« Health & Fitness

Top 10 songs to motivate your long distance run (w/video)

by Dan Cash

The best runs in my experience are always combined with the right mixture of music.  Sometimes it’s based on mood, other times it’s based on an upcoming concert but most of the time it’s dependant on upbeat, mixed music that keeps the flow of your run going.  With that in mind I have come up with my top 10 list of upbeat songs for running.

Now before I proceed I would like to point out that these are not necessarily songs that I would want other people to catch me listening too.  Some of these might even be the kinds of songs that warrant creepy looks from other runners because of their supposed core demographic focus that I am not now nor ever will be a part of.  

These songs are not meant to be that.  These songs are meant to cross all walks of life and serve the single purpose of pushing you to run with a hop in your step.  I present my current top 10:

1.) Gold Guns Girls by Metric

I wish I could explain it but this song just makes running awesome.  I am positive the bear was created to pump adrenaline and to make me feel like I am running from someone. 

Now that's how we should be running!

2.) Demons by Imagine Dragons

Their previous running hit "Radioactive" was replaced in my mind by "Demons".  This song starts slow and works great for song one of your run.  The slow build allows you to ease your way into a workout before the beat picks up and you can feel your heart pumping with the beat until you find out where their "demons hide" and the song takes off!

3.) Dark Horses by Switchfoot

Two years ago I got to see Switchfoot play live in our studios and they were just awesome.  Great guys who signed all the autographs, sat down with listeners and played a much more acoustic version of "Dark Horses."  Take this song into the studio version and all of a sudden you are pounding the pavement and pumping your fist while running.  Motivation level of 12.

4.) Don’t Trust Me by 3OH!3

23 million views on Youtube can't be wrong.  Like "Demons" this has a slower start but picks up and has a bit of anger written into it.  Sometimes it takes a little of that in the middle of your run to push you to another level of intensity.  

5.) Take a Picture by Filter

This is the song that really doesn't fit.  It's not fast, it really isn't meant to pump you up and it can occasionally border on boring.  With all that said it appealed to me in the movie "Girl Next Door" in the way that it was played and ever since it's sort of an uplifting song in my book.  It's odd but it works for my runs and is also a great middle of the workout song that lulls you into continuing without even knowing it.

6.) Babel by Mumford & Sons

I usually pepper my run tracks with bands that I just really love to listen too.  With Mumford & Sons it's not really about the track motivating the fitness as much as it's having several tracks within the run that are just that da** good.  Mumford & Sons, Guster and up-and-comers Twenty|One|Pilots serve that purpose for me.  

7.) Bawitdaba by Kid Rock

Proceed with caution and note that it's an earlier Kid Rock song.  There is not going to be an "All Summer Long" feel to this one.  In the beginning Kid Rock was just raw with energy and songs like Bawitdaba were built for fitness listening.  (Swearing does occur in this song)

8.) I Predict A Riot by Kaiser Chiefs

Cheers to yet another band you are most likely not familiar with.  Kaiser Chiefs is a band that came to my attention in the mid 2000's.  The UK based band has a beat building song in "I Predict A Riot" and with a title like that you almost have to add it into a list like this.  It's just what the doctor ordered when you are three to four songs from the end of your run.  

9.) Cruise (Remix) by Florida Georgia Line feat. Nelly

Adding some of that country flair into the mix is Cruise by Florida Georgia Line.  This is a newer track to my run playlist that I added along with Luke Bryan and Randy Houser.  Sometimes just after the middle of your playlist switching up the format is just enough to avoid fumbling to find your phone to skip a track.  (Which drives me crazy when I am trying to run)

10..) Champagne by Cavo

Finishing the final stretch is always a challenge.  That challenge becomes so much easier with Cavo screaming about "Champagne" and driving you to the finish line.  The energy on this song is absolutely off the charts and it makes that final stretch so great.  By the time you are done the heart is pumping and you feel like Rocky running atop the stairs in Philly.  

Take a moment and grab those tracks for your upcoming run.  I was surprised at just how much it impacted my ability to keep a rhythm and it made the entire running experience more enjoyable.   

Dan is trying desperately to become an avid runner and over the next several months will continue to share his on the road running experiences in an effort to showcase the fun and the struggle of becoming a long distance runner.  For better or worse...here we go!  

Follow me on Twitter @danielcash or e-mail me at dan.cash@mwcradio.com