Your feet seem heavier as they hit the pavement. The strain on your leg muscles transcends into an ache that makes every stride laborious. Your heart is shrieking in your ears. Amidst this increased struggle you find yourself questioning how much further your body can go; the temptation to stop becomes an all-consuming one. A change of tempo or a quick snack may remedy the situation, but more often than not it is a mental stimulant that is needed. Whether running a marathon or simply taking a jog in the park, scientists have proven that our bodies perform best when our minds are distracted. To this end, running music performs a vital task; not only by engaging our ears, but also through the synchronisation of electrical signals in the brain, lulling our feet into a rhythmic movement and propelling us towards the finish line.
Of course, not all music performs this task to equal effect and anyone who’s ever found themselves throwing fake punches at the slightest sound of the Rocky soundtrack will know that it takes a special song to get the adrenalin pumping.
The best running songs are so rhythmic that you’ll want to air drum with your feet. Go crazy with this classic The Who track. But not ‘Keith Moon crazy’…
From the raw sound of The Who’s Teenage wastelands to the electronic beat of The Edge of Glory. Here Lady Gaga combines Clarence Clemons’s sax solos with a catchy chorus to create a pop anthem worthy of its place on any running play list.
Talking of Clarence, who could forget Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run? With a fast-paced tempo, soaring vocals and care-free lyrics, this 1975 song is one of The Boss’s finest.
Eminem may be referencing the pressures of a rapper trying to make it in the music industry, but his closing words of advice can just as easily be applied to the road: ‘You can do anything you set your mind to’.
Maybe you’re running down your own hellish highway. If so, then AC/DC surely has the cure, in fact they have a whole back catalogue of them, with Thunderstruck and You Shook me All Night Long also fighting for a place on the list.
This Queen classic is as about ‘feel-good’ as they get. If you ever need to convince yourself that you’re ‘having a ball’ as you slog it out on the road then look no further.
No running play list is complete without this track. You needn’t have even watched Rocky to understand that this ‘80s anthem is equivalent to a mental nitro boost.