My Ultimate Running Playlist

Here’s the thing – I’ve spent years trying to perfect my running playlist. For me, music is everything while I’m running. Without it, I would not be able to run more than 3 blocks, and it’s insane how a particular song can take me from out of breath and miserable to completely focused and intense within seconds. How does it do that? Praise be to music, is all I have to say.

However, the music I listen to while running is completely opposite of what I listen to on a daily basis around the house. Some people choose to listen to their favorite artists’ more upbeat tracks, but for me, I need something completely different. Songs that take me to another place, mentally. (Let’s just say a little less Andrew Bird and Phoenix, and a bit more Jay-Z and Daft Punk. Possibly some gunshots and booty commentary as well…)

I’ve created my playlist on Spotify and it’s right here. And if you’re anything like me, be sure to put the playlist on shuffle because the next song always needs to be a surprise. Keeps you on your toes.

If you don’t use Spotify (um, why not? It’s the greatest!), here’s the playlist.

  • Rebecca

    June 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Will be stealing this! I am in need of an update to my workout playlist.
    (Also am I the only one who pretends to be shooting a gun during Paper Planes? Yes? Never mind then.)

    • whoorl

      June 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm

      Not only do I pretend to shoot, but I blow the tips of fingers. I’m such a DORK.

  • Lynne

    June 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I think you get extra credit points for having the list in alphabetical order.

    Thanks for putting this together, a new playlist always makes the workout go by faster!

    • whoorl

      June 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      Type A at its best!

  • berlin hair baby

    June 27, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Hell yes to the playlist! I can’t wait run to it! (and yes, I admit I was a tiny bit skeptical given the whole Andrew Bird thing…but this list is balls-to-the-wall)

    especially love Van Halen’s Panama…that intro is so bombastic.
    big hugs, bhb

    • whoorl

      June 27, 2012 at 1:14 pm

      Woot woot! I LOVE me some Van Halen, BHB!

  • Jessika

    June 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Thank you for this!! My current playlist – even though it is endless – only seems to play the same songs every morning. Every.Single.Morning. Time for new tunes!

  • Caroline

    June 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Yes Yes Yes to 15 Steps. I’ve been known to put that song on repeat when running. I’m also very fond of LCD Soundsystem when running – perfect pacing.

  • Jamie

    June 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    DUDE. I also have most of these on my list…but for me, it’s not as much about the music but the pace. I like to run on the beat, and b/c I’m a wee midgety lady, my stride is odd. Panama is a kick-ass choice – just the right pace. I also like “Devil Inside” – INXS, “Blue Orchid” – White Stripes, “Call Your Girlfriend” – Robyn, “Freak” – Estelle, “Late in the Evening” – Simon & Garfunkel (get the live version with applause! i like to pretend it’s for me b/c I’m a nerd), and my two guilty pleasures, “Get Involved” – Ginuwine and “Ms. New Booty” – Bubba Sparxx.

    Thanks for posting this!

  • Kristin

    June 27, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I think you read my mind with this! I have been needing some new workout music and just searched for some the other day. Thank you!

  • Tina

    June 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Oh, I was just thinking this morning that I needed some new ones. I feel the same about my running playlist and I have quite a number of these on mine…but why, oh why did I not think of the Eminem??? That is a perfect running song. Some of my most motivating are “Just Because” by Jane’s Addiction, “Dusted” by Belly, “Uprising” by Muse, “Your Love” by the Outfield and “Possum Kingdom” by the Toadies. Sometimes when I am really having trouble I just put on Girltalk because it never stops…which takes away my excuse and keeps me moving.
    My Pilates Reformer Pals have asked me to make a playlist for class too! That was fun to make.
    Thanks for the new ideas!

  • Danielle (elleinadspir)

    June 27, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    RBB made me a playlist the other day for running. The foo were on there as well as Kick Start My Heart, Rocking the Suburbs, April 26th…
    I just told him that Lose Yourself would have been good. He said he had it on and took it off. He’s now pouting about being rushed making the playlist and needing more time to perfect it.

