When it comes to running, we know listening to music can turn a slow slog into a song-fueled success—especially if you're a newbie. Studies show that music can help you maintain a steady cadence (or steps per minute), increase your intensity, and even make you stick to a training plan. Spontaneous Entrainment of Running Cadence to Music Tempo. Van Dyck E, Moens B, Buhmann J. Sports medicine - open, 2015, Jul.;1(1):2198-9761. Influence of music on maximal self-paced running performance and passive post-exercise recovery rate. Lee S, Kimmerly D. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness, 2014, Oct.;():0022-4707. Music enhances performance and perceived enjoyment of sprint interval exercise. Stork MJ, Kwan MY, Gibala MJ. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 2016, Mar.;47(5):1530-0315. Plus, it just feels good! There’s nothing worse than pounding the pavement with low energy and no music to pump you up. Bleh.
"When it comes to running, long-distance or otherwise, the perfect playlist can make a huge difference, and tempo is key,” says Maggiacomo. A song’s beats per minute (or BPM) will help you set your cadence. Calculate BPMs by counting the beats for 30 seconds and then doubling that number. You can also search around sites like Spotify for running music that specifically lists BPMs.
Follow Maggiacomo’s general guide to build your own music mix or use his custom-curated playlist below.
Pick Your Music:
- 115 to 125 BPM = warm-up; a brisk walk or jog
- 120 to 140 BPM = the body of your run; covering distance
- 140 BPMs or above = sprints and all-out efforts
Build Your Interval Running Workout:
- Tracks 1 and 2: Warm up.
- Tracks 3 and 4: Set your pace.
- Tracks 5 and 6: Sprint or high knees on the chorus.
- Tracks 7 and 8: Pick up the pace.
- Tracks 9 and 10: Build your speed with the music.
Press play below to get started.