What is Running Music?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth
Handheld MP3 player loaded with running music.
Handheld MP3 player loaded with running music.

From the jogger who is moving only a little faster than walking speed to the world-class athlete preparing for a marathon, running is a widely popular international pastime. Even athletes whose sport is not running include running in their exercise regimen. For many who put in the hours running, running music — the tunes of whatever sort that they listen to while they put one foot in front of the other — is an important part of their running routine.

Running music helps keep people energized while exercising.
Running music helps keep people energized while exercising.

Although running music means different things to different people, the advent of MP3 players and sport kits to make them convenient for runners to carry has made running music more accessible than ever before. With the player securely attached to one’s arm, on a belt clip, or in one’s pocket and in-ear headphones or earbuds the days of having to hold the device in one’s hand in order to hear running music are over.

Music can be a great motivator during exercise.
Music can be a great motivator during exercise.

Tastes in running music differ considerably. Some people like the radio because they always hear something new. This is fine if the reception holds up for your full workout. Others prefer “Golden Oldies” and travel with their mix of old favorites ready to go. Some people like upbeat music to help them stay energized sometimes favoring material from the hip-hop or rap genres. And other people prefer motivational songs, especially for parts of their workout in which they may struggle.

Many people like to use MP3 players to listen to music while running.
Many people like to use MP3 players to listen to music while running.

Pandora® free Internet radio is another option for running music. With this online service, the user creates an Internet radio station by choosing a genre or artist, for example. Based on its proprietary analysis of the elements of music, Pandora® then plays similar music that the user is likely to appreciate.

Running music is so important to so many people that it is common for people to share their favorite playlists on the Internet. RunningMusicMix® goes this one better and specializes in running music, classifying songs by beat per minute (BPM). This means that a user can use music not only for motivation but also to help pace their speed.

Exercise music on the go was once played on portable CD players, but today's runners prefer listening to digital music on much smaller portable devices.
Exercise music on the go was once played on portable CD players, but today's runners prefer listening to digital music on much smaller portable devices.

An alternative means to a similar end is Cadence™, an iPhone® app that allows you to set the BPM you want. The app responds by playing your music to that speed. A desktop version analyzes your iTunes songs for their BPM values to help create a set of running music playlists of the BPM values that suit you.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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Discussion Comments

Sporkasia

Running with music is better for runners who run on treadmills in predictable environments like in work out centers. When you are running outside you are better served to be aware of your surroundings. Getting too wrapped up in your tunes can lead you into some dangerous situations.

Laotionne

Without some type of entertainment, I would be unable to spend any time on the treadmills at the gym. I get so bored. Usually, I try to read, but to be honest, I would rather watch the TV and just zone out.

Maybe if I can find some specific type of music for running I will be able to focus more and maybe I can even enjoy running a little. Honestly, I absolutely hate getting on the treadmill day after day. This is a major chore for me. I'm sure if I enjoyed my time on the treadmill more then I would do a better job of sticking with it.

Drentel

I never ran with any running music when I was running regularly, but if I had used music then my choice would definitely have been something upbeat, like this article mentions. Some of the hard rock I grew up listening to would be perfect because the music gives you the energy to push yourself.

When I was in high school, our coaches played this type of music before football games and this really motivated us and got us excited to go out and play football. Isn't it strange how music can change your mood?

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    • Handheld MP3 player loaded with running music.
      Handheld MP3 player loaded with running music.
    • Running music helps keep people energized while exercising.
      Running music helps keep people energized while exercising.
    • Music can be a great motivator during exercise.
      By: Subbotina Anna
      Music can be a great motivator during exercise.
    • Many people like to use MP3 players to listen to music while running.
      By: Deklofenak
      Many people like to use MP3 players to listen to music while running.
    • Exercise music on the go was once played on portable CD players, but today's runners prefer listening to digital music on much smaller portable devices.
      By: Mariusz Blach
      Exercise music on the go was once played on portable CD players, but today's runners prefer listening to digital music on much smaller portable devices.
    • Music can help make time pass more quickly while jogging.
      By: Maridav
      Music can help make time pass more quickly while jogging.
    • Individuals whose exercises require significant movement should invest in a pair of headphones that can be clipped into place.
      By: AntonioDiaz
      Individuals whose exercises require significant movement should invest in a pair of headphones that can be clipped into place.