Movement

How to Pick Music to Power a Run

By Nike Running

Choose the Right Music to Power Your Run

The right song and beat can push you to run stronger—and to enjoy your workout more.

Research has shown that the right song and beat can push you to run stronger—and to enjoy your workout more. So whether you’re planning an easy 5K, or looking to push yourself, curating the perfect playlist can help get you there. Read on to find out more.

Whether you’re mixing a 30-minute playlist for an easy 5K or building an epic soundtrack for a long run, choosing the right music can help you feel more energized, push your pace, log more miles, and create an overall positive vibe for your workout.

And you can start before you take your first step: playing pump-up tunes as you lace up may get you psyched for what’s ahead, according to research published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. One explanation is that listening to music has been shown to increase your brain’s levels of dopamine, a mood-boosting chemical, according to a study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. Other research shows that music in general can reduce stress. These positive effects can all motivate you to move.

Choose the Right Music to Power Your Run

Jamming out can be clutch if you’re looking to boost your performance gains too. Runners who listened to music while doing sprint intervals enjoyed their workout more with music than they did without it, according to a study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences. (Remember that when you need to gut out some tough intervals.) Cueing a loud and fast playlist can also coax you to run significantly longer, India-based researchers have found—and that extra amount of movement in itself can help you unwind and feel your best.

To reap the rewards music has to offer, you need to fine-tune your running playlist. Here’s how.

  1. Stick With Songs You Love
    Be picky with your tunes: skip the genres that make you feel meh and load up on music that you dig. Whether that’s the rhythmic drive of hip-hop or high-energy EDM, some research indicates that the more pumped you get about a song, the more it can boost your performance.
  2. Focus on the Feel-Good Stuff
    While you may like moody emo or soulful jazz, try to pick positive, high-energy songs for runs. According to research published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise, upbeat, motivational music can increase your power output during exercise and help you enjoy the workout more.
  3. Find the Ideal Beat
    Matching your music’s tempo to your training could be a simple way to run stronger. In a study published in the journal PLOS One, runners performed better when a prominent, consistent beat of motivational music matched their cadence, than they did when they ran without music. This is a form of auditory motor synchronization, similar to how a metronome helps a musician keep the beat. To get the performance benefit, you need to find songs with beats per minute (BPM) that sync with your running pace.

The tempo sweet spot for background music during exercise tends to be between 120 to 140 BPM, according to Costas Karageorghis, PhD, a professor in sport and exercise psychology at Brunel University London and author of Applying Music in Exercise and Sport. Anything in the lower end of that tempo range should help propel you on a casual, easy run. For harder runs, aim for the upper end of the range. (To determine a song’s BPM, you can find several calculators online, or you can estimate BPM by tapping out a song’s beat for 20 seconds, then multiplying that number by three.)

Choose the Right Music to Power Your Run

To get the performance benefit, you need to find songs with beats per minute (BPM) that sync with your running pace.

If you’re running an easy recovery pace or warming up, you might prefer tracks under 120 BPM, which can keep your heart rate and pace in check so you don’t push harder than you want to, suggests Karageorghis.

For speed work or days when you really want to challenge yourself, faster songs may provide the oomph you need to pick up the pace, found research in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Look for songs that are 140 BPM or higher.

Finally, listening to slower music post-exercise has been shown to lower blood pressure and pulse rate more quickly than listening to fast or no music does, reports a study from the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. In addition, listening to mellow music following a tough workout may also improve your mood, according to research Karageorghis published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

The fun part: Using this info to DJ different playlists and discover what works best to motivate you.

Get More Inspiration
For song ideas, check out the Nike playlists on Spotify and Apple Music. We’ve got specific playlists to power your long runs (listen now on Spotify and Apple Music) and speed runs (listen now on Spotify and Apple Music), plus playlists curated by athletes such as Shalane Flanagan and Eliud Kipchoge.

You can even listen to your tunes through the Nike Run Club App during guided runs. From the main screen, tap the music icon and choose one of the options: Apple Music (a subscription is required), Spotify (you’ll need a premium account), or other music. Songs will quiet down when coaching comes through, so you get the best of both worlds.

Choose the Right Music to Power Your Run

Move Forward

Download the Nike Run Club App now.