  • Maggie

    June 27, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Hey Sarah! Love your list! I also highly recommend LCD Soundsystem, in particular All My Friends. It is about 7 mins long and it’s great for the 7km mark of a 10km run. On my playlist, Paper Planes by MIA follows, and then Be Easy by Ghostface feat. Trife. I LOVE the cursing, I find it very motivating! And it is soooo not what I would listen to around the house with my three boys!

  • Meegan

    June 27, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Momma Said Knock You Out…brilliant. I haven’t heard that song in YEARS. Totes adding to my playlist. And Jump Around? Hello, college fraternity party. I remember jumping around. I can do it again. Touchdown.

  • gorillabuns

    June 27, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    nods to Everlong! and Foo’s twice. Man, I’m going to be THAT person who is listening to old stuff talking about the good ‘ol days, right?

  • Amy

    June 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Oooh, can’t wait to check some of these out! Don’t worry, the Ke$ha’s already on my playlist ;)

  • Rebecca B

    June 28, 2012 at 5:29 am

    Love it! And I totally agree, Who can whistle along with AB while running uphill in the heat? I submit, Kelly Clarkson’s, Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You). It’s nothing I would ever buy (but for Spotify) but is always the song I am hoping randomly pops up on my shuffle rotation. Thanks – psyched for my next run!

  • Rebecca (Bearca)

    June 28, 2012 at 8:51 am

    I have SO MANY of the same songs on mine! And now I hate myself for not owning It Takes Two. Serious, serious oversight for someone who went to high school when I did!

    Also, funny story: I always thought Panama was “Animal.” Ani-mah-hahl! Until, thanks to the magic of the display on my satellite radio, I finally learned the truth. Am moron.

  • Sonja von Franck

    June 28, 2012 at 9:25 am

    This makes me wanna go running tonight!! Or maybe do the eliptical machine. I’ve never had a play list. Isn’t that pathetic? Three babies in four years and I just never made the time to catch up with technology and figure out how to do it. I did have ONE song I loved on this old Motorola MP3 player that my husband uploaded for me that was the only thing that could get me through the one mile run that I did in bootcamp to get in shape after my first baby. Got pregnant THE WEEK after I finished that bootcamp! Joined bootcamp to get in shape after the 2nd baby, got pregnant within a month of completing that session. Needless to say, I’m a little gun shy of boot camp or getting in shape! BUT, this is awesome! (And I love Bearca’s comment, “ani-mah-hah!!!” TOO FUNNY!)

  • ohjennymae

    June 28, 2012 at 9:35 am

    i’ll have to check some of these out.

    “the middle” by jimmy eat world, “boys don’t cry” by the cure & “sex on fire” by kings of leon are my submissions. always make me run faster.

  • Kristen Howerton

    June 28, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    OMG. We are running music soulmates. I am so glad you did this, because I’ve yet to transition my angry gangsta mix from itunes to Spotify. Now I can just follow yours!

  • j

    July 1, 2012 at 7:34 am

    are you sure you’re not from the hood?? lol. love the playlist though totally unexpected!

    regards from a loyal, silent reader from westchester (born and raised in the heights aka the hood:))

  • Sarah

    July 2, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Love your list…all of them (except Daft Punk – how is it possible I’ve never added them to my iPod?) are on my playlists. For you Three you might consider:

    1. For cooling down…The Top Gun Anthem. (Just do it. Trust me. It’s awesome.)
    2. Till I Collapse – Eminem and Nate Dogg. I love the effect this song has on my run that I save it, listening to it only when I absolutely need it. (Weird? Maybe.)
    3. Faster – Third Eye Blind (An obvious choice for a running list. What can I say Sometimes I need the reminder to speed it up.)

  • Rebecca B

    July 2, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Oh and one more. Supernova, Liz Phair. Very motivating.

  • Kristy

    July 4, 2012 at 11:16 am

    This mix is amazing. I especially love the sprinkling of ’80s classics like The Metro alongside Radiohead. Listening on shuffle is a must. Thanks for sharing — I want to go on a run right now!