Category Archives: Best Running Music Ever

Best Running Music Ever – Week 5

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Best Workout Songs
Brand New – Sowing Season (Yeah) – I don’t know if there is an argument to possibly made that this isn’t one of the best songs ever. Starts slow and kicks into a gear only possessed by supercars.

Coheed and Cambria – In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 – Epic is about the only word I can use to describe this song.

Goldfinger – Open Your Eyes – A band that typically makes bubblegum pop punk music released a really heavy track that I love running to.

The Hives – Hate to Say I Told You So – I’ve pretty sure this was an Apple iPod song back in the day. However, right around the time these guys came out, there were about 50 bands that started with “The”, so I could easily be confused.

Hot Water Music – A Flight and a Crash – I think myself and Seton from the Dan Patrick Show are the only people that give these guys the credit they deserve.

Live – I Alone – If anyone were to ask me why music was better 15-20 years ago than it is today, I would point to this song. This is your typical song that was played on the radio in the late 90s. Now, you’re stuck listening to Katy Perry and David Guetta.

Muse – Stockholm Syndrome – I literally forgot about this as a running song for a good two to three years. It’s a great one, though.

Tyler Bates – Fever Dreams – 300 Violin Orchestra gets a lot of love as a instrumental song that kinda rocks, but I prefer this Tyler Bates track from “300.”

Best Easy Running Songs
Beastie Boys – So What’Cha Want – I love old school hip hop, so it probably comes as no surprise that I’m a big Beastie Boys fan. RIP MCA…

Fitz and the Tantrums – MoneyGrabber – I can’t put my finger on exactly what old school influences this rock band reminds me of, but I quite enjoy most of their songs.

Florence + The Machine – Dogs Days Are Over – Almost all of Florence + The Machines songs have an epic feel to them. I have no trouble pounding the pavement to this one.

The High and Mighty – B-Boy Document ’99 – This song might be 14 years old, but it’s still resoates with me.

Incubus – Pardon Me – This song is at times really mellow and really aggressive (in a controlled way). Perfect for a mid-tempo run…

Macklemore – And We Danced – I was onto Macklemore before a good percentage of the billion people who’ve supported him in the past year. His music is a) really good and b) at times, ridiculously funny.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Under the Bridge – Another epic song. Slow start to a big build. Plus you’ve got the mental image of Anthony Keidis running at the end of the song. So there’s that…

Silverchair – Without You – A song with a huge sound from Silverchair’s forgotten album.

Two Door Cinema Club – What You Know – Crazy catchy guitar riff.

The xx – Intro – This song should be in movie trailers, featured on episodes of Law & Order knockoff shows… just everywhere!

Best Steady State Songs
The Airborne Toxic Event – Does This Mean You’re Moving On – A pretty straight forward rock(ish) song from TATE’s first album.

Anberlin – The Feel Good Drag – I don’t get sick of running to this song even though it’s been out for a hot minute now…

Billy Talent – Try Honestly – I find this guy’s voice a little grating normally, but this song just seems to work for me.

The Bravery – Fearless – It’s a bummer that these guys have seemingly disappeared as I liked their dance rock. Dance rock is always good to run to…

Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove It) – An oldie but goodie. I find the Deftones to be a real hit or miss band, but for me, this is their biggest “hit.”

E.S. Posthumus – Pompeii – Hard not to get sucked into this epic feeling track by a band with three album full of epic tracks.

El-P – Request Denied – El-P used to make goofy rap that I kinda found a little unappealing yet strangely liked. His new album is a big step in the right direction as far as I’m concerned, though.

Foo Fighters – My Hero – Probably the most commercial rock sounding of all the Foo Fighter songs, I still can throw this on a running playlist and enjoy even if this song reminds me of the rock equivalent of Mariah Carey’s “Hero.”

Ice Cube – Wicked – He may have made a lot of money appearing in Barbershop and Coors Light ads, but old school Ice Cube is how I’ll always choose to remember him.

La Roux – Bulletproof – Pretty poppy, but still somehow likable.

Nine Inch Nails – The Hand That Feeds – Another upbeat song by a band I used to think was crazy…

Ozzy Osbourne – Crazy Train – A classic rock song that still makes for a good running tune…

P.O.S. – Half Cocked Concepts – Before he started experimenting with combining elements of electronica and hip hop, P.O.S. did the rap/rock thing better than anyone who’d come before (or has come around since).

The Prodigy – Voodoo People – This song might be about 20 years old, but it still gets me going.

The Rapture – Whoo! Alright – Yeah… Uh Huh – One of my favorite dance rock songs of all-time by hands-down my favorite dance rock band (not named Bloc Party) of all-time.

Rise Against – Prayer of the Refugee – I actually like the live version of this song because it’s about 20% faster (which is really, really, REALLY fast).

Sum 41 – Still Waiting – From their third album, this song rocks a little harder than the tracks that came before it.

