Jog on: the 30 best running songs

“Young Turks”, Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart in the 1980s

Quite simply: the rolling beat, earworm synth riff and Rod the Mod’s lyrics of teenage rebellion can’t help but inspire your leg muscles to keep pumping on through the pain barrier.

“The Past Is A Grotesque Animal”, Of Montreal

Of Montreal

Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes would probably be faintly amused that what amounts to a 12-minute relationship rant pops up on a list of keep-fit aids, but as this relentless track rolls on like a train, getting more and more worked up as it moves towards its awesome conclusion. Listen out for the UFO sounds...

“Beat It”, Michael Jackson

Beat It

A whole bunch of MJ’s songs make great workout fodder (“Wanna Be Startin’ Something’”, “Can You Feel It”, “Off The Wall” come immediately to mind), but “Beat It” holds a special place in our hearts for its fret-shredding Eddie Van Halen guitar solo – guaranteed to give your aching muscles a boost.

“Ooh Wee”, Mark Ronson

Mark Ronson

Before Mark Ronson was producing Amy Winehouse albums he was making hip hop in his native New York. Stuff like this track, in other words, which features Ghostface Killah and the late Nate Dogg and lots of disco-y string and horn samples.

“Helicopter”, Bloc Party

Bloc Party

London art school indie darlings of the mid-noughties Bloc Party announced their presence with choppy, angular tracks like this. Flip it on when you’re in need of a brief burst of energy.

“Safety Dance”, Men Without Hats

Men Without Hats

One for the warm-down or slower jogs perhaps, owing to its sedate tempo, but “Safety Dance” is a irresistible example of 80s kookiness.

“Walking Through That Door”, Future Islands

Future Islands

Future Islands’ recent Letterman live performance may have alerted the wider world to their eccentric brand of synth pop, but the reality is they’ve been producing wonderfully catchy tunes for years. This opener from the band’s 2010 LP In Evening Air is a perfect example.

“Take It Off”, The Donnas

The Donnas

The Donnas are at their ball-busting best here. “Take It Off” is a short, high-tempo song with lyrics that demonstrate once more that girls are just as dirty as boys.

“Flashing Lights”, Kanye West

Kanye West

At only 90bpm, you’ll probably want to take two strides for each beat with Kanye’s 2007 track – unless of course you want to end up resembling an Ent from Lord of the Rings as you run. But do that and you’ll find it’s pretty much perfectly paced for hitting a mile in eight minutes.

“The Rat”, The Walkmen

The Walkmen

At 168bpm, “The Rat” is an ideal song for running from a purely technical perspective – but it also happens to be one of the most rousing, snarling and hyped-up songs you could hope to have flowing in your lugholes as you power down the pavement.

Image credit: Radio Free SoDo

Got Spotify? You can grab our playlist of all 30 tracks here: Best Running Songs