By Nike Running

Choose the Right Music to Power Your Run

The right song and beat can push you to run stronger—and to enjoy your workout more.

Research has shown that the right song and beat can push you to run stronger—and to enjoy your workout more. So whether you’re planning an easy 5K, or looking to push yourself, curating the perfect playlist can help get you there. Read on to find out more.

Whether you’re mixing a 30-minute playlist for an easy 5K or building an epic soundtrack for a long run, choosing the right music can help you feel more energized, push your pace, log more miles, and create an overall positive vibe for your workout.

And you can start before you take your first step: playing pump-up tunes as you lace up may get you psyched for what’s ahead, according to research published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. One explanation is that listening to music has been shown to increase your brain’s levels of dopamine, a mood-boosting chemical, according to a study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. Other research shows that music in general can reduce stress. These positive effects can all motivate you to move.

Choose the Right Music to Power Your Run

Jamming out can be clutch if you’re looking to boost your performance gains too. Runners who listened to music while doing sprint intervals enjoyed their workout more with music than they did without it, according to a study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences. (Remember that when you need to gut out some tough intervals.) Cueing a loud and fast playlist can also coax you to run significantly longer, India-based researchers have found—and that extra amount of movement in itself can help you unwind and feel your best.

To reap the rewards music has to offer, you need to fine-tune your running playlist. Here’s how.

  1. Stick With Songs You Love
    Be picky with your tunes: skip the genres that make you feel meh and load up on music that you dig. Whether that’s the rhythmic drive of hip-hop or high-energy EDM, some research indicates that the more pumped you get about a song, the more it can boost your performance.
  2. Focus on the Feel-Good Stuff
    While you may like moody emo or soulful jazz, try to pick positive, high-energy songs for runs. According to research published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise, upbeat, motivational music can increase your power output during exercise and help you enjoy the workout more.
  3. Find the Ideal Beat
    Matching your music’s tempo to your training could be a simple way to run stronger. In a study published in the journal PLOS One, runners performed better when a prominent, consistent beat of motivational music matched their cadence, than they did when they ran without music. This is a form of auditory motor synchronization, similar to how a metronome helps a musician keep the beat. To get the performance benefit, you need to find songs with beats per minute (BPM) that sync with your running pace.

The tempo sweet spot for background music during exercise tends to be between 120 to 140 BPM, according to Costas Karageorghis, PhD, a professor in sport and exercise psychology at Brunel University London and author of Applying Music in Exercise and Sport. Anything in the lower end of that tempo range should help propel you on a casual, easy run. For harder runs, aim for the upper end of the range. (To determine a song’s BPM, you can find several calculators online, or you can estimate BPM by tapping out a song’s beat for 20 seconds, then multiplying that number by three.)

Choose the Right Music to Power Your Run

To get the performance benefit, you need to find songs with beats per minute (BPM) that sync with your running pace.

If you’re running an easy recovery pace or warming up, you might prefer tracks under 120 BPM, which can keep your heart rate and pace in check so you don’t push harder than you want to, suggests Karageorghis.

For speed work or days when you really want to challenge yourself, faster songs may provide the oomph you need to pick up the pace, found research in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Look for songs that are 140 BPM or higher.

Finally, listening to slower music post-exercise has been shown to lower blood pressure and pulse rate more quickly than listening to fast or no music does, reports a study from the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. In addition, listening to mellow music following a tough workout may also improve your mood, according to research Karageorghis published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

The fun part: Using this info to DJ different playlists and discover what works best to motivate you.

Get More Inspiration
For song ideas, check out the Nike playlists on Spotify and Apple Music. We’ve got specific playlists to power your long runs (listen now on Spotify and Apple Music) and speed runs (listen now on Spotify and Apple Music), plus playlists curated by athletes such as Shalane Flanagan and Eliud Kipchoge.

You can even listen to your tunes through the Nike Run Club App during guided runs. From the main screen, tap the music icon and choose one of the options: Apple Music (a subscription is required), Spotify (you’ll need a premium account), or other music. Songs will quiet down when coaching comes through, so you get the best of both worlds.

Choose the Right Music to Power Your Run

Move Forward

Download the Nike Run Club App now.