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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11 years ago

Hey, I totally agree with you on the music thing….here are a few that help me!

Pumped Up Kicks-Foster The People
An Honest Mistake-The Bravery
Gamma Ray-Beck
Nothing(Headcleaner Rock Mix)-Depeche Mode
Higher-Taio Cruz
All You Need Is Now and Nice-Duran Duran
E.T.-Katie Perry
Discipline-Nine Inch Nails
Tarantula-Smashing Pumpkins
Army Of Me-Bjork
On The Floor-J.Lo….I know, right?
Pts. Of Athrty-Linkin Park
Airplanes/DJ Frank E. remix-B.O.B.
Dirty Laundry-Bittersweet

11 years ago

My favorite
“Fuck the world…I’m running” album is Andrew W K’s I Get Wet album…every song holds up for a great workout.

11 years ago

Obviously these things are subjective, but I really like, Fitz and the Tantrums, “Money Grabber”… I like to imagine me singing it to my MIL, who has entered our lives after running out of inheritance money….

Also, Cee Lo’s “Forget You” or “F— You” (which I prefer)if you aren’t sick of it already.

11 years ago

This comes at the BEST time for me. I never comment here but I just quit a planned hour run after 30 mins, feeling like a loser. Thank you! I am going to check these out, and remind myself that sometimes even LINDA has a bad run. :)

11 years ago

i get music from the library, which helps keep my costs down!

11 years ago

Try something with drums.

11 years ago

“C’mon (Catch ‘Em by Surprise)” by Tiesto (feat Busta Rhymes). It’s a hard, fast beat and Busta knows how to amp the energy. :) Gotta check it out!

Carrie (in MN)
Carrie (in MN)
11 years ago

Jay – I was just about to ask if anyone had tried using Pandora for running music.

This is embarassing but I find Michelle Shocked’s Captain Swing disc has several good keep on running songs.

11 years ago

These have been making me run faster lately…

Intro The XX
Steady as She Goes The Raconteurs
Coma Girl Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros
Triumph Wu-Tang Clan
Palaces of Montezuma Grinderman

11 years ago

i know this sounds crazy, but my boyfriend is a big runner and he always puts a podcast of some sort on his ipod. he says listening to non-music helps his mind wander and he forgets that he’s running, his body just sort of takes over.

11 years ago

Pick Up the Phone – Dragonette
Fire with Fire – Scissor Sisters
Someday Baby – R. L. Burnside
This Too Shall Pass – OK Go
Something Good Can Work – Two Door Cinema Club
We Are Golden – Mika
One Day – The Juan MacLean
Body and Soul – Tori Amos
In My Soul – Tavish Graham
Voodoo Child – Rogue Traders
Cecilia – Simon & Garfunkel
Shine – Cyndi Lauper
Shimmy Low – The Clarks

There’s a lot more on my “exercise” playlist but I don’t want to leave a years-long comment!

11 years ago

“Evacuate the dancefloor” by Cascada. That’s all I got for now.. haven’t listened to music in months..

11 years ago

Here’s my current jogging playlist (in no particular order):

Clumsy – Fergie
Hot N Cold – Katy Perry
Falling Down – Atreyu
Poker Face – Lady GaGa
Beautiful, Dirty, Rich – Lady GaGa
Run This Town – Jay-Z
Magic (feat. Rivers Cuomo) – B.o.B
Live Your Life – T.I.
Last Good Kiss – Last Train Home
So Happy I Could Die – Lady GaGa
Down By the Water – The Decemberists
Say Hey – Michael Franti & Spearhead
Gettin’ Over You – David Guetta & Chris Willis
California Gurls (feat. Snoop Dogg) – Katy Perry
Ridin With the Radio – Crystal Bowersox
Hot Revolver – Lil Wayne
One of the Boys – Katy Perry
Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say) – Lady GaGa
Better Day – Saving Jane
Airplanes (feat. Hayley Williams) – B.o.B
The Fame – Lady GaGa
Paper Gangsta – Lady GaGa
Accidentally In Love – Counting Crows
Pocketful of Sunshine – Natasha Bedingfield
On the Run – Crystal Bowersox
Stuck Like Glue – Sugarland
Firework – Katy Perry
Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) – Shakira
Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z
Goodbye – Kristinia DeBarge
Be OK – Ingrid Michaelson
All I Need – Natasha Bedingfield
Strip Me – Natasha Bedingfield
Rolling In The Deep – Adele

11 years ago

Silent Shout by The Knife. They have a few great running songs but Silent Shout is incredible.