Taking Back Sunday – Cute Without the “E” (Cut From the Team) – True story… I got into this band because they had a song with the word “Timberwolves” in the title. Sure glad I did, though…

The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition – For a mellow song, this song – with it’s Edge sounding echo/hypnotic guitar sounds – is a fantastic song for the start of any running playlist.

Thursday – Understanding in a Car Crash – OK, this is probably a little hard for some. It’s strangely a mix of melodic and screamy yet completely depressing music.

U2 – Elevation (Live from Milan) – A song that is much better live than on the record. Much better energy.

Wu-Tang Clan – Protect Ya Neck – My daughter has listened to this song about 500 times… probably since it’s the only hip hop song sans swear words that I had on my phone for the first two years of her existence.

Best Running Music Ever – Week 4

headphones4Best Workout Songs
Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor – Easily my favorite song by a band that has a bunch of good songs to run to.

Drake – The Motto – This song is very brag-adocious which, if I’m having a good race or workout, will help catapult me. I know I’m not fast, but I sometimes feel like Mo Farah (albeit fatter and whiter) listening to Drake bragging.

Foo Fighters – Pretender – A running playlist of 20 of the most uptempo Foo Fighter songs would work for me…

Gym Class Hero – The Fighter – Another song that does a good job of building you up. Love the “…there goes a fighterrrrrr” chorus when you are the middle of some intense intervals.

Kanye West & Jay-Z – HAM – When this album came out, I thought it was strange they had a song entitled “Ham.” Love the acronym, though.

Metallica – Fuel – I challenge you to listen to James Hetfield scream “Give me fuel/give me fire/give me that which I desire” followed by the opening riff and not feel instantly pumped up.

Qemists – Stompbox – A song that was featured in my movie – For Three, this song instantly gets me going. I don’t even want to know what the BPM count would be but if you are looking for the most strikes of a snare drum in a song, this song will do it for you.

Refused – Refused Are ____ Dead (EP Version) – This track is another that has gotten me going for years and years. I really like the rock version as well, but the electronica version gets me into the zone for a good, hard run.

Thrice – Cold Cash and Cold Hearts – Riley Breckenridge, besides being a dude that seems really cool, plays some incredible drums on this hard rock tune.

Waka Flaka Flame – Hard in Da Paint – When I first heard the name “Waka Flaka Flame,” I thought instantly this was most ridiculous rap name I’ve ever (and it still is). This song gets me pumped, though. I noticed last year the Celtics used this as their intro music.

Best Easy Running Songs
Barry Vorzon – Theme from “The Warriors” – This song definitely is from the era it sounds like it’s from (late 70s). I love the movie and strangely the song has been a good running song for me, as well.

Childish Gambino – Heartbeat – This song is a strange collaboration between R&B, hip hop, and whatever genre Skrillex would be considered.

College – Critical Mass – I’m not sure if this song is featured in the movie “Drive” or I just heard it because College sings other songs that were featured in the movie. Really good song for some medium tempo days.

Imagine Dragons – It’s Time – Good to see these guys blowing up. I wouldn’t want to race quarters to this song, but it’s a good song for a putting in the miles day.

Mogwai – Auto Rock – Strangely moving. This song has tremendous momentum. It starts as almost nothing. It builds an amazing song around one really simple piano loop that becomes bigger and bigger until and epic finale.

Mona – Lines in the Sand – Another band, like the Foo Fighters, where I can run to nearly every song. They are a newer rock band that remind me a little of a cross between Kings of Leon and AWOLNATION.

Orbital – Halcyon – And On and On – This is a techno song that goes back. I think I first heard of this song nearly 20 years ago when the movie Hackers (which has aged horribly) came out.

Best Steady State Songs
Against Me! – New Wave – I’ve been running to this song for years. Never my favorite song on the playlist, but never a song I skip either.

Arcade Fire – Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) – The steady drum beat makes this alt rock classic a perfect running song for those medium tempo days.

Audiovent – The Energy – I’ve heard this song about a million times because it was featured on one of the Madden games when I was in college.

Avicii – Levels – You’ve no doubt heard this song pumping on a radio or playing in a Hollister or Abercrombie (or whatever clothing store is trendy with the kids these days).

Blink-182 – Dumpweed – The first song off of “Enema of the State” has been a running staple for years. The verses are pretty tame, but the rapid fire chorus is great to run to.

The Bravery – Unconditional – I’m incredibly bummed that this band (seemingly) no longer exists as they made a bunch of stuff I liked to run to. This might be my favorite by them, though.

Daft Punk – Robot Rock – Much better than the latest Daft Punk, that’s for sure…

Editors – Munich – A criminally underrated song by a band that has a surprising amount of good songs out there…

M.I.A. – Galang (Serj Tankian Remix) – Love the regular version of this song, but the guitars in the chorus give it that extra something that makes it a great running song.

N.E.R.D. – She Wants to Move – A great hip hop song that doesn’t fit the mold of typical hip hop songs. The remix is actually pretty good to run to, as well.

P.O.S. – Drumroll – Short and certainly not sweet, this P.O.S. gem will get your legs going and your heart pumping.

