Posted by: Joe English | May 21, 2008

Marathoners’ choice — What are the best songs for running?

Eye of the TigerNow here’s a subject that is going to cause some debate — and I hope to hear from you about it!

{This article has been around for awhile, but it continues to get lots of comments. Our new site has come on-line since we published this. When you click the link below to continue reading, you’ll be taken to the new site to finish reading the list and to add your comments with your favorite songs as well.}

Appropriately timed on the eve of the crowing of the next American Idol, the results of a new poll were released asking 3,000 marathon runners their favorite songs to run to.

Now these poll results were cited in an article in the UK, so if the poll was done in the UK as well then this might have impacted the outcome of the results.

But here were the top-10 songs marathoners named as their favorites:
1. Survivor: Eye of the Tiger
2. Queen: Don’t Stop Me Now
3. Spencer Davis Group: Keep on Running
4. Vangelis: Chariots of Fire
5. Kanye West: Stronger

To continue reading and to add your favorites to the comment list, click here.



  1. Those are good choices, but I would definitely add in “Pump It” by the Black Eyed Peas, “Lose Yourself” by Eminem and “Beautiful Day” by U2. πŸ™‚

  2. You forgot ‘Running On Empty’ by Jackson Browne. Run – Forrest – Run!!

  3. My PowerSong on Nike+ is, “Reason to Believe,” b y Dashboard Confessional.

    With lyrics like, “Steady lungs, don’t fail me now. I feel you bursting, but you won’t let me die,” it’s no wonder why I love to listen to this song when I run.

    I also recommend, “Girl’s Attractive,” by Diamond Nights, “Gimme More,” by Fredalba, and “Tick Tick Boom,” by the Hives.

  4. Hi Joe- I always rely on “take me to the river”- every version ever cut in succession- for those long trips down Leif Erickson and Thurman here in Portland. Or “be still my beating heart” by Sting of course.

  5. I love Sting’s song “Fill Her Up” from the Brand New Day album. It’s a fun song to run to, because it starts kind of tangy and country and then changes to jazzy and then has a big finish.

    Run Forest Run is right!

    Coach Joe

  6. It’s funny – but sometimes the more mellow songs get me to calm down and run faster… they help me breathe better. I’m a little obsessed with Gavin Degraw & Lenny Kravitz right now… and Madonna’s GHV2. Also PINK… anything PINK… for getting more juiced up!

  7. The Final Countdown- Europe – I play on repeat for 10k race

  8. The power song on my iPod is “Revolution” by The Beatles. Talk about a power boost!

    I also can’t do without “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith — perfect at the start of a race ; “Love Shack” by The B-52s; “My Sharona” by The Knack; and “Helter Skelter” by The Beatles.

    Yeah, kickin’ it, old school.:-))))))

  9. Running Down a Dream by Tom Petty is always a good one. I also keep a lot of live Widespread Panic on my iPod. Long jams that generally have the right beat that are easy to get lost in and before you realize it, you’ve run 2 miles in one song.

  10. Those are all great but my power boosters are You’re the best by Joe Esposito (from the Karate Kid), and Cruel Summer by Banaramma (same movie).

  11. the new song by 3 doors down – the champion in me.

  12. Learning to Fly by Tom Petty is very inspirational, and the Superman theme!

  13. I thought I was the only one who still liked Eye of the Tiger by Survivor. The original Rocky theme song, Gonna Fly Now is also pretty good. Another good song is Flo Rida, “Lo”. I agree ACDC is another good one.

  14. Where the Streets Have No Name by U2! Where is that one? “I want to run, I want to feel high. I want to tear down the walls that hold me inside…” yeah!!

  15. when I saw the poll my first reaction was, “anyone hear of The Stills/Young Band ‘Long May You Run’?” I don’t run with music (I’m really old school) but I enjoy both running and music!

  16. till I collapse by eminem

  17. Mr Blue Sky be ELO always works well for me. For some reason seems to work well on the treadmill at at speed of 11.5KM, and other speed doesn’t seem quite right.
    I’ll try anything to keep me going on a treadmill! Can’t wait till the nice light evenings

  18. At the moment I start with I Ran, Flock of Seagulls, such an 80s chick. I cruise early on to some Jamiroquai (Corner of the Earth) and the John Buttler Trio (Oldman). There is also Devo, Whip It, early on for warm up fun. There is also lots of Foo Fighters(Generator, Hell, Free Me and Break Out) and ACDC on my playlist, perfect for the 150+ BPM tracks. At the 7km mark I have Maniac, Michael Sembello, which gets me going for some reason. Maybe that 80s influence again. The Knack, The Hard Way, is also a good one.

  19. Try X amount of words by Blue October. It’ll get you going.

  20. I started training for a half marathon and here are some songs that have gotten me through my runs:
    Coldplay “Death and All His Friends”
    Coldplay “Lovers in Japan”
    Aha “Take on Me”,
    The Cars “Drive”,
    Arcade Fire “Keep the Car Runnning”,
    Cake “Love you Madly”

  21. By the way Erin, Mr. Blue Sky is wonderful. I am adding that to my playlist now.

  22. good to see a killers song in that list. the whole “hot fuss” album is great to run to. also some of the b-sides on smashing pumpkins albums are great. thanks for the tip on bowie’s under pressure, i’ll add that one soon

  23. Time of My Life by David Cook.

  24. Love The Killers too but Scissor Sister I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’ and La Vie Boheme from the Rent soundtrack are both great.

