Running to the beat

It’s time to reorganize my running music.  I enjoy incorporating new songs into my workout music and it’s a good thing since I get tired of hearing the same songs over and over.

While reorganizing, I’ve decided to have 2 different playlists for running.  One will be for my easy, recovery, zone 2 runs and the other will be for my track workouts, hills repeats, and races (when allowed).

It’s easy to find music for the first playlist.  In fact, most of my music falls into this category.  Did you know that most of the pop songs only have 130 beats per minute?  It’s a little more difficult to find the music with a fast beat that is needed for race day.

The reason I’m looking for such fast music is because my cadence usually matches the beat of the music.  One time in physical therapy it was pointed out to me that I was doing my exercises to the beat of the music.  I guess it’s natural to follow the beat of the music.  Well, I’ll put the music to work and hope to get my legs to turn over as quickly as they can.  Since an ideal cadence is 180 (90 per foot) footstrikes per minute, that’s what I’m aiming for.  By the way, I’m nowhere close to 180, but it’s a goal for my track workouts.  I’m not sure it’s realistic on the trails.

Here’s a little blurb I found on cadence.

“Cadence and Stride Length

Your running speed is determined by your cadence also referred to as stride frequency (how often your feet hit the ground) and your stride length (the distance between one footstrike and the next).

You can run faster by increasing one or both of these characteristics. In the Core Running method, you keep your cadence fairly constant across all speeds. You increase your stride length to increase your speed.

There’s evidence that ideal running cadence at moderate or fast is about 180 footstrikes per minute or 90 footstrikes with each foot. With Core Running, we use a range to set our cadence from 160 to 190 footstrikes per minute (or 80 to 95 footstrikes with each foot).

You would use a lower cadence during slower running speeds such as your recovery runs and easy runs while the faster cadence is for speedwork and racing shorter distances. Use the following guidelines to set your cadence:

  • 80 – 85 footstrikes/minute – recovery and easy pace runs
  • 90 footstrikes/minute – moderate running pace, races of 5km or longer
  • 95+ footstrikes/minute – speedwork, races under 5km

(Note: the number indicates total number of footstrikes for one foot.)”

Borrowed from


Some songs that I’ve found with a high bpm are:

Paper Planes

Dancing with Myself


Everlasting Light

Rock Lobster

There are several songs that are good for getting pumped up, but don’t actually have a high bpm (Check the actual bpm if you want to work on your cadence.).  One example is AC/DC’s You Shook me all Night Long (for those of you who know me, does this surprise you?).  And, U2 has a few songs that are great, too!

What’s your favorite workout song?  Do you know the beats per minute?

Wanna read more about music and your cadence?

This is a great link……there are song lists categorized by different bpm.


2 thoughts on “Running to the beat

  1. Pingback: My Favorite Running Songs | EDH Runner

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