Teriyaki Boyz – Tokyo Drift – Featuring in the Fast & Furious movie that most people either have forgotten or don’t care for, but I really like the Asian sound incorporated in this hip hop song.

Vendetta Red – Shatterday – I don’t think these guys are around anymore, but the last half of this song is fantastic for a steady hard running day.

Best Running Music Ever – Week 3

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I’ve been a runner since February of 2002. Over that 11+ years (and counting), I’ve run a lot of miles. I’d guess that 85-90% of those miles have been solo miles. My training partner has been my iPod and my numerous running music playlists. Or rather, my numerous iPods (that I seem to burn through every 6-12 months). The circumference of the Earth is 24,901 miles. If I were to estimate, I’d gather I’ve run the equivalent of halfway around the entire earth with an iPod on listening to running music. When you run that many miles, you can’t listen to “Eye of the Tiger” or “Don’t Stop Believing” on repeat over and over again. Running that many miles requires a variety of running music. After years of doing this, I’ve decided to come up with what I consider the greatest running music playlist ever. The “Best Running Music Ever” playlist is going to be 100 new songs each week for a complete 12 week training cycle. Each week has a collection of slower songs for your easy days and some more adrenaline pumping songs for those tough workout days. I’ve spent hours and hours putting this together, so I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

If you don’t already have Spotify, head over to Spotify and download the software for you Mac or PCs. If you want to use Spotify on mobile devices (which I highly recommend), there is a $10 monthly subscription.

Best workout songs
Bloc Party – Flux – One of my favorite uptempo songs by one of my favorite bands…

Brand New – Jude Law & A Semester Abroad – Angst-y songs usually equal really good running songs for me

Doomtree – No Way – Something about this baseline reminds me of “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” from the Kill Bill movies. Spectacular song by the Minnesota natives.

Foo Fighters – The Pretender – I have proclaimed Bloc Party as the greatest running band of all-time. The Foo Fighters definitely would have a bone to pick. They would sit at number dos on my list.

Helmet – Unsung – Another in a long line of 90s rock songs I didn’t catch on to until the mid 2000s. Great running tune, though.

Linkin Park – No More Sorrow – Minutes to Midnight is quite possibly my favorite Linkin Park album (which is saying a lot). This song has a fantastic workout pace. Slow intro (but not too slow) followed by a really intense intro before getting slammed with the chorus.

Metallica – Master of Puppets – There are radio stations out there still playing bits like “Mandatory Metallica” for good reason. As weird as they might be (see the doc Some Kind of Monster), they make really good aggressive music.

Motorhead – Ace of Spades – If you are looking how to drop about 5-10 seconds per mile in the last half of a race, listening to Lemmy’s voice certainly is a good start.

Silversun Pickups – Panic Switch – Love this band. They are incredibly consistent putting out a lot of really good material over the past few years.

Sparta – Travel by Bloodline – I don’t know if this is my favorite Sparta song (I think that goes to “Cut Your Ribbon”), but it’s my favorite “running” Sparta song if that makes any sense.

TI – Bring Em Out – I can’t count how many times I’ve yelled “…it’s hard to yell when the barrel’s in your mouth” on a remote dirt road to nobody in particular. One of my favorite running rap songs.

White Stripes – Seven Nation Army – Are you kidding me? Just one of the great songs of the past 20 years. You’ll hear this at sporting events 40 years from now… mark my word!

Best easy running songs
Angels and Airwaves – Surrender – I love AVA’s spacey sounds for an easy run.

Arcade Fire – Keep the Car Running – A beautiful song by my favorite band that seems to have 14 members who all look like extras from Little House on the Prairie.

Coldplay – Vida La Vida – I remember when Puff Daddy ran his marathon, he talked about listening to Coldplay. I can’t listen to Coldplay on long runs or hard runs, but I really do enjoy them on easy days.

Explosions In The Sky – First Breath After Coma – If you want to go for an epic run, find a really cool nature trail, put on some Explosions in the Sky and just experience life.

Florence + The Machine – Drumming Song – My favorite female Englishwoman (is that a word) has a ton of really good songs to run too.

Grouplove – Tongue Tied – Love the group dynamics with this chorus. Strangely, songs that seem like singalongs make for great running songs even if you don’t actually sing along.

Mae – This Time Is The Last Time (Donnie Vs Reggie Mix) – The combination of the spacey keyboards along with the steady bassline and drumbeat along with a really good chorus make this a really good running song.

Passion Pit – The Reeling – Glad to see these guys seem to be “making it” because when I first listened to them, it seemed like nobody knew who they were. If you are at all a fan of 80s music, their retro sound will be appreciated. This song would’ve fit in really good at a prom dance from 1988.

Phoenix – Run Run Run – As a general rule, any song with that has the word “run” in the chorus is generally a decent running song.

A Tribe Called Quest – Electric Relaxation – A personal favorite. Probably my favorite song by my absolute favorite band of all-time.

