Running 101: 5 Awesome Songs for Running


You just got off work. Or maybe you just woke up, perhaps so early that it’s still dark outside. Either way, you’re tired. You don’t feel like working out. But you are determined to live a healthy lifestyle, so you force yourself to step onto the treadmill, onto the walking track, onto the trail. You slip a pair of ear buds into your ears and pull up your favorite playlist on your MP3 player. The music starts. You begin to move. You are sluggish at first, but you awaken as the music permeates your skull. Your footfalls match the beat of the song. The music propels you forward, and you feel a surge of energy. You feel light. Free. Even giddy. You are running, and you are loving it.

What happened? The music.

That’s what helps me, anyway. More than anything. First, it’s a distraction from my shortness of breath and the pain in my shins. Second, focusing on the inspirational lyrics of certain songs is the equivalent of having a personal trainer inside my head. And third, listening to eerie soundtrack music while running alone in the dark is the perfect thing to get that heart rate up and make you go faster.

Here are five of my favorite, most inspirational running songs that are guaranteed to help you get moving when you’d rather be snoozing beneath your cozy covers or sprawled across the couch with a bag of Doritos. In no particular order:

1) “Never Going Back to OK” – The Afters


THE song for someone who used to be a fat, lazy, couch potato and is determined to change and never go back. Pretty much my anthem.

Best Lines: “I feel alive and it hurts for a change/And looking back and it's hard to believe/That I was cool with the days that I wasted complacent and tasteless and bored/But that was yesterday”

2) “Let’s Go” – Calvin Harris


I have a hard time believing this song was not written about running. It’s about as “get-up-and-go”-ish as a song can be. And it’s also all about putting your past behind you and moving forward.

Best Lines: “Let’s go/Make no excuses now/I’m talking here and now/I’m talking here and now/Let’s go/Your time is running out/I’m talking here and now/I’m talking here and now”

3) “Lose Yourself” – Eminem


The clean, edited version!!! This one’s sure to get you pumped up. It builds, it’s got the ultimate carpe diem (or YOLO, as the kids say these days) message, and well, it’s all around pretty bad-butt.

Best Lines: “You better lose yourself in the music, the moment/You own it, you better never let it go/You only get one shot, do not miss your chance and blow/This opportunity comes once in a lifetime”

4) “The War Inside” – Switchfoot


I love this one because it’s about internal battles, about making the choice every day to fight. I put it toward the end of my playlist for when I’m getting tired and ready to quit. When every step becomes a painful struggle, and I have to fight my negative thoughts or my tired calves to keep going, this song helps me find the strength to push through it.

Best Lines: I am the war inside/I am the battle line/I am the rising tide/I am the war I fight”

5) “Burn For You” – TobyMac


I’m starting to see a pattern here. This catchy ditty is about being transformed into a new person. It’s a spiritual story, but the parallels here are obvious. The entire chorus is just so amazingly perfect for a good run.

Best Lines:  “I feel revived again/I am alive again/ You got me lifted and lifted you lift me up/I feel revived again/ I'm energized again/You got me lifted and lifted you lift me up”

NERD BONUS:

6) “An Awful Lot of Running” – Chameleon Circuit


I’m not ashamed to say that the Doctor Who theme song (and er, maybe even a couple of different versions of it, plus “I Am The Doctor” in all of its glorious epicness. You mean everyone doesn't pretend they're being chased by Daleks when they run?) is on my running playlist. But it gets even worse better! The London-based Whovian band Chameleon Circuit has some pretty sweet Who-related songs, and this one is the perfect one to run to. Especially for those of us who are secretly training to be the Doctor’s next companion. Allons-y!

Best Lines: “So many places I've been/There's so much more to see/We've got galaxies and planets and moons/And an awful lot of running to do”

Haters gonna hate.

7) The Walking Dead Main Theme”



This is a great example of what I was talking about when I mentioned eerie soundtrack music that will quicken your heartbeat. As you jog along listening to this, just imagine a horde of flesh-eating zombies on your tail. And if you’re listening to this alone and in the dark, it’s easy to do!

What songs get you moving? Share your favorites in the comments. 

1 comment

Lacey said...

As you know, I am currently slowly becoming obsessed with exercising and running. So I wanted to go back through some of your running posts to get some inspiration! (You just inspire me, what can I say?). I think I need to incorporate more purposeful music selections into my running sessions, because I usually am in a hurry and just press "Play All" and often get a really odd, random selection of worship, country, or classical. Not necessarily the best for running to, lol. I have only heard the Switchfoot song you listed (LOVE IT) so I fully intend to check out the rest of these later and start building a playlist. I've heard Pandora has some good work out stations as well. Have you tried any of them?