To The Beat of Your Own Drum: Pump Up Playlists for Your Next Five-Mile Run


No one can deny the immense power of music. When that nostalgic tune from your childhood fills your ears, do you find yourself day dreaming about your past?  When your favorite song comes on the radio on your way to work, do you get a boost of energy?  Music is a form of expression unlike any other that I have encountered in this lifetime, and it can instill such strong emotions in its listeners, no matter what the genre.  Music is so influential, in fact, that it can increase your energy during a workout and motivate you to carry on.  One of the best uses of music while working out is in running, especially for long distances, when the mind has a tendency to wander and potentially lose momentum.  And we all know that running is at least half mental, right?  Here are some interesting findings pertaining to running with music, and some song suggestions from local runners.

This January, an article was published by Dr. Jeanette Bicknell on Psychology Today regarding music and its power in exercising.  Dr. Bicknell highlights that music can increase arousal and improve performance before and during a workout.  She also explains that listening to music while working out can lesson subjective perception of fatigue, increase physical capacity, and influence mood.

Another study found that the pace of our workout is affected by the tempo of the songs we are listening to.  Therefore, if you want to increase your energy and maybe run a little faster, pick your favorite upbeat songs that make you feel good!  For more information about the benefits of listening to music during exercise, see Music and Exercise: A Love Story, written by our very own Alex Loria.

Here are some playlists from local runners and their explanations for why they listen to the songs they chose.  Hopefully, you’ll discover some new music in their selections, or maybe you’ll be inspired to create a playlist of your own.

Delaney’s Top 40 Mix

This mix is comprised of a lot of songs you might hear during a night on the town, or when you turn in to your local hit radio station.  From Rihanna to Usher, this playlist is designed to make you feel oh-so-good and get you in the mindset to sweat! *Beware: many of these songs are very catchy!!*

1. Remember The Name – Fort Minor

2. United State of Pop 2012 Shine Brighter – DJ Earworm

3. Turn Up the Love – Far East Movemen

4. Right Now – Rihanna Ft. David Guetta

5. Fast Car – Taio Cruz

6. Wild Ones – Flo Rida ft Sia

7. The Fighter – Gym Class Heros ft Ryan Tedder

8. We Found Love – Rihanna ft Calvin Harris

9. So Good – B.o.B

10. Bottoms Up – Keke Palmer

11. Numb – Usher

12. I’m On Fire – 3rddy Baby

“As a runner it is really important to me to have a great playlist full of songs that motivate me. There is nothing better than when a song gives you that extra burst of energy to push you to run past your comfort zone.” – Delaney Mann

Luc’s Female Powerhouse Mix

Watch out, because like the strong female artists it features, this powerhouse playlist packs a punch! I can’t think of any better way to start and end a run with my two favorite female artists, Gaga and Beyonce.  Who run the world? Girls! (and guys!)

1. Judas – Lady GaGa

2. I Knew You Were Trouble – Taylor Swift

3. Give Me All Your Luvin’ – Madonna feat. Nicki Minaj

4. Overprotected – Britney Spears

5. Danza Kuduro – Don Omar

6. High School – Nicki Minaj feat. Lil Wayne

7. Toy Soldier – Britney Spears

8. Up ‘N’ Down – Britney Spears

9. Scheiße – Lady GaGa

10. Deja Vu – Beyoncé 

“For a five-mile run, I like to keep my music up-tempo and positive. Songs by Lady GaGa, Britney Spears, and Beyoncé are running playlist favorites of mine. The effortless confidence embodied by their lyrics, backed by music that makes me want to dance, fuels my mind and body while providing an exciting escape from the fact that all I’m doing is running around in circles.” – Luc Landeis

Robert’s Hardcore Playlist

This playlist is for headbangers and really energetic, hardcore rock fans who needs some heavy tunes to keep them on track.  *Caution: do not actually head-bang while running, serious injury may occur*  Feel free to go crazy when you’re done, though!