Wolf Gang – Lions in Cages – A staple on alternative for the radio for the past few months.

Best state running songs
AFI – Girl’s Not Grey – Prior to this record, AFI was just a little untouchable for the mainstream. They toned it down a little and gave us a classic record. I believe this was the first single, but it’s my favorite “running song” from the album.

The Black Keys – Howlin’ For You – The Black Keys are strange… they are a fantastic rock group that doesn’t necessarily make a ton of songs that are great to run to. This one does the trick for those “just putting in the miles” days, though.

Blink 182 – Anthem – I could run to the entire “Enema of the State” album.

Bravery – Hate… – Love the dark sound and the constant drumbeat. Plus, the lyrics are pretty negative which, strangely, I seem to respond to while running. I don’t want a song that’s speaking to me about butterflies and rainbows. I want a song that screams at me “I will show no mercy for you… you have no mercy for me.”

Dead Prez – Hip Hop – Best hip hop baseline of all-time? How can it not be?

Fenix TX – Something Bad Is Gonna Happen – For their second album, Fenix TX got a lot darker. I really enjoy the metal influences on this punk rock band. I’ll run to these guys any day.

Japandroids – Continuous Thunder – Last year’s phenomenal album provided more than a few good running songs. Who says rock is dead?

Lil Wayne – Ground Zero – I could see this song being quite polarizing. Not a ton of people were into Lil’ Wayne’s attempt at making a rock album. I love running to this song, though.

Megadeth – Symphony of Destruction – Dave Mustaine may still not be over the fact that he’s not in Metallica, but this is still one good running tune.

Midtown – Find Comfort in Yourself – It’s a shame these guys broke up to form whatever poppy band they formed. This was pop punk perfection.

Nine Inch Nails – Head Like a Hole – I used to think NIN (much like Tool) was a band that crazy kids listened to. It seemed like only the crazy kids at school wore black NIN or TOOL shirts. Little did I know how much I would enjoy Trent Reznor’s work many years later. In 1999, if you would’ve told me I’d listen to Tool and NIN weekly and haven’t listened to any songs by Master P in about 5 years, I would’ve called you crazy.

Outkast – Rosa Parks – ATLiens seemed to be their breakout album, but this is the song that brought this band to the next level for me.

Pearl Jam – Why Go – I actually like P.O.S.’s cover version (search YouTube for it) better, but this song is one of the more under appreciated songs by Pearl Jam.

Rage Against the Machine – Sleep Now in the Fire – One of the greatest guitar riffs by a band that has many of them.

The Rapture – House of Jealous Lovers – Dance rock is generally a pretty good genre as a whole to run to…

Sims – Burn It Down – Very catchy yet unique rap instrumental hits you with the beats per minute before the epic chorus.

The Smashing Pumpkins – Zero – Before they started making really weird music, Smashing Pumpkins used to be the kings of aggressive, yet unique sounding rock.

Von Bondies – Cmon Cmon – This song is like an inner voice telling me “you aren’t running very fast.” Coincidentally, I hear that voice a lot.

The Who – Baba O’Riley – If you are someone who thinks “they” first starting making music somewhere around 7 to 10 years after you were born, do yourself a favor and go back and revisit this epic running tune.

Best Running Music Ever – Week 2

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I’ve been a runner since February of 2002. Over that 11+ years (and counting), I’ve run a lot of miles. I’d guess that 85-90% of those miles have been solo miles. My training partner has been my iPod and my numerous running music playlists. Or rather, my numerous iPods (that I seem to burn through every 6-12 months). The circumference of the Earth is 24,901 miles. If I were to estimate, I’d gather I’ve run the equivalent of halfway around the entire earth with an iPod on listening to running music. When you run that many miles, you can’t listen to “Eye of the Tiger” or “Don’t Stop Believing” on repeat over and over again. Running that many miles requires a variety of running music. After years of doing this, I’ve decided to come up with what I consider the greatest running music playlist ever. The “Best Running Music Ever” playlist is going to be 100 new songs each week for a complete 12 week training cycle. Each week has a collection of slower songs for your easy days and some more adrenaline pumping songs for those tough workout days. I’ve spent hours and hours putting this together, so I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

If you don’t already have Spotify, head over to Spotify and download the software for you Mac or PCs. If you want to use Spotify on mobile devices (which I highly recommend), there is a $10 monthly subscription.

Best workout songs
The Almost – Say This Sooner – The former drummer (???) of Underoath formed a side band which turned into his permanent band after he was kicked out of the band (???). I believe this all to be truth, but it’s been a while since I’ve read the story. A good heavy-ish song that isn’t so heavy that you can’t run to it… if that makes any sense.

Arctic Monkeys – Brainstorm – I’ve listened to this song probably 500 times while running and it still hasn’t worn off it’s magic. I can move to this song…

Beastie Boys – Sabotage – Another classic. Images of this music video featuring Cochese, Bobby, and Sir Stewart Wallace guest-starring as himself. Another song I’ve heard a thousand times, but it still gets the adrenaline pumping a bit.

