona
Fiona
11 years ago

Oh my, you described my run of yesterday! I had forgotten to charge up my iPod and so was running to Scottish provincial radio instead.

Music – at the moment my 2 faves are:

Adele – particularly “Rolling in the Deep”

Imelda May – Irish singer, very catchy.

Fiona

J
J
11 years ago

The Sirius App. If variety is what you want this is an option. And I think there is a way to mark songs you would like to track and if you would like to purchase.

Marina
11 years ago

Cheryl Cole – Fight For This Love, Promise This (or the remixes if you need a slightly stronger bass).

T.A.T.u – Robot (but I think most of their songs are good for workouts).

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
11 years ago
lindsay
lindsay
11 years ago

i’m selfishly so glad you are talking about running again. lady ga ga works for me…hardly original, I know.

AndreAnna
11 years ago

I see you already have some Broken Bells on there which was going to be my main suggestion, but my current two favorites that make me push when I wanna give up are:

Keep Runnin – Taio Cruz
Kick Ass – Mika

Of course, I love Girl Talk but someone said that already! Oh also, the Gossip! Their first album is great. Angry, great lyrics and beats. Great for running.

God, I cant wait for this surgery thing to heal and the weather to get nice. I am a pasty ghost of a human after being trapped in this house in an Iowan winter, recovering. I’m teetering, here.

Emily WK
Emily WK
11 years ago

My all-time “I need to power through this and just get to the end” jam is “Painkiller” by Judas Priest.

Second to that is “Break Ya Neck” by Busta Rhymes.

Both are super high intensity power jams that will totally do the work of getting your brain into it. And Painkiller is about a robot that comes to save humanity from itself! That is so awesome.

Elaine
Elaine
11 years ago

I’m pretty big on electronic and techno as a general rule so take these few suggestions with that thought in mind. These have really good back beats. And yes I know Ke$ha is annoying but this fucking song is perfect for exercise.

Blow by Ke$ha
Take over Control by Afrojack
Sanctuary by Gareth Emory
Hang on (digital dog remix) – Plumb
Black and Yellow – Wiz Khalifa

I would say of that list Take Over Control and Blow are probably the best but the others are perfect for exercise most especially running.

Elaine
Elaine
11 years ago

Paige, your list rocks. I love Adagio for Strings. Honestly almost anything by Tiesto is incredible.

Meagan
11 years ago

Several of the songs from Panic! At the Disco could be good for running… Maybe some of Nelly McKay too, like “inner peace” or “It’s a Pose.”

I’ve got my own musical challenge right now… first child is due to be born June 11… finding calming relax music for labor is easy, but I’m thinking about the pushing phase. I’d like fast, aggressive music to raise addrenaline, I’m thinking almost heavy metal type music. The challenge is finding that type of music WITHOUT angry distructive kill kill kill lyrics. So far the best I’ve been able to come up with is Japanese drum music. Any other suggestions?

Jay
Jay
11 years ago

Use Pandora internet radio. It’s occasionally a little random (Elvis in a techno/pop channel?) but usually good. Bennassi Bros, Tiesto, Morgan Page, OceanLab

Janet in Miami
Janet in Miami
11 years ago

Add in:

The Dog Days are Over – Florence and the Machine

Use Somebody – Kings of Leon

Pam
Pam
11 years ago

Chely Wright – Damn Liar Remix
http://www.myspace.com/45525472/music/songs/80717983

Josie
11 years ago

A local (minneapolis)hip hop artist’s song I CANNOT STOP LISTENING TO AND/OR SHAKING MY BOOTY is:

Sims LMG (Love my girl)

Also:

Aquaduct- Heart Design (Seattle artist)

Dessa- Dixon’s girl

Kanye+Bon Iver- Lost in the World

Atmosphere- Sunshine

Olympic Hopefuls- Let’s Go

Kid Cudi- pursuit of happiness

These are all songs that I seriously can’t get enough of, so they should give you an extra run or two before they get skipped :)

Mary O
Mary O
11 years ago

I believe deeply in the power of pop music while running. These are not songs I would typically listen to in other circumstances, but for pounding the pavement they have the perfect beats:

Till the World Ends- Britney Spears
Born this Way- Lady Gaga
S&M-Rihanna
What the Hell- Avril Lavigne
Love you Long Time- Black Eyed Peas
Blow- Kesha
More- Usher
1983- Neon Trees
Grow a Pear- Kesha
ET- Katy Perry
Letting Go- Sean Kingston
Dynamite- Taio Cruz
Higher- Taio Cruz
Last Friday Night- Katy Perry

I love your tips for making a sucky run better! I will definitely be using those in the future.

Lori O
11 years ago

My favorite motivating workout song lately is Diamond Eyes by Shinedown. Also good is When They Come for Me by Linkin Park.

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