There is no tried and true method of creating the best running playlist possible. A lot of it depends on the person. What kind of music do you like? How rigid or loose are you? Where are you running? If you’re taking a stroll outside in the Antarctic tundra during a blizzard, then you might be in the mood for something a little bit different than if you’re jogging in Death Valley during a season high. To each his own, but here are the best bits of advice we’ve accumulated over the years.
First of all, don’t go without. Exercise is a great way to augment your mood (among other more fun activities that need not be discussed here), and a great way to complement the benefits of exercise happens through music. Because you’re less focused on the exercise itself, the stress of that exercise is reduced as your attention is split.
The science is sort of iffy when it comes to whether or not you should choose music that synchronizes beats per minute with your running pace. If this sounds like something you think might help you, then first calculate your running pace by counting steps per minute. Do it on more than one occasion to ensure accuracy. Whatever number you get, that’s equivalent to the beats per minute of the songs you’ll want to add to your playlist. If this approach doesn’t get your mojo flowing, then that’s no problem. We still recommend you stay away from “Thousand” which holds the record for highest beats per minute, or any songs that you can only hear once every five seconds because they’re so slow. Be smart about what you choose.
You might opt to stay away from heavy metal. It might energize you, but it’s not exactly inspirational. Find something that puts you in a good mood, and stay away from sad songs that leave you feeling down in the dumps.
Like all playlists, it should tell a story–an exercise story. How do you run? Do you start slow and work yourself up to a decent pace? Do you sprint until you’re half-dead? Do you engage in a cool-down period toward the end of your workout? Take these questions into consideration when deciding what’s best for you. If you start slow, then the first songs you hear should be on the slow side too. If you end with a sprint, then the fastest songs should be at the end of the list. This is also a good way to plan exactly how long you want your runs to last. You do not want to be in a slip and fall accident in NY.
At the end of the day, a big part of your running playlist needs to be based off of what you like to listen to the most, even if it’s a little too slow or a little too fast for someone else. Maybe you prefer the absurdity of System Of A Down or the Celine Dion love song in Titanic or a grandiose boss battle theme in your favorite video game. Whatever floats your boat, that’s what you should do. What works for us might not work for you. What’s important is that you try new things until you do find what works, and then carry on running at a comfortable pace!