Breaking Point – One of a Kind – If you aren’t a WWE fan, like myself, you may not recognize this song. It was used for a long time as the entrance song for Rob Van Dam. Truth be told, I’m pretty good at running to this song on my treadmill and doing the RVD point during the pointing part of the songs.

Filter – Hey Man, Nice Shot – I love, love, LOVE this song as a workout song. It’s fantastic for mile workouts when coupled with another short song. The first minute and a half of the song is mellow before building into a loud, chaotic, anthemic chorus.

Finch – What It Is To Burn – Finch is another band that hits the “running sweet spot” for me. I don’t listen to them very much outside of running. The right combination of melodic screaming and just all-out yelling just pushes me to run harder.

Kid Rock – Bawitdaba – I have no illusions that Kid Rock’s music belongs in the same sentence as Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, and (fill-in-the-name-of-whatever-rock-band-you-think-is-historically-great-here). His music certainly does serve a purpose. Just like “Piano Man” or “Don’t Stop Believing” tricks your mind into thinking it’s time to order another round (or “Who Let the Dogs Out” or “Walking on Sunshine” tell you that this is the slapsticky-fun part of a rated-PG comedy), Bawitdaba does something to bring some aggression inside you to the surface. Probably not a great song to run to on mile 2 of your marathon playlist, but it definitely does the trick coming down the homestretch.

Metallica – One – I’ve got two versions of this song in my iTunes – one them is the full version and another is a song that skips the first 50 seconds of the admittedly slow intro. If you can get through the guitars and guns intro (not as exciting as it sounds), what you’ve got is a song that progressively builds until it builds into a double-bass, guitar-solo calamity of musical chaos.

Papa Roach – Last Resort (Live) – Much like Kid Rock, don’t look for Papa Roach on any “best of” list put out by Rolling Stone. The chorus is a fantastic running chorus, though.

Smashing Pumpkins – Tarantula – Mark this song down as the only good song the Pumpkins have made in the past 15 years.

Stone Temple Pilots – Sex Type Thing – This song might be 21 years old, but it still wails like a newborn rock song. Maybe one of my favorite guitar riffs of all-time…

Thrice – Under A Killing Moon – Besides drummer Riley Breckenridge being one of the nicest dudes of all-time, Thrice made some phenomenal aggressive music. This may border on too hard for many of you, but it does the trick for me.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll – A-Trak Radio Edit – Just the right combination of electronica and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs…

Best easy running songs
The Arcade Fire – Rebellion (Lies) – Easy to get lost in a lot of songs by this band.

AWOLNATION – Kill Your Heroes – Hard to think a song with “kill your heroes” in the title is a good mellow song, but it is…

Blue October – She’s My Ride Home – One of my wife’s favorite running songs. Heavy on echoing guitars, but with just enough gruff in the chorus to make it very run-able.

Bruce Springsteen – I’m On Fire – One of my all-time favorite Bruce songs

Coldplay – Talk (Junkie XL Remix) – Most regular Coldplay is just a tad to mellow to run to, but this electronica-infused remix is good for those slow-to-medium paced runs.

Kid Cudi – Day N Nite – Might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I find this beat very hynotic on a slower run.

Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy – As is the case with a lot of Massive Attack songs, this has a really big, cinematic sound.

The Postal Service – Such Great Heights – If you’ve ever watched a television commercial in the past five years, you can’t possibly claim to have never heard this song.

The Roots – The Seed 2.0 – My favorite song by Jimmy Fallon’s sidekicks…

Tom Petty – Runnin’ Down a Dream – The coolest song with “running” in the title/chorus? I typically find Tom Petty a little too mellow to run to with the exception of this song…

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – In Motion – Trent Reznor has made a fine post-NIN career making really cool and unique music for awesome movies.

Voxhaul Broadcast – Leaving on the 5th – Saw these guys open for Airborne Toxic Event. They definitely have the current alt-radio sound if you are into that sort of thing.

Best steady state songs
30 Seconds to Mars – Vox Populi – The indie music fanboy in me would like to say I don’t like the band that’s fronted by Jared Leto… but I can’t help myself. That’s one damn handsome dude with a good set of lungs. Wait, what?!?

Airborne Toxic Event – All At Once – TATE’s got some great easy day to medium-tempo running songs. The steady drumbeat along with the ever increasing intensity/volume of the guitars will keep you going mile after mile.

Angels and Airwaves – The Adventure – I was bummed when Blink-182 broke up, but the subsequent albums by AVA have more than made up for the few years of lost Blink material. I consider myself a huge fan of both. This song sounds like U2 singing the Cure.

The Ataris – Teenage Riot – I have no idea if this band is around anymore (quick Wikipedia check – yes, they are), but if you were a single, somewhat jaded dude in the early part of the 2000s, this was your band. They got famous for covering Don Henley, but they are/were much more than that…

Bloc Party – Banquet – Bloc Party is a band I could listen to every single day and not get tired of. In fact, most days, I do. For me, this might be the greatest “running” band of all-time. Expect a healthy dose of Bloc Party on the upcoming playlists.

