Music for Every Running Moment

Every run presents a challenge. Maybe you’re tackling a run rife with hills (aka developmental opportunities). Perhaps you’re staring down a daunting session of intervals at the track.

It’s not easy to face these challenges alone. Having the company of others helps. But, sometimes this isn’t an option (or isn’t enough).

Fortunately, you can get help in a hurry if you’ve got some headphones. Dial up the right track at the right moment and magic can happen.

Below are some of my favorite tracks to dial up when the need arises. Be warned, my taste tends towards the eclectic. But, I’m pretty sure at least one of these tracks will help you rock your run.

Locking in your pace for a long run

If I’m heading out for a long run, I need tracks that help me get into an easy, comfortable rhythm. I tend to stay away from anything aggressive or uptempo. I want a jam that will help me lock in my pace from the get-go.

One of my favorite tracks to dial up for a long run is Giorgio Moroder’s ‘Chase’. While it is considered disco, the song is more akin to EDM. This epic track is nearly 13:00 long. So, it’s likely you can cover a mile (or more) with a single listen to this one.

Chase has a rhythm that lends itself well to running of any kind. The track was created for the movie Midnight Express, which was released in 1978. Specifically, the track was created for a pivotal scene in the film that involves (shockingly) a chase.

So, if there was ever a track tailor made for a long run, it’s Giorgio Moroder’s ‘Chase’. Fun fact: Moroder is credited with pioneering synth disco and electronic dance music. He’s worked with just about everyone including Daft Punk.

The last mile

Speaking of Daft Punk, one of my favorite tracks to dial up for the LAST mile of a challenging run is ‘One More Time’. Released nearly 20 years ago, this track is their biggest commercial hit (to date) for good reason.

No matter how knackered I might be, the opening refrains of Daft Punk’s magnum opus always puts wind in my sails. There’s an undeniable optimism in this track that is infectious and reminds me I can always rally one more time.

While the lyrics don’t have anything to do with running, the message in the song is easily applicable to running. With lyrics such as, ‘We don’t stop, you can’t stop, we’re gonna celebrate, one more time,’ this track always helps me find a second (or third) wind.

If this track strikes a chord with you, ‘Around The World’, ‘Homework’, and pretty much anything else Daft Punk has churned out over the years will work for you.

Conquering a beastly hill

When you find yourself staring down a beastly hill, you need a track that will help lift you to higher ground. You need a track that will help you grind through this developmental opportunity. I’ve got just the track for you.

Crank up the Red Hot Chili Peppers cover of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Higher Ground’. This one is aggressive, uptempo, and merciless. You need a little aggression and absence of mercy to conquer a beastly hill. ‘Higher Ground’ will help you find this.

With Flea relentlessly shredding on guitar, Chad Smith leading an assault on drums, and Anthony Kiedis belting vocals, Higher Ground is akin to a quick hit of nitrous oxide. It is tailor made for helping you charge up that last hill. ‘Higher Ground’ can also come in handy for that last, lung-searing interval at the track.

If you dig this track, there are no shortage of great (aggressive) running tracks to be found on Mother’s Milk (the fourth studio album from the Red Hot Chili Peppers).

The original version of ‘Higher Ground’ by Stevie Wonder is incredible too, although I think it’s better suited for a long run.

Weathering the storm

Dark clouds loom on the horizon. The wind kicks up a notch. Sometimes the weather gods frown on you.

Heading out when the weather is less than ideal is always a challenge. Throwing on a rain slicker, hat, or extra layer may help. But, it might not be enough.

My go-to track for tackling a run during inclement weather is ‘Riders on the Storm’ by The Doors. This trippy, psychedelic track is backed by the constant sound of thunder and rain in the background.

Riders on the Storm is a slow-moving track well suited for short, medium, or long runs drenched with thunder and rain. I actually look forward to rainy days specifically so I can dial this one up.

If ‘Riders on the Storm’ resonates with you, there are plenty of great tracks from The Doors that you’ll likely enjoy having on your playlist. You can’t go wrong with ‘Break On Through’ and/or ‘L.A. Woman’.

Be warned, most of what The Doors cranked out is best suited for long, slow runs.

That final surge towards the finish line (and a personal best)

You’ve logged miles for months. You’ve visualized this moment countless times. Now, it’s right in front of you.

The finish line approaches. You see the numbers on the clock ticking away. A personal best is right there for the taking. You just have to go get it.

How bad do you want it? Would you die for it? Prince’s ‘I Would Die 4 U’ might be just what you need to conquer those last few strides.

This song (arguably) is about devotion, commitment, and love. Sound familiar? Undoubtedly, you’ve devoted yourself tirelessly to your training cycle to put yourself in this position.

If everything is feeling heavy and leaden, ‘I Would Die 4 U’ is bound to lighten your load. This track also clocks in at 180 BPM, so it’s guaranteed to help you increase your turnover, pick up the pace, and notch a personal best.


Want to hear more from Marathon Matt? Find out more about his coaching and running experience at www.marathonmatt.com!

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