Best Running Playlist

April 11th, 2021

For all the runners out there that know how big of a difference having the best running playlist can make to smash your workout; I’m counting down my top 25 songs that get me hyped up and in the right state to run free and fast!

The pandemic has challenged us all to embrace solitude. Lucky for me, as a middle-distance runner, I came prepared to take on the challenge. I am immensely grateful for how simple of a sport running is, and as a result, have not been impacted as severely by the pandemic.

Yet, I still have days where I don’t feel motivated to go to the track and run a workout or get out the door and pound the pavement early in the morning. Music is a saving grace on these days.

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”

Bob Marley

If you know me personally, or have ever seen me at the track wearing my bright pink Beats Headphones (which unfortunately had to be retired due to extreme overuse), you may wonder what songs are on my best running playlist. Well, this changes year-to-year and day-to-day with my mood, but here are 25 of my top picks.

Best Running Playlist: Top 25 Songs

#1: Whatever it Takes (Imagine Dragons)

My best running playlist always begins and ends with this one. It’s the last song that I’ve listened to before ever race I’ve ran since the summer of 2017.

#2: The Fear (The Score)

This is my most recent favourite. All I’ll say is that the lyrics hit close to home for me at the moment.

#3: The Fighter (Gym Class Heroes)

If this song doesn’t put you in an inspirational mood, I don’t know what will.

#4: Centuries (Fall Out Boy)

I listened to this song constantly throughout the 2019 indoor track season. A season where I felt like I had a lot to prove and was regularly running myself into the ground to do so. I’ve learned a lot since then, but there’s something about this song and thinking back to that day-in-day-out grind that puts me in the right place to hurt before a workout.

#5: The Edge of Glory (Lady Gaga)

This song put me in the right headspace at the peak of the 2019 outdoor season. I struggled with constantly comparing myself (to my previous self) throughout the early part of the 2019 outdoor season, but when I got to the World University Games things shifted and I felt like my patience had finally paid off.

#6: Hall of Fame (The Script)

One of my closest friends introduced me to this song way back in grade 9. It was the day before a city-wide cross country meet that I was (as per usual at the time) extremely nervous for. I ended up winning the race and this song played through my head for the last kilometre of the 3km race. I often think back to that moment now, because it’s one of my earliest memories of being truly motivated to get the most out of myself in a race.

#7: ‘Tip I Collapse (Eminem)

If I didn’t include an Eminem song I don’t think this would classify as the best running playlist. Just wait, there’s more coming.

#8: Zombie (Bad Wolves)

This was the song that kick-started my 2018 outdoor racing season. I was in Portland, Oregon at the time with my coach and teammate and this song came on the radio numerous times. It also fuelled my FloTrack “Kick of the Week” for the win at the Stumptown Twilight 1500m.

#9: Follow You (Imagine Dragons)

This is another one of my current favourites. Imagine Dragons never fails to disappoint in producing upbeat and motivational music.

#10: Go Off (Lil Uzi Vert, Quavo, & Travis Scott)

Fun fact: Fast & Furious is my favourite movie series. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that a song from the The Fate of the Furious album appears on my best running playlist. This song is also always running through my head when I have a “kick” in practice (otherwise known as an all out rep at the end of a workout).

#11: Eye of the Tiger (Survivor)

This one always takes me back to my soccer days, in the change room before a big game. It definitely puts me in the right mood ahead of a race or big workout.

#12: Forever (Drake, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, & Eminem)

The best era of music was 2000-2010 in my opinion. You’ll find a lot of throwbacks from this time period on my best running playlist.

#13: Harder to Breathe (Maroon 5)

This indoor season, I had to wear a mask for about 4 months of training due to the pandemic. This included some gruelling treadmill tempos with little air and leaving my cloth mask completely soaked with sweat afterwards. This song was a regular for those treadmill tempos.

#14: Power (Kanye West)

This one I listened to before every race I ran throughout university. It’s a go-to on race days.

#15: Say Amen (Saturday Night) (Panic! At The Disco)

Panic! At The Disco is another artist that never fails to deliver upbeat songs that hit right, before a workout.

#16: Lose Yourself (Eminem)

If you are an athlete, you probably guessed that this one would be coming. I don’t think I have any friends that are athletes that either haven’t heard of this song or don’t have it on their own workout/race/running playlists.

#17: Moment 4 Life (Nicki Minaj)

“To live doesn’t mean you’re alive” is my favourite lyric in this song. It always reminds me of why I run when I’m low on motivation. I always feel so much more alive during and after a run.

#18: All I Do Is Win (DJ Khaled)

A classic and predictable song for the best running playlist; this is another song that was regularly on my pre-race playlist throughout university. Even though winning isn’t everything, the song puts me in the right state to run at my best.

#19: Run This Town (Jay-Z)

It has “run” in the title which pre-qualifies it for the best running playlist.

#20: Wolves (Big Sean)

The tempo of this song is perfect when you get in a flow state on a run. It’s been another of my favourites as of late.

#21: It’s My Life (Bon Jovi)

Not running related, but I remember this song coming out during a time when it was common to go to a friend’s house after school and watch YouTube videos… Aside from that memory, I think the lyrics are a perfect fit for the best running playlist.

#22: Back in Black (AC/DC)

On days where you need an extra boost, mix in a little AC/DC.

#23: Thanks for the Mmrs (Fall Out Boy)

This song came on when I was working out at Ignite Athletics after one of my treadmill tempos this indoor season. Looking back on the indoor season, I’m thankful for the memories of what was a very untraditional and make-shift season. The daily routine kept me grounded and calm amidst the uncertainty.

#24: Let it Rock (Kevin Rudolf)

And the theme of throwbacks from 2008 continues… maybe my best running playlist should really be called “best throwbacks of the last 2 decades”.

#25: The Time (Dirty Bit) (Black Eyed Peas)

Finally, I’m ending off my best running playlist with a theme song for the current training trip that I’m on in Victoria, BC. I’ve been enjoying beautiful running weather and have re-kindled a love for the grind that comes with elite training.

Hopefully my best running playlist gives you some motivation for your next run or workout and helps you find something to be inspired by during these difficult times!

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