The Darkness – I Believe In A Thing Called Love – If you first heard this song, you’d think it was more from 1982 than 2002. These guys haven’t really hit it big since this great song, but this song is proof you can still make the classic rock sound in the modern era.

Dropkick Murphy’s – Fortunate Son – The Dropkick Murphy’s aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. They might be a little too gritty and scream-y for some, but I love this cover of the CCR classic.

Good Charlotte – The River – Good Charlotte might be the first band I’d ever “heard of” before they got remotely famous. I was a big fan before they ever had a cd released. I got to meet them at a concert at the Quest (now Epic) Club in the Cities. Despite the fact that most of their fans were teenage girls and they wound up more famous for being in US Weekly than their music, they were incredibly nice guys. They still are on my list of favorite guilty pleasure bands.

Green Day – Welcome to Paradise – One of my favorite live bands ever, Green Day’s energy infused punk rock is fantastic for running. However, a listen to their four latest albums has taught me a simple math equation. Green Day’s older music >>>>>> Green Day’s new music

Guns N Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine – It’s almost comical these guys can’t put their differences aside. Could Axl Rose decide to show up to concerts on time and the remaining “real” members of GNR (Slash, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum) decide to put their dislike for Axl aside, their is literally $500 million sitting on the table in a year long stadium team. The band is the perfect 80s rock band and this song is flawless.

Kele – Tenderoni – Kele’s side project feature much more electronica-influenced music than his main band – Bloc Party.

LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out – “Don’t Call It a Comeback!” is a lyric that is nearly 23 years old and still hits hard.

The Matches – Sick Little Suicide – This is a fairly good song by a fairly unknown band. I’ve long maintained that it’s hard to not feel good while listening to some ska-influenced music.

Midtown – Still Trying – It was incredibly sad to see this great band break-apart only to eventually form Cobra Starship. For my money, “Living Well Is the Best Revenge” is as good of a pop-punk album as you’ll ever see.

Motley Crue – Dr. Feelgood – Much like Kid Rock, Motley Crue doesn’t rank incredibly high on the lists of intellectual rock, but something about this band still gets you going.

My Chemical Romance – Sing – This band just broke up this year. I was bummed. While they were never my favorite band, I knew they were going to consistently release 3 songs per album that were going to be fantastic additions to my running playlists.

The Offspring – The Kids Aren’t Alright – I was introduced to this song in 2000 thanks to my purchase of the “Woodstock 99” dvd. A year later, I saw the Offspring in concert and was blown away with how good they were live. They’re still around and kicking (playing 90 minutes from my hometown later this summer!) Basically, they are doing what I hoped My Chemical Romance would do (having 3 decent songs per album that I can run to).

Pearl Jam – Even Flow – It’s hard to imagine that at one point, it was Eddie Vedder and company versus Kurt Cobain and company to determine who was the single biggest band on the planet. As Rolling Stone said, Pearl Jam spent literally a decade trying to tear apart their own fame. It’s tough to beat Ten, Vs. and Vitalogy, though.

Reggie and the Full Effect – Congratulations Smack + Katy – Listening to this song, you can hear some influences to the direction pop-punk took over the next decade.

Slaughterhouse – My Life – Right now, Slaughterhouse hits my rap music sweet spot. This song featuring Cee-Lo is almost a throwback to a better era in hip-hop. I really like the thought of Cee-Lo as the new Nate Dogg. Let’s make this happen…

Third Eye Blind – Graduate – This is kind of a forgotten 90s radio song (strangely, as is a lot of 3EB’s work…), but it’s got enough tempo and grit to make it a really good running song.

TV On the Radio – Wolf Like Me – This is one of those bands that was always showing up on critical year end lists. I didn’t quite get it. I liked them, but I didn’t think they were anything remarkable. Then I heard “Wolf Like Me.” For reasons unbeknownst to me, I’ve connected with this song.

U2 – Mofo – This is by far the most un-U2 sounding song I’ve ever heard. The Pop-era of U2 features much more pop and dance elements than you are used to hearing. I really enjoy watching the ZooTV tour dvd which features this song as the opener.

Wolfmother – Joker and the Thief – It’s funny that this is the song off of Wolfmother’s debut album that has sort of “stuck.” It’s the sixth (!!!) single off their debut album.