11 years ago

Sleigh Bells, basically the entirety of the Treats album. The sequence of the first four songs makes me go CRAZY. In an awesome way.

11 years ago

I can’t get over how many of those songs either are or were on my own running list. I’ll add two artists. Jonsi and Robyn. Different but way runnable.

11 years ago

Anything by David Guetta- I’m partial to “On the Dance Floor”, “Toyfriend” and of course “Sexy Bitch” which really helps to propel me when I feel like I am done. I also love any Lady Gaga and “Smack My Bitch Up” by Prodigy. The soundtracks to the movie “Cool World”, “Strange Days” and “The Fifth Element” are awesome as well.

11 years ago

Oh man Laura reminded me that movie soundtracks can be totally awesome too. I love love love the Swordfish soundtrack to exercise to.

11 years ago

The one that always gives me my second wind is “When the Sun’s Out” by James Maddock.

My husband heard it randomly on the radio last year, liked it, and downloaded it. Somehow it ended up on my iPod and it is now my favorite song to run to. It has the perfect beat, and there is something about it that makes running feel almost exhilerating (instead of the usual torture.)

As always, thanks for sharing your list!

11 years ago

While I am slightly embarrassed by this list, these are the tunes that are helping me get my run on while New England weather flat out refuses to move toward spring:

E.T. – Katy Perry (the version with Kanye, even though I think he’s a giant DB)
The Pretender – Foo Fighters
Blow – Ke$ha
Take It Off – Ke$ha
Who’s that Chick? – David Guetta, featuring Rihanna
Hey Baby, Drop it to the floor – Pitbull, featuring T-Pain
More – Usher
Hold it Against Me – Britney Spears
Till the World Ends – Britney Spears
Sing – My Chemical Romance
Dynamite – Taio Cruz
Like a G6 – Far East Movement
Little Lion Man – Mumford & Sons
The Cave – Mumford & Sons

P.S. Psyched to read thru the comments to get new suggestions. I completely agree that downloading new running tunes is necessary for my running sanity.

11 years ago

X-Amount of Words, Amnesia, Independently Happy, Dirt Room all by Blue October.

11 years ago

David Guetta
DJ Christyle
WNYC Radiolab podcasts

I second the suggestions for David Guetta, in fact the whole album “One Love”. Some of the collaborations can get a little diva-voicey, but if you don’t have a million years to listen to everyone’s suggestions before deciding go/no go, then I say just get the whole album. Most of it will be great for running.

Also, if you can find anything by DJ Christyle, download it. I have one of his compilations that is about an hour of music and it has seen me through tons of runs.

11 years ago

Electric Six…my favorites by them for running are “Gay Bar” and “Danger! High Voltage”

Ally Norris
11 years ago

Right now, I’m listening to Girl Talk’s “All Day” for the entirety of my running playlist. The tempo is consistent while the songs are varied enough to stay interesting. Fantastic. Been using it two weeks and it hasn’t worn off yet.

11 years ago

LCD Soundsystem and Daft Punk get me through pretty much every race. That, and “High Roller” by Crystal Method and “We Are Rockstars” by Does It Offend You, Yeah?

11 years ago

I’m trying to get back into running after about a year-long break, so I’m really glad to see your list and all these suggestions. For my contribution, how about some Yaz? “Situation,” “Don’t Go,” and “Bring Your Love Down” are all great for some upbeat 80s throwbacks.

11 years ago

Just heard two industrial covers of pop songs that might do the trick:

– Gaga’s Bad Romance covered by Psyborg Corp

– Timberlake’s Sexyback covered by Faderhead

11 years ago

I like entire Albums:
Robyn’s newest
Adele ’21’
Crazy Heart Soundtrack
New Britney album
Linkin Park Meteora

The Robyn & Adele albums I used on my long run this week and LOVED them.

11 years ago

I don’t run (or generally comment) but since I’m so lovin’ the suggestions in here, I feel like I should throw out a couple of my own from my gym playlist that at least boost me on my “climbs to nowhere” on the cardio machines…

There’s No Other Way – Blur
The Distance – Cake
Everything to Everyone – Everclear
The Last Time Again – Lit
Latest Heartbreak – 22-20’s

11 years ago

Ran a half-marathon this morning, and I FORGOT MY DAMN ipod!!! It sucked.

