The 30 best running songs
We’ve all heard about the loneliness of the long distance runner, but thanks to modern technology that’s a thing of the past: now any jogger worth his or her salt(y sweat) is packing a music player to pump inspiring tunes into the ears and induce their legs to kick up a gear.
We’ve picked out 30 songs we reckon to be among the best-suited when it comes to running. If you want to shave a few seconds off your personal best, do yourself a favour and get these on your iPhone.
“When A Fire Starts To Burn”, Disclosure
Hard as it might be to believe, this pair of rosy-cheeked brothers from Reigate, barely out of nappies during UK garage’s late-90s heyday, have swiftly become the world’s premier purveyors of house/deep house/garage/future garage/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. And this, the opener from their debut album Settle, is a neat distillation of their oeuvre – and one hell of a certified banger.
Foals may be on a disturbingly Muse-esque journey into overblown stadium rock (plus they made that song that sounded like KC and the Sunshine Band) but delving into the Oxford band’s back catalogue reveals this gem of a post-punk revival stomper. Energetic.
“Funky Kingston”, Toots & The Maytals
Toots & The Maytals
If you’re in need of a running tune in a more sedate line, this reggae (or perhaps rock steady, if we were wearing our pedantic pants) classic is beyond infectious. A top track for bouncing along to while you power up a hill – or at least attempt to.
“The Trooper”, Iron Maiden
“The Trooper” by Iron Maiden
East London’s finest heavy metal mavens have rarely sounded better than on “The Trooper”, a four-minute bayonet-jabber of a track inspired by the famed Charge of the Light Brigade. Perhaps that makes it more a riding tune than a running tune, but its galloping rhythm and story of heroism against impossible odds will have your pins going like the clappers.
This 10-minute slice of steadily-building Krautrock epitomises “Motorik”, a term coined by music journalists to describe a particular 4/4 beat. Why? Well, its repetitive, forward-feeling rhythm gives the sense of driving down a motorway. And it’s not bad for running, either.
“Delorean Dynamite”, Todd Terje
Norwegian DJ Terje Olsen delivers a satisfying slice of nu-disco that’ll have you eating up the miles like nobody’s business. Steadily pounding drums, euphoric synths and textured bass are the order of the day.
“Length of Love”, Interpol
God only knows what New York’s impeccably-dressed post-punk revivalists are singing about here, but the thumping rhythm section makes an easy-to-follow metronome for your morning run.
“Superconnected”, Broken Social Scene
Broken Social Scene
A rolling, high tempo jam from the Canadian indie stalwarts that ices its already running-suitable cake with inspiringly shouty vocals. You may want to skip the lengthy outro, mind you.
“All My Friends”, LCD Soundsystem
LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy
This song builds steadily for almost all of its seven and a half minutes, making it a fine accompaniment to the early stages of your run. It’s an incredible track lyrically too, although you may want to banish its melancholic musings on “growing up” from your mind, lest you find yourself curled up on a park bench quietly weeping for your squandered youth.
“Red Eyes”, The War On Drugs
The War On Drug's Adam Granduciel
After years of slogging away on tour, Philadelphia’s War On Drugs are finally receiving some much-deserved attention – and when you hear a song like “Red Eyes” it’s almost impossible to ignore it. If the 1980s versions of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan were merged in a melding machine – perhaps chuck in a sprinkling of Go West and Don Henley – you might come up with something a little like this. But these guitar solos are better.
Image credit: Kmeron