1. Testify – Rage Against The Machine

2. Image Of The Invisible – Thrice

3. Hey, It’s Your Funeral Mama – Alexisonfire

4. How I Feel – La Dispute

5. Pattern Against User – At the drive-In

6. The Archers Bows Have Broken – Brand New

7. Kaleidoscope – Balance and Composure

8. Face On Fire – Able Baker Fox

9. Hexagram – Every Time I Die

10. No One Knows – Queens of the Stone Age

11. Pathfinder – Touché Amoré

“I chose these songs because I feel that the driving, heavy drum beats keep me on pace when I’m running. For me, the heavier the music, the harder I will push myself. When I create a playlist to run to I like to keep the last song short, so I know to push myself right up to the end.” – Robert Wojtkiewicz

Leah’s Hodgepodge Mix

Leah’s mix is a wonderful array of genres, from techno to pop to indie rock.  If you’d like a sample of what kind of energy multiple genres have to offer you and your workout, this playlist is for you!

1. Untrust Us – Crystal Castles

2. Born this Way – Lady Gaga

3. Cannibal – Ke$ha

4. Doors Unlocked and Open – Death Cab for Cutie

5. Sun Hands – Local Natives

6. Hang Me Out to Dry – Cold War Kids

7. The Cave – Mumford & Sons

8. Give It All – Rise Against

9. Timebomb – Beck

10. In Search Of – Miike Snow

12. Slow Jamz – Kanye West

13. No Interruption – Hoodie Allen

“Five mile runs are somewhat long. It is always good for me to start off with something fast and upbeat, which is good for the first mile or so. After some time, I calm down and am able to listen to slower songs. This is the part of the run in which I love to think about life and all it’s wonders. Toward the end of the run, I start to get tired, so I listen to more upbeat music again to inspire me” – Leah Russell

Nika’s Techno Mix

If you’re like Nika, and sing along to the words when you sing, perhaps you’d prefer something with little to no lyrical content.  If so, dubstep is for you! This techno and dubstep mix drives you forward with its intense beats and fast tempos.

1. I’m Not Alone (Doorly Dubstep Remix) – Calvin Harris

2. Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Charlie P

3. Bulletproof (La Roux Dubstep) – Chrispy

4. Bonkers (Doorly Dubstep Remix) – Dizzee Rascal & Armand Van Helden

5. Gold Dust (Flux Pavilion Remix)

6. Volcano (Zeds Dead Remix) – Dragonette

7.Forever (Nero Remix) – Nero

8. Requiem For A Dream (Remix)

9. Starry Eyed (Jakwob Remix) – Ellie Goulding

10. Swagga – Excision & Datsik

11. Deviance – Excision & Datsik

12. LA Love (Zeds Dead Remix) – French Soler

13. The Pretender – Foo Fighters (Zeds Dead Remix)

14. Cracks (Flux Pavilion Remix)

“I listen to techno when I run because it keeps my energy up and I tend to run with the bass of it. I don’t like listening to top 40s because then I would sing along and get distracted. I sometimes listen to rap, but I like techno because it has more musical components. Studies have shown that faster music results in a faster pace for runners and in my experience that’s very true! It also helps wake me up, because I usually run very early in the morning.” – Nika Burnett

Megan’s Classic and Modern Rock Playlist

This is a playlist for those of you who get a little pep in your step when listening to classic rock. The more modern additions, such as Wolfmother’s “Vagabond” and “Joker & The Thief” (featured in 500 Days of Summer and The Hangover, respectively) are my favorite to run to and give me the power to propel forward, but theres nothing like a little CCR and Rolling Stones to get you amped and ready to go.  Although this playlist starts out slow, it gains some momentum – just like I do – throughout the run.  And of course, what good classic rock playlist wouldn’t end with “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” by Queen?

1. I Want to Break Free – Queen

2. Vagabond – Wolfmother

3. All Along the Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix

4. Freedom – Jimi Hendrix

5. Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival

6. Jumping Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones

7. Strange Times – Black Keys

8. Paranoid – Black Sabbath

9. Crazy on You – Heart

10. Surrender – Cheap Trick

11. Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac

12. We Will Rock You / We Are the Champions – Queen

I wish you the best of luck in choosing your five-mile playlist.  There is a plethora of good music available everywhere you look, but remember to pick a genre that has an upbeat tempo and puts a spring in your step.  Also, be daring and try something new; you never know what musical musings you may enjoy on your run if you branch out and run to the beat of someone else’s drum for a change.  Happy running!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)