Best Running Music Ever – Week 1

Usain-Bolt-New-Headphones

I’ve been a runner since February of 2002. Over that 11+ years (and counting), I’ve run a lot of miles. I’d guess that 85-90% of those miles have been solo miles. My training partner has been my iPod and my numerous running music playlists. Or rather, my numerous iPods (that I seem to burn through every 6-12 months). The circumference of the Earth is 24,901 miles. If I were to estimate, I’d gather I’ve run the equivalent of halfway around the entire earth with an iPod on listening to running music. When you run that many miles, you can’t listen to “Eye of the Tiger” or “Don’t Stop Believing” on repeat over and over again. Running that many miles requires a variety of running music. After years of doing this, I’ve decided to come up with what I consider the greatest running music playlist ever. The “Best Running Music Ever” playlist is going to be 100 new songs each week for a complete 12 week training cycle. Each week has a collection of slower songs for your easy days and some more adrenaline pumping songs for those tough workout days. I’ve spent hours and hours putting this together, so I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

If you don’t already have Spotify, head over to Spotify and download the software for you Mac or PCs. If you want to use Spotify on mobile devices (which I highly recommend), there is a $10 monthly subscription.

Best workout songs
Bill Conti – Gonna Fly Now – Half of the reason I put together this list was simply because all of the lists of running songs on the internet seem to include the same 10 songs they always blast before races (Chariots of Fire, Born to Run, Eye of the Tiger, etc). So, of course, my first song on the list is a song that has been beat to death over the past 35 years. It’s a song that inspires me to run fast, though, so it makes the cut.

Blur – Song 2 – “Song 2” is another song that’s been played a million times in a million different sports arenas. I’m guessing 20 years from now, drunk people at bars are still going to be singing “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Sweet Caroline” because they are good songs for the occasion. In the same way, “Song 2” will be around forever because it’s a good pump up song.

Kanye West – Power – “Power” is a song with lyrics that inspire me to run faster. The song is very dark and anthemic, yet the word “power” gives me some really strong mental energy during runs.

Muse – New Born – Songs that increase the tempo or intensity are my favorite songs to run to. This song starts off with a minimalist piano/bass riff for about the first minute before being hit with some ever increasing distorted guitars and drums. Fantastic workout song!

Shiny Toy Guns – Ricochet! – Shiny Toy Guns has some success, in the mid-2000s only to replace their female co-lead singer. I preferred the first singer (Carah Faye Charnow) to the new one (Sisely Treasure), but I find this song – featuring the lead singer I don’t like as much – a perfect workout running song.

Sleigh Bells – Comeback Kid – Sleigh Bells is not everyone’s cup of tea. I can easily how some people would listen to this song and think it’s the shining example of exactly what is wrong with music. In some strange way, the melody of this song is secondary to the sheer noise. Their is something I find oddly catchy about this band, though.

Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – Immigrant Song – I know some fans of Led Zeppelin will think the inclusion of this song on the list is sacrilegious. I thought, as far as covers go, this is a fantastic homage to the first song. The combination of Reznor and Karen O turns this into a wonderful running song.

Best easy day songs
Band of Horses – The Funeral – A hauntingly beautiful song that both pulls at your heartstrings while managing to somewhat rock, “The Funeral” is one of the best songs you’ll ever listen to.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Home – Shortly after Mumford & Sons started banjo-ing their way towards world dominance, a little band that seemingly features 100 different people released one of the most beautiful indie rock songs of the past 10 years.

Emancipator – First Snow (Ooah Remix) – This song always makes me smile. It’s the second song featured my movie debut which I’m incredibly thankful for. For a really mellow song, I can actually fairly fast to this one.

Grimes – Oblivion – Grimes is one of those bands you’ll never hear on mainstream radio, but the college radio scene loves them. Not a song that I’d love to run an 800 as fast as possible too, but it’s a good slow song with enough of a beat that you can run to it on your easy days.

Massive Attack – Teardrop – If you’ve ever watched the show “House” (or about a million movie/tv/video game trailers), you’ve no doubt heard this song. This song is the musical equivalent of taking your daily vitamins.

Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody – It’s impossible for me to hear this song and not think of Wayne’s World. I’ve thrown this song on during the middle of a long run and really enjoyed it. The combination of a song that’s ironically funny (What other song can claim a classic comedy scene AND the greatest arrest video of all time) along with being a legitimately good song.

Phoenix – Liztomania (Alex Metric Rmx) – You could easily run to the non-remixed version of this song, but the remix gives this song a little more bump while retaining the best elements of the original. Sometimes 20% different gives a little more life to songs… especially while working out.

The Shins – Simple Song – The Shins are too laid back to run fast to, but they have a collection of fantastic music that’s great for a nice relaxing run outside.

Smoke & Jackal – This band combines two of my favorite things of Mona (underrated lead singer Nick Brown) and Kings of Leon (addictive basslines from Jared Followill).

The Streets – Blinded by the Lights – In my lifetime, I’ve probably run 500 miles while this song has been buzzing in my earphones. The electronic beat along with the addicting chorus make this song a perfect song for your easy days.

U2 – No Line on the Horizon – This song borders on being more appropriate for a steady state run. When “No Line on the Horizon” came out, the reception was anything but positive. I think the album has some really good cuts, though. This one in particular is great for losing yourself on a run.

The xx – Crystalized – A very stripped down and airy song by a band that does nothing but stripped down and airy songs. This isn’t the song you’d want to hear playing at mile 23 of a marathon, but it’s a great song to occupy your mind during the middle of an easy run.