  25. Knights of Cydonia by Muse!!!

  26. It’s a Long Way To The Top (if you want to rock and roll) by AC/DC is especially great when climbing a hill. The bag pipes will give you a “runner’s high” all by themselves!

  27. Going the Distance – Cake
    Best song to start a race to
    “reluctantly crouched at the starting line
    engines pumping and thumping in time
    the green light flashes, the flags go up
    churning and burning, he yearns for the cup
    he deftly maneuvers and muscles for rank
    fuel burning fast on an empty tank….”

  28. “dont stop me now” is definitely the best of them all. simply magnificent for running.


  29. Guys, you gotta try this one: “Ready, Steady, Go!” by Paul Oakenfold.
    It’s my power song.
    Enjoy it.

  30. I’m a slower runner so songs like Jerry Lee Lewis “Great Balls of Fire”, the Eagles “Get Over It”, and Ted Nugget, “Wango Tango” Have the right beats per minute for me.

  31. The Drop Kick Murphy’s -” I’m shipping Up to Boston” for those that like a little punk mixed with bagpipes … it really gets you going!

  32. I just ran the Basalt Colorado Half Marathon and couldn’t have done it without stumbling upon this series of songs on a borrowed iPod. From Mile 7 to the end, I kept repeating:

    ‘Heroin’ – Velvet Underground
    ‘Electioneering’ – Radiohead
    ”Till I Collapse’ – Eminem
    ‘Anything Can Happen’ – Wyclef Jean
    ‘Get Ur Freak On’ – Missy Elliott

  33. Hey Runners! I have a Rock N Run ™ CD that features 18 Rock Running Songs that will motivate and Inspire! I own the license to the songs and trademark name. The Cd is now available for only $10.00 which includes S&H. Great for Race Directors to use to give to runners as age group awards or part of entry fee : ) Runners like the idea and even download it to their ipod. Please visit my website at or emai me if any queations!

  34. My two favorite song to run to are “Have a Nice Day” by Bon Jovi and “Just Like a Pill” by Pink – I listened to these 2 songs on repeat while running the entire Boston marathon – definitely FANTASTIC motivators!!! πŸ™‚

  35. Boston- don’t look back
    Shiny Toy Guns- rainy monday
    Shiny Toy Guns- you are the one
    A Perfect Circle- the outsider
    Steve Vai- for the love of god
    King Tubby- big youth
    chevelle- jars

    If these don’t do the trick, then there’s something wrong with you.

  36. check out passion pit, most songs on their album “manners”, MGMT, Zepplin tunes like ramble on and kashmir. Green lemon, moby

  37. I like –
    Gabriela Cilmi – on a mission (for a final burst)
    Livin’ la Vida Loca – Ricky Martin
    Bohemian like you – The Dandy Warhols

    (I’m not very fast and I don’t mind a bit of cheese!)

  38. ‘Dare you to move’ Switchfoot is a song i’ve run to hundreds of times over the last 6 years, other good ones:
    still havent found what im looking for, U2,
    streets of philedelphia, bruce springsteen
    powerless, nelly furtado,
    happy, leona lewis,
    revelry, kings of leon,
    read my mind, the killers
    99 problems, Jay-z,
    i dont want to be, gavin degraw,
    go your own way, fleetwood mac,
    viva la vida, coldplay
    Bullet and a target, citizen cope
    I am so inspired to keep going when i listen to great songs, i could go on forever! i hope these songs make you persevere

  39. This is pretty much my play list. There is no better starting song than “The Distance” and I like the odd cake tune sprinkled in just to keep me in the rhythm. “Lose Yourself” picks me up like no other tune…don’t know what it is but it works for me.

    Cake – The Distance
    BEP – Imma Be
    Flo Rida – Right Round
    Linkn Park – In the End
    Limp Bizk – My way of the hwy
    MM – Beautiful People
    Pumpkins – Bullets with BF Wings
    Pumpkins – Zero
    Pumpkins – Rocket
    The Tea Party – Army Ants
    Eminem – Lose Yourself
    Cake – Love you madly
    I Mother Earth – One More Astronaut
    Rob Base – It takes two

  40. I change up my running playlist every now and then but it’ll always contain these two songs:

    Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap
    Move Along – The All-American Rejects


  41. The two songs that work for me are:
    Dance in New York by Thea Gilmore… ‘And I want to run, run, run fast as I can… I want to run, run, run so far from here, until the streets of Manhatten just tear this waster apart. No I don’t want to talk, I want to dance in New York.’ Brilliant song!

    And then Run by Amy Macdonald… ‘But I will run until my feet no longer run no more, and I will kiss until my lips no longer feel no more, and I will love until there’s nothing more to live for. Will you tell me when the day is done, cos I can’t run, I can’t run no more.

    • What an awesome song!!! Thea Gilmore.. ❀

  42. I always look for songs at around 90 beats per minute and try to synchronize my run pace with the beat (actually doubling to 2 steps for every beat). This site has some good lists of songs that meet that criteria:

  43. Cinderella man – Eminem
    Dolla – Fort minor
    Good day – Nappy roots
    Good Feeling – Flow rida
    Hip hop saved my life – Lupe fiasco
    I need a dollar – aloe blacc
    no church in the wild – Kanye and jay z
    ooh ahh – grits
    Rolling in the deep – Adele
    Run this town – Jay-z rihanna kanye
    Seven nation army – the white stripes
    Under the bridge – Red hot chili peppers
    We are young – Fun. ft Janelle monae

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