11 years ago

I’m currently attempting to run, it’s more like a slow painful half jog/half walk with a very sad limp all while pushing a stroller and dragging a 3 year old… On my playlist when I manage to get out alone to hobble around the neighborhood are my following favorite songs which I am certain red flag my age – hope you enjoy a few of them!

Bloudhound Gang – The Bad Touchl & Fire Water Burn
The Flys – Got You Where I Want You
All American Rejects – Gives You Hell
Bush – Synapse (the remix version)
Lo Fidelity Allstars – Battleflag **BEST SONG TO RUN TO FOR ME**
Talk – Coldplay
The Cure – The Walk
Jealous Sound – Hope For Us & Guard It Closely
Langhorne Slim – Checking Out
MGMT – Kids
Travis – Sing
Violent Femmes Best Of
Johnny Cash Best Of
Soundtrack to Good Will Hunting (very good)
Soundtrack to Garden State
Crystal Method – Comin’ Back
Fatboy Slim – Weapon of Choice
Sneaker Pimps – Six Underground
Chingy – Balla Baby
TI – What You Know
Jay Z – 99 Problems
Jay Z – My 1st Song
Pete Rock & CL Smooth – I Reminisce
Kanye West – Gold Digger
Rick Ross – Hustlin remix
Snoop – Drop It’s Like It’s Hot
Busta Rhymes – I love My Bitch
JLo – Get Right (I KNOW I KNOW, but good song to run to)

11 years ago

so, i just made a new running list the other day. i have some chunks of albums and some singular songs. but it definitely amped up my runs these past few weeks. some are new downloads and some are old standbys that are making a repeat appearance in my rotation. new music = new energy, i suppose.

ra ra riot: the orchard (download now, thank me later. can NOT recommend this band enough. fantastic.)
two door cinema club: tourist history
bloc party: silent alarm
vampire weekend: contra
foo fighters: great hits (everlong has been one of my standby running songs for YEARS.)
the bravery: the bravery
stars: five ghosts and the seance (such a great band)
phoenix: wolfgang amadeus phoenix
weezer: ratitude
florence + the machine: lungs
panic! at the disco: a fever you cant sweat out AND pretty. odd.
mgmt: oracular spectacular
dashboard confessional: dusk and summer

missy elliott: pass that dutch
los campesinos!: you! me! dancing! (this is the song on the budweiser commercials! starts out slow but really gets me going to start out!)
jay-z feat alicia keys: empire state of mind
bruce springsteen: born to run
arcade fire: neighborhood #1 (tunnels) [i LOVE arcade fire, but find most of their stuff too slow for running]
matchbox 20: how far weve come
spoon: the underdog
green day: holiday
interpol: PDA
kings of leon: sex on fire
death cab for cutie: title and registration (also LOVE, but also mostly too slow for running)

and just for good measure, not necessarily runable music but loving at the moment:

the civil wars: barton hollow
adele: 21
gregory alan isakov: this empty northern hemisphere
fistful of mercy: as i call you down
broken bells: broken bells

11 years ago

holy hell LONGEST COMMENT EVER. sorry, i love music…

11 years ago

Alanis Morisette – Citizen of the Planet
Alanis Morisette – Straightjacket
The Tragically Hip – I’ll Believe In You

11 years ago

Must second (third? fourth?) great trance DJs like Tiesto. Starry Eyed Surprise is an old fave. The song from the roller skatin’ Diet Coke commercial? classic.
Cascade’s Evacuate the Dance Floor – that’s also in a commercial right now… hmmm.
Another classic trance, Sandstorm by Darude.

11 years ago

I download the podcast of Above and Beyond : Trance Around the World ( week and that usually is a nice break from running mixes. Best dance music since my ’92 mixes.

11 years ago

Hm, I’m old but also generally like fast poppy music – but also? Girl power songs. Recommend:

Martina McBride – This One’s for the Girls
Train – Hey Soul Sister
Ini Kamoze – Here comes the Hotstepper
Destiny’s Child – Lose my Breath

11 years ago

Two from the Deftones:



Rocket Skates

Ugh I hate running…music makes it only slightly better…

11 years ago

holy crap this thread is awesome.