Best steady state running songs
The Airborne Toxic Event – Sometime Around Midnight – One of the most underrated songs of the past 10 years. Fantastic build-up for running. This would be a good song in the early part of a run. Starts pretty relaxed and gradually builds with each verse.

The Black Keys – Lonely Boy – If you are even remotely into rock music (doesn’t matter the era or sub-genre you prefer) and you aren’t listening to the Black Keys, you are certainly doing something wrong.

Brand New – The Quiet Things No One Ever Knows – Fantastic band that does a fantastic job of mixing musical emotions in songs. Would be a great song for a “musical fartlek” – run hard during the intense, distorted guitar parts and run a little slower during the less intense verses.

Florence + The Machine – Shake It Out – The song has a real anthem feel to it. I really appreciate the unique instrumentation featuring a tambourine, an organ, and much more.

Foo Fighters – Everlong – Quite possibly my favorite Foo Fighters song of all-time, this is a steady state running staple. The steady drum beat and guitars will help those middle miles of a run seem to just fly by.

Futureheads – Hounds of Love – I’d place this song in the first third of any running playlist. I appreciate a good “oh oh oh” to sing along with on a bike path when no one is around to hear me singing.

Head Automatica – Brooklyn is Burning – Love the steady drum beat and memorable guitar riff. This is going to sound ridiculous to you, but the lead singer Daryl Palumbo suffers from Crohn’s disease. Just about any experience runner has experienced the “runner trots.” I hear this song and I always remind myself how lucky I am that I don’t have to deal with “the trots” on a daily basis. Inspiring stuff, huh?

Jimmy Eat World – Sweetness – I can run to just about any of JEW’s uptempo music (no, that’s not a racial slur, but actual abbreviation used for Jimmy Eat World). For me, Jimmy Eat World hits the running music sweet spot.

Justice – D.A.N.C.E. – I actually was introduced to this song, of all things, through a cover by Wale (I think it’s called W.A.L.E.D.A.N.C.E.) If you like bands like Daft Punk or Kavinsky (the French really seem to have a monopoly on catchy dance music), you’ll probably like this as well.

The Killers – All These Things I’ve Done – Some songs have one little section so perfect, it’s worth listening to a 4-5 minute song for one little bit. The “I got soul, but I’m not a soldier” bridge near the end of the song is one of those moments that I always dig when I’m on a run.

M83 – Midnight City – A very atmospheric feel to this song along with a steady drum beat and a great non-lyrical chorus (I’m guessing there is an actual musical term for a chorus without lyrics, but I don’t know it) make this a fantastic running song. Plus, how many songs can you honestly say feature a saxophone solo?

Mutemath – Blood Pressure – The Wikipedia page for Mutemath claims: “The single “Blood Pressure” has given them significant exposure via VH1.” Is that even possible? When is the last time you’ve been “exposed” to a song via VH1. I’m thinking it was Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” circa 1997.

Outkast – Gasoline Dreams – Stankonia remains my favorite Outkast album (although competition is fierce). Love this hip hop song featuring drums and a distorted electric guitar that still manages not to sound like a Limp Bizkit song.

Queens of the Stone Age – 3’s & 7s – Fantastic guitar riff to open the song that connects the entire song. I’ve often wished this song was maybe tick faster which would make it perfect for the later parts of a running playlist. Out of curiosity, I once played the live version and synced it with the recorded version. Just like I thought, they play it just a touch faster live.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Give It Away – It makes me feel about 100 years old to think that children conceived when this song was released are now 21 years old. The early 90s RHCP stuff is all pretty good for steady state running.

Sam Sparro – Black and Gold – I don’t know if this song is popular or not. I thought I was the only one who’d heard it simply because it was on FIFA 09 which I played during my lunch break every single day for about a year. Then, it showed up as a song featured on “The Voice.” Either way, it’s got enough bounce and a steady beat to make it a good running song.

Sponge – Plowed – A classic 90s rock song that I somehow didn’t discover until 10 years later when I listened to the 90s station at work on satellite radio. The epic guitar intro gets me pumped every single time I hear it out on a run.

Stereophonics – My Own Worst Enemy – This is one of those strange “new” songs that’s featured on a greatest hits album. Strangely, it’s my favorite song by Stereophonics and I’ve also found it makes a good middle-of-the-run, pounding-the-pavement running tune.

Two Door Cinema Club – I Can Talk – A strange combination of dance-punk and synthpop, Two Door Cinema Club has a number of songs that are “run-able” but this one tops the list for me.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Head Will Roll – I’ll often run to the remix by A-Trak, but the original is a killer running song. It’s been strange to watch Karen O evolve from a gothy-looking indie chick into a strange female amalgamation of David Bowie and Cee-Lo Green, but the music still rocks.

Yellowcard – October Nights – This band has seemed to fade away which I found unfortunate since so many of their songs are so good to run to. The song is under-produced compared to their future releases, but it’s a great medium tempo running tune.