What should I hear while running

Running music: Best music for jogging

Many runners swear by music when they run. Whether monotonous techno hits, rock songs or poppy sounds - the main thing is that it should be driving. But is there so many songs in the world that have perfect music to run? Yes! Only among the world's best does the motivating effect of music play no role. As a rule, top runners concentrate on controlling their body systems as efficiently as possible, focusing inward, not on music. For recreational runners, music before and during the run can not only delay the point of fatigue, but also enable up to 20 percent higher performance.

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The impact of music on your mileage

Listening to music before running can increase motivation for the upcoming training. If you listen to the music afterwards, it can even have a positive effect on regeneration. That is the result of a study published in the "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research". The study also proves another assumption: the harder the training, the less benefit music brings.

Brazilian researchers tested the effects of music on the athletic performance of fifteen runners - before, during and after a five-kilometer trial run for a period of time. The participants had been running for around five years on average and training for an hour a day.

Music motivates you before you run

The researchers examined brain activity, excitement and pulse changes before running, exertion and time during the run, mood and pulse afterwards. Four tests were performed with music: motivational music before running at 110 to 150 beats per minute (bpm), running with slow music at only 80 to 100 bpm, fast music while running at 140 to 160 bpm, and calming Music afterwards at 95 to 100 bpm.

Finally, the participants ran without any music at all. If music was heard during the five kilometers, the runners ran on average the first two laps (of 12.5) faster than if they did not listen to music. After that, the difference in times between the individual laps with or without music was only minimal.

The higher the effort, the less music influences the training

It turned out that the higher the effort, the less effect music has on performance. Initially, the music primarily influences the participants, as they need a certain amount of time for the brain to perceive the intensity of the training. Only then does a mechanism begin to focus attention on the most important signals in the body.

On average, however, the 5 km runners completed their route faster if they listened to music before or during it. In general, however, the following applies: Music does not increase performance, but has a positive effect on motivation to run. The music motivates and makes the runner positive, but it has no influence on physical exertion, lactate or heart rate.

Relaxing music after the run accelerates regeneration

Music before running reduced vagotonia. Vagotonia is a state of the autonomic nervous system in which the parasympathetic nervous system dominates over the sympathetic nervous system, so the body is more geared towards rest and relaxation (low pulse and blood pressure, sometimes listlessness, but has an activating effect on the digestive organs).

If the runners heard music after training, the runner's vagotonia took the opposite course: an increase in this nervous state could be determined by music after running. According to researchers, this means that the internal systems, including the pulse, were returned to normal more quickly. The goal of any recovery program, such as hydration, diet, and light exercise, is to get the body back to its pre-workout state as quickly as possible. The study thus supports the claim that slow music can help recovery after a hard run.

This is how you create a playlist

Finding a song that will spice you up for a few minutes isn't too difficult. It gets more complicated when you want to put together a series of pieces of music that should accompany you throughout the run - especially if it is a long run. “It's like a puzzle,” says DJ Steve Boyett. “The trick: the song list must have its own dramaturgy, with deliberately set highlights and quieter pieces in between. You are not only on the road for three minutes, you need something that occupies you for an hour.

The decisive factor is the ratio between pulse frequency and beats per minute (BPM), i.e. the beat of the music. Pieces of music whose BPM number corresponds to a heart rate of 85 percent of the maximum pulse are particularly suitable. Music with a slower rhythm, on the other hand, is more suitable for relaxed runs. Running steps and BPM should be in sync. Even beats like the 2/4 or 4/4 beat favor the running pace.

Suggestions for the different stages of the run:


At the beginning of the training it is important to warm up the muscles and find the pace - completely relaxed. Optimistic songs with a BPM number of 135 to 160, which are neither too fast nor too slow, are suitable for this. Play: Electronic dance music, for example "Ready Steady Go" by Paul Oakenfold. Skip: Any form of hard rock. Such music will be needed later.


If the pace needs to be faster, dynamic songs that also drive emotionally help. Tracks like “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine. Play: Rock songs or faster hip-hop with a driving beat. Skip: Songs with a BPM number beyond 165 can get on your nerves over time.


Whether it's an endless climb or a heavy headwind - almost every run has phases that you somehow have to get through. And music can be very helpful here because it can release an extra bit of energy. Play: Songs that slowly build up tension and lead to euphoric crescendo sounds, such as “Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2 or “Politics” by Coldplay, drive the runner up every mountain. Skip: Repetitive electronic music or spherical trance sounds. Something like this is for relaxation and is out of place here.


At the end of a run (especially if it was a long run), you have to pull out all the stops to get yourself back on track - with the Bee Gees or Meat Loaf if necessary. Play: At this stage, the point is that the music will help you get there, and any means are acceptable to that end. For some it is an Aerosmith headbanger, for others a more contemplative song that aims more inward. Skip: Everything you don't know, because in such a situation you have not been able to get involved in something new musically for a long time.