Running with Rage

Eric Rutin discusses running, life and other semi-important things

Top 15 must songs for any running playlist

October 23, 2012

The following fifteen songs are ones that I, Eric Rutin, feel should be on anyone’s iPod or iPhone when heading out for a run.  I know that playlist choices tend to vary based on the length or type of run.  I have a very upbeat short list when I am doing speed work and a long list of pretty mellow songs that I load up for the 20 milers.  I typically don’t wear the earbuds when I race, but the same rules probably apply for a race list.  I would probably make a marathon playlist that was pretty mellow until the 20 mile mark then some good driving and inspirational music  to propel me though those final miles when the mind is telling me to quit and the legs are dead.

OK, so some of these songs you may totally agree with and I am sure some of them you will disagree with (but you would be wrong).  I also want to make a note that this is not a list of songs that I actually like.  There is a big difference between songs I would put on a road trip mix and the ones I load on a running playlist.  These are songs that I think simply connect to the appropriate neuron impulses that help me run better, faster, and longer.  Heck, some I am even embarrassed to admit I own, but here I go.

1. Garageland – The Clash:  I know it is not a surprise that I lead off the list with a song by The Clash, after all they are the greatest band of all time.  I was debating back and forth between several songs and it finally came down to Garageland or Complete Control so I just flipped the proverbial coin.  But the bigger point is, choose Garageland, Complete Control, London Calling or I Am Not Down – just make sure you have some Clash on your playlist. More the better in fact.  I would even begrudgingly accept Rock the Casbah or Should I Stay or Should I Go rather than no Clash.

2. So What – Pink: Pink rocks plain and simple and So What is the most complete song in her collection I think.  I have several Pink songs on my iPhone and I seem to be continually adding them as quickly she releases them, but So What just keeps the legs pumping the best.

3. Don’t Stop Believin‘ – Journey:  “…Just a city boy, born and raised in  South Detroit…”  enough said.

4. Cliffs of Dover – Eric Johnson:  Obviously I can’t say the lyrics are inspiring, but the guitar riffs just seem to harmonize with my muscles and my legs just seem more lively, even late in long runs.  The song just perfectly creates a nice balanced cadence that defies exhaustion.

5. Redemption Song – Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer:  No, not Bob Marley and yea you may accuse me of cheating and backdooring another Clash song on the list, but this is a great cover. Neither Cash and Strummer will ever be confused with Pavarotti, but this gritty song is just what I need when I am toughing it out, pushing myself past my comfort zone.  It doesn’t seem like it would do the trick since it is neither  poppy nor does it have a certain undeniable power to it.

6. The Edge of Glory – Lady Gaga: Yea, maybe I should be embarrassed but I am not. Regardless of if I am feeling fresh or plain exhausted, this song just inspires me to run.  Great beat, great lyrics, just a song that was created to be a great running song.

7. Hello – Martin Solveig & Dragonette: I can’t say I even like this song. It was downloaded by my daughter and just appeared on my iPhone one day.  I was going to delete it (along with her entire collection of One Direction songs) but I discovered that I was literally incapable of not picking up my pace when the song came on.  I questioned it and figured I had to be imagining it, but I actually twice actually timed my pace and I sure enough ran at least ten seconds faster than my run pace while listening to the song.  To be honest, I find the song kind of grating, but who am I to argue with results. (The video is kinda funny as well)

 8. Just Like a Woman – Bob Dylan: Bob Dylan may not be for everyone I admit, but on long runs, I could just put Bob on repeat and knock out mile after mile after mile.  Like with The Clash, I could really have picked a myriad of songs and kinda just threw a dart and without worrying about going wrong.

9. Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs: This song is just plain awesome.  It is so haunting and full of melancholy, and that incessant guitar just drives my legs through anything.  No pain I feel on my run is comparable to the pain in this song.  It is almost as if the lyrics are are my body talking to me telling me to not worry about my brain and all of its negativity and doubt, assuring me it will get me to the  finish no matter how exhausted I feel.

10. Promiscuous – Nelly Furtado and Timbaland: This song is at least rated R, but damn it is a great running song.  I don’t think I ever liked it much until it came on during shuffle mode one day.  Though I haven’t read it, I think it is probably kinda like having 50 Shades of Gray on an audiobook.  The music is great for a running song and the lyrics are definitely make you think of things other than tough miles.  I have one question for you – Is your game MVP like Steve Nash?

11. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley: It is kinda a song like Maps combined with Edge of Glory.  Haunting and driving and pure inspiration.

12. Human – The Killers: Pure pop.  It is a fun song and a total sing-along that just fits any length of run – short or long.  The big debate in the Rutin household is what the hell the lyrics actually say, because neither makes sense.  “Am we human or are we ????????”  Are we what?  Dancer or Denser?

13. Hey Yeah – Outcast:  There are just some songs you can’t help but enjoy.  I guess you can maybe say this is included for all the same reasons as Human but without all the lyric confusion.  I think it is just a fun song that I find myself getting lost and just enjoying.  Before I know it I find a half mile disappeared by the time the song ends. “Lend me some sugar, I am your neighbor!”  Not much confusion in these lyrics.

14. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen:  Do I really need to explain this?

Eric Rutin thinks is cool15. Hey there Delilah – Plain White T’s: This was a tough one as it was the last song on my list and there were still plenty of songs that I could include and not lost any sleep over.  But for the final song, I figured I would go with a fun song that is actually about a runner – Delilah DiCrescenzo.  And a steeple chaser none the less which means she is bad ass. So it figures to be a good finale.

I am sure you all have plenty of songs you think are absolute musts that I missed just as I am also sure there are one or two of these that you think I must be insane for including.  So let me know what I missed or should have skipped.

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14 thoughts on “Top 15 must songs for any running playlist

  1. Nice playlist. I love Cliffs of Dover!

  2. Have any hard rock or metal options?

  3. I’d like to see somebody create a YouTube playlist of this. Nice choices.

  4. Cliffs of Dover is so awesome…we had it played at our wedding ceremony! It is jubilant and gives me renewed energy during a run! 🙂

  5. That’s has to be the worst playlist I have ever seen… you must be the person who selects the music at my gym. I’m glad you do not load my IPOD!!!

  6. You have some good selections here Eric. I would suggest Eminem’s: Lose Yourself

    I was never really satisfied with commercially available music, either tempos that didn’t work for me or the tracks were too short…took a while but I started writing and recording my own music and set up a website….

  7. Flynzombie on said:

    What no Chartiots of Fire, AC/DC, The Who, Foster the People, ABBA, Queen, Devo, Van Halen, Fat Boy Slim.

  8. Pingback: 21 Best Movies of All Time | Running with Rage

  9. Pingback: The history of concerts according to Eric Rutin | Running with Rage

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