Recent/ Running

The Best Running Music + My 5 Favorite Playlists

The right running playlist can make your run more fun and help you run longer and faster. I shared my five go-to Spotify playlists that I’ve use for training runs and races. You won’t find Bon Jovi or classic rock on these, but you will hear an assortment of more current music from hip hop to instrumental to mainstream and offbeat. There’s some of everything, including high energy and more mellow playlists.

Should you run with music?

Good music can make a good run even better and research has shown that people can run longer with music. (There’s something called the auditory motor synchronization that helps you regulate your pace.)

I listen to music while I run about 50% of the time.

  • If I have a long, solo run, I love music to help keep me entertained.
  • With a shorter easy run, I love to get lost in music and zone out.
  • If I have a long tempo run, a driving beat helps immensely.

But, sometimes I don’t like listening to music when I run:

  • On the track or during any workout with lots of changes in pace, I never listen to music. I hate anything extra on me with speed work since it just annoys me.
  • When running with others. I think that’s so weird and I see it often.
  • And when I’m just craving some peace and quiet, away from electronics, I leave my phone at home while I run. I let my mind run free.

runner with airpods listening to the best running music

Should you race with music?

This is totally personal preference. I never do for 5Ks but do occasionally for longer races, including half marathons and marathons. The 2018 Boston Marathon had horrible weather so while I wasn’t planning on using music for that race, I did simply because I knew that music helps me get through tough runs! And that was a tough day. But at the 2019 Boston Marathon, when I had a big time goal, I didn’t listen to music since I knew I needed to pay attention to my body to regulate pace and push when I needed to.

But, in general, I lean towards not racing with music. I think a distraction can be fine on training runs but on race day, I like to focus! Okay, on to the playlists!

Best Running Music and Playlist

1. 2019 Running Playlist

I started this one after I burned out on 2018 Running Playlist. It’s a little less mainstream than my 2018 mix except for Imagine Dragons – those songs are just so good!

2. 2018 Running Playlist

This one has 21 songs and 1 hour 15 minutes of music! It’s a good mix of mainstream, hip hop music plus some lesser-known bands. I used this for the majority of my Boston Marathon training runs this year.

3. Workout Music

This playlist has FOUR HOURS of music and it’s what I used during all my training for the Wrightsville Beach Marathon. It has a good mix of upbeat and some “zone out” songs. And it’s long enough to get you though very long runs.

4. Not Pop Workout Music

Sometimes, I just can’t deal with pop. You won’t find any Kesha or Rihanna on here.

5. Discover Keepers

(7 hours of music!!) This is a really random assortment of songs since it’s my catch-all playlist whenever I hear a song I like. I like this playlist for easy runs and it’s my go-to workout playlist for lifting days.

Happy running! With or without music!

Okay, your turn to share! Do you run with music? If not, why not? If so, what’s your favorite running song?


You may also like:

Click here to pin this post to save for later!

best running music

Ready to run?

Let me help! I've been running for almost 20 years, and have run over 50 races from 5Ks to marathons.

I've learned a lot along the way and would love to help you too!

Join my FREE mini Running Bootcamp and I'll send you advice to help you get started! I'll share my favorite running shoes, advice on what to eat before a run, tips to run faster and more!

Click that pretty pink button to join! Powered by ConvertKit

Rate This Post

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)


  • Reply

    This year I have been loving:
    Feel it still by Portugal. The man
    Criminal by the Revivalists
    The Man by the Killers
    My Way by Calvin Harris
    Desperado by Rihanna
    All dumped into a single Spotify playlist 🙂

  • Reply

    On the treadmill- I HAVE to have music!
    Running outside- I usually go without

  • Reply

    You are very strong to be able to run without music lol. I could not imagine running without it. Music definitely helps me take my mind off things lol. I love all your music choices! Personally for me I always stick to the popular pop music and country hits that are playing on the radio. Thanks for sharing, hope you are having a lovely day.


  • Reply

    I do run with music unless I’m running with a friend. Curious, do you run with your phone? I don’t like running with my phone so I run with my ipod shuffle and haven’t changed /updated the playlist in years because it’sa pain and I no longer buy songs from itunes……We have a family subscription to apple music, but again, I don’t run with my phone. I’ve considered buying an apple watch just so I could listen to my apple music playlists but I’ve heard the pace/distance info isn’t as accurate as a Garmin. I’ve even thought about wearing two watches lol. It’s not like I’m an elite or anything, just very type A with my running data…… #firstworldproblems

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.