I only see one Florence + Machine on your list – add Dog Days Are Over – the chorus goes “Run for your mother run for your father and your sisters and your brothers…”!

Kiss with a Fist is a good angry song too – a little violent but good to rock out to.

I also am a little in love with Kate Nash and her angry self – Foundations is good.

11 years ago

I love this post. I think I’ll spend some of my birthday money on iTunes downloads.

As for my running motivation – I’m a huge fan of old school White Zombie and find that anything on Supersexy Swingin’ Sounds is good to get the blood flowing. I also like Be My Thrill by The Weepies as a pick-me-up.

11 years ago

Here are my favorites from my running list. I have to add more songs to mine so I have enough to get me through 26 miles…My first marathon is on 5/1 (I emailed you for the training plan you used, and that extra nudge of encouragement to register!)

Thrash Unreal – Against Me!
Swing, Swing – the All-American Rejects
Hallucinations – Angels & Airwaves
Friends – Band of Skulls
All I Want Is You – Barry Louis Polisar (the opening song from Juno…it always makes me perk up and trot along when I’m feeling lethargic)
Feeling This – Blink 182
The Sound of Settling – Death Cab for Cutie
Pumped Up Kicks – Foster the People (already mentioned)
Chelsea Dagger – the Fratellis
Bang Pop – Free Energy (catchy, poppy song…the ones I like best for running!)
Heartbeat Song – the Futureheads (ditto)
Song Away – Hockey
Out of the Blue – Julian Casablancas
Feelin’ Alright – Len
Float On – Modest Mouse
Yeah Yeah Yeah – New Politics
Gigantic – Reel Big Fish (Pixies cover)
A-Punk – Vampire Weekend
Quiet Little Voices – We Were Promised Jetpacks
California On My Mind – Wild Light

Glad you’re back on the horse…good luck!

11 years ago

Also: My Body – Young the Giant

11 years ago

American Boy: Estelle & Kanye
OMG: Usher
White Stripes: Hotel Yorba

11 years ago

Jogging Gorgeous Summer & Rough Gem, both by Islands. They are my home stretch songs.

11 years ago

I was just thinking that I needed to retool my ipod something serious. Perfect timing! I don’t have any suggestions but THANK YOU Linda and everyone else for your awesome recommendations.

11 years ago

The album wasn’t so hot (except “Box Full of Honey” is a sweet tune), but I find this song to be a motivator, which you’ll figure out when you hear it. I swear someone wrote it while they were out for a jog!

“The Valley” by Duran Duran

Anything fast by Garbage – the angrier the better.

But I’m a dedicated 80s girl, so just about anything fun from that decade will get me moving. Def Leppard, JGeils, Depeche, INXS, Missing Persons, Cyndi Lauper, etc.

And dance mixes were all the rage, so you should be able to find extended versions of a lot of stuff out there somewhere!

11 years ago

Heart of a Champion – Nelly
Shots – LMFAO feat. Lil John
Club Can’t Handle Me – Flo Rida
and of course: Whip My Hair – Willow Smith

11 years ago

I have to have a certain number of bpm to get the running on – definitely NOT a fan of the running. With that said, these songs consistently make a non-runner person want to bust it out:

Whoever said Daft Punk – YES. I am dorky and love Technologic. LOVE it when that bass line kicks in.

Rob Zombie: a few songs from the Educated Horses album: Foxy Foxy, American Witch, and The Scorpion Sleeps.

But older Rob Zombie too:

Never Gonna Stop – Rob Zombie
Dragula – Rob Zombie
Living Dead Girl – Rob Zombie

Du Hast – Rammstein

Seconding the “Don’t Feel Like Dancing” by the Scissor Sisters. Love it.

Another interesting group that hales from Australia – Shiny Toy Guns. Really super good running songs:

Le Disko and Voodoo Child are my favorites.

Loser – Eminem (this is my workout theme song. The one I play when I am digging into the reserve tank.)

King Nothing – Metallica

She’s Crafty – Beastie Boys

11 years ago

March Fourth. I love this Portland band, tons of energy, lots of drums, crazy brass. Their album “Rise Up” is my favorite running soundtrack (lasts just about a 10K for me), and their first album “March Fourth” is also good.

11 years ago

Every time I hear a song by Rapture on XM radio it reminds me of an aerobics class (in a good way). I think it would fit what you’re looking for!z