Music can be a powerful motivator.

Perhaps that’s why a 2016 Runner’s World survey found that more than half of dedicated runners (61 percent, to be precise) prefer to run with tunes cranking through their earbuds—at least when they’re on the treadmill.

Best Running Playlist

The right playlist can pump you up and fill you with energy, improve your mood, and even help you keep a consistent pace. There’s even some research confirming that a song that puts you “in the zone” can even decrease stress and block internal feelings of fatigue and exertion—to the point that you are able to go faster and longer than you otherwise could.

So, what should you put in that playlist? Really, the right answer is “whatever works for you,” but we thought we’d have a little fun and make some additional suggestions.

We asked around a bit, so we’re going to try to cover a bit of hip hop, a bit of rock, a bit of the 80s, and who knows—maybe even some jazz and opera. Something for everybody!

  • Imagine Dragons, “Thunder.” Are you a young gun looking to let loose? Or just a runner looking for more motivation? Try this spin from 2017.

imagine dragons



  • C. and The Sunshine Band, “Boogie Shoes.” Warning: boogie shoes are not an appropriate substitute for running shoes during your workout.
  • The Darkness, “I Believe in a Thing Called Love.” Just listen to the rhythm of your heart.
  • Vangelis, “Theme from Chariots of Fire.” Okay, technically the film is about sprinters, not distance runners. Doesn’t matter. You can’t argue with the most iconic running theme of all time.
  • Richard Wagner, “Ride of the Valkyries.” Who says pop, rock, and hip hop are the only acceptable genres for exercise? If you want your run to feel like an epic ride to the gates of Valhalla, then this is what you need.
  • Mikhail Glinka, “Ruslan and Lyudmila Overture.” Russian opera? Why not! Based on an epic fairy tale of a kidnapped princess and the brave knight sent to rescue her, this instrumental overture is well known among classical music fans for its heroic character (and breakneck pace).


  • Sonny Rollins, “St. Thomas.” The first half (before the drum solo) might be a tad on the slow side for a running song, but it has a great steady drum pulse and one of the sunniest melodies in jazz history on tenor saxophone. The second half (including the piano solo) is pure workout zen.
  • Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, “Free for All.” Blakey was a drummer, so perhaps it isn’t surprising that many of his compositions have a great driving rhythm. If you like jazz, the title track of this album is especially great for running.

Whew, that’s a pretty good list for now. We know everyone has their own taste, but hopefully we’ve been able to add one or two new songs to your workout mix!

Of course, while music can be a great way to help you power through a difficult run, you should never try to “power through” any activity where you’re suffering from real pain.

If your feet or ankles are truly hurting, that’s an indication you have an injury that needs to be addressed. Ignore it, and it will only get more severe.

Instead, bring your feet and ankles down to Carmel Foot Specialists. We offer specialty treatments for runners and athletes, including advanced options like laser therapy, acoustic therapy, and more. These techniques are designed to kick your natural healing mechanisms into overdrive, so you can rehab and return as quickly as possible.

To book an appointment, please call the office closest to you today:

  • Myers Park: (704) 334-8682
  • South Charlotte: (704) 542-8253