The Importance of a Good Running Playlist (Or, Creating Your Own Personal Training Montage)

If you’ve been out for a run recently, you know it’s hard not to feel alive when you’re going full out down a road on foot. But life without a soundtrack is only half as good as a life set to music.

Music gives you that extra burst of energy when you’re starting to feel out of breath. It colors the sights and other sounds and feelings of running. It complements your inner narrative: whether you’re feeling like a badass or just struggling to make it through your course. It can make running feel epic and adventurous, done right.

But to get all that, you’re going to need a good running playlist. Creating your own montage is one of the joys of getting into running.

Some days that montage is going to be a bit more lighthearted. Enthusiastic pop music is great for this. I’m a big fan of Shakira’s “Try Everything.” Yes, I admit it. If it works for Officer Judy Hops (Didn’t you see Zootopia?) it works for me.

I also have tracks suited more to challenge and inspire me to put in the work. I go to film scores for this. Some are obvious choices. Added today: Vangelis’s “Chariots of Fire” theme.

Everyone has their own way of creating their own montage. Some people like hip-hop. Some people love a good rollicking 80s rock playlist (party on, dude). With Top Gun 2 on the horizon, I expect some Top Gun tracks might make their way into my running playlist for a bit.

Whatever you choose, some amount of power and enthusiasm is important. Soft folk music or chamber orchestra music is not going to do it.

The key is that you can’t be afraid to be cheesy as hell when you’re creating your running playlist. If you’re a modern human living in a city, going for a run on your own free will is already (by pure intuitional standards) a stupid, wasteful, and needlessly painful activity*. Your running playlist can (and perhaps should) be just as defiant as running itself.

If you’re not running yet, this might be the piece you’ll enjoy the most. Music gets better as you work harder for it, whether you’re dancing or working out or dashing down a running trail. Put those headphones in and get to work.

* Setting aside the obvious health benefits of running

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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