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 have a stronger run—and to enjoy your workout more.

Research has shown that the right song and beat can push you to have a stronger run—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 to 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 to feel more energised, 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 pumped-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 pivotal if you're looking to boost your performance gains too. Runners doing sprint intervals enjoyed their workout more when they listened to music than when they didn't, according to a study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences. (Remember that when you need to get through some tough intervals.) Cueing up a loud and fast playlist can also coax you to run for 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 can't get enough of. 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 the tempo of your music to your training could be a simple way to have a stronger run. In a study published in the journal PLOS One, runners performed better when a prominent, consistent beat in motivational music matched their cadence, compared to how they did when they ran without music. This is a form of auditory-motor synchronisation, and is similar to the way in which a metronome helps a musician to keep the beat. To get the performance benefit, you need to find songs with beats per minute (BPM) that sync up with your running pace.

The tempo sweet spot for background music during exercise tends to be between 120 and 140 BPM, according to Costas Karageorghis, PhD, a professor in sport and exercise psychology at Brunel University London and the author of Applying Music in Exercise and Sport. Anything in the lower end of that tempo range should help to 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 the 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 up with your running pace.

If you're running at 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 yourself 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, according to research in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Look for songs that have a tempo of 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 music or no music at all, 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 and Science in Sports and Exercise.

The fun part: using this info to curate 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 quieten 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 have a stronger run—and to enjoy your workout more.

Research has shown that the right song and beat can push you to have a stronger run—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 to 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 to feel more energised, 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 pumped-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 pivotal if you're looking to boost your performance gains too. Runners doing sprint intervals enjoyed their workout more when they listened to music than when they didn't, according to a study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences. (Remember that when you need to get through some tough intervals.) Cueing up a loud and fast playlist can also coax you to run for 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 can't get enough of. 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 the tempo of your music to your training could be a simple way to have a stronger run. In a study published in the journal PLOS One, runners performed better when a prominent, consistent beat in motivational music matched their cadence, compared to how they did when they ran without music. This is a form of auditory-motor synchronisation, and is similar to the way in which a metronome helps a musician to keep the beat. To get the performance benefit, you need to find songs with beats per minute (BPM) that sync up with your running pace.

The tempo sweet spot for background music during exercise tends to be between 120 and 140 BPM, according to Costas Karageorghis, PhD, a professor in sport and exercise psychology at Brunel University London and the author of Applying Music in Exercise and Sport. Anything in the lower end of that tempo range should help to 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 the 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 up with your running pace.

If you're running at 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 yourself 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, according to research in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Look for songs that have a tempo of 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 music or no music at all, 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 and Science in Sports and Exercise.

The fun part: using this info to curate 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 quieten 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.