Running Music – How to listen to Music While Running

runners music
Side view of a female athlete wearing earphones listening to music while on training session. Sportswoman listening to music outdoors in morning.

Music is an integral part of my running routine.

The uplifting beat of tunes has helped me push through so many hard runs.

I’d go as far as to claim that my music is my favorite running partner—without a doubt.

That said, running with music is still a controversial topic.

Some runners are in love with it and can’t imagine training without it, whereas others can’t stand it.

Personality really shows here.

In today’s article, I’ll discuss some of the benefits of running with music, how to design a playlist, and how to do it safely.

By the end, you’ll have a rough idea on everything you need to know about making the most out of running music.

Sounds great?

Let’s get started.

The Facts About Running Music

Science tells that listening to music during exercise lowers perception of effort during hard training—which explains why you tend to push a little bit harder when a good song comes on.

For example, research out Brunel University revealed that listening to music during a run could improve endurance by up to 15 percent.

That’s quite a lot, especially if you’re serious about improving your performance.

That’s not the whole story.

Music can also be a useful tool for improving running cadence, and a well-crafted music playlist can get you enough motivation to get you up and out of the door for a workout.

Not only that, but plenty of research has also revealed that music can provide you with the ongoing stimulus, improve focus, and by and largely leave you feeling more positive.

How to Improve Your Running Performance With Your Headphones On

Here is how to make the most out of your playlists while running:

Find The Right Tempo Range For Your Running Music

The Brunel University research I mentioned earlier has actually a lot to offer.

According to Costas Karageorghis , Ph.D., a sports psychology expert at Brunel University in London, and the guy behind the research, the ideal spot, when it comes to tempo, is in the range of 120 to 140 beats per minute.

Participants in the research were able to cut on average of half of a second off their 400-meter run when training to songs within the 120-140 tempo range.

Now you might be wondering why.

There’s actually a sound reason.

Fast-paced tunes help by taking your mind away from the aches and pain of training, which helps you stay focused.

Picking Your Running Music

By now, you know that listening to music is a scientifically proven strategy for improving running performance, but you have to train with the right playlist.

It’s not down only to personal preferences, but the intensity and rhythm of your run.

Compile Your Playlist…

The rule of thumb is sticking with the 120 to 140 beats per minute range.

As long as your music playlist falls within that range, you’re good to go.

To take it up a notch, I’d recommend choosing songs that mirror your heart rate and running effort, opting for songs that fire you up during the lowest points of your training—when you usually feel like giving up or slowing down.

It doesn’t have to be Rock or Metal music, any music that meets the requirement is very welcome.


Here is how to do that:

Warm up and cool down for your workouts with slower songs falling within the 80 to 100 BPM range, like “Roar” by Kathy Perry (90 bpm), or Jessie J’s “Price Tag” (88 bpm).

Once you find your pace, begin listening to faster-paced tunes to you can kick into a steady pace and stick to it during your run.

Choose tunes within the sweet spot of 120 to 140 bpm range—such as “Applause” by Lady Gaga (140 bpm) and Florence + The Machine fantastic song “Dog Days Are Over” (150 bpm).

Make sure to come up with as many playlists for your runs—the more, the merrier, as the saying goes.

You can also put it in shuffle mode, so every time you get a random pick.

Once you’re almost done working out, put on slower tunes to help you relax and cool down.

Shoot for two to three songs at a slower tempo for your cool down so you can bring your breathing and heart rates down and ease into stretching.

Doesn’t have to be a brokenhearted song, you can add your meditative, earth or new age music here.

Some instrumental like Tibetan sound waves are also good options.

Stay Safe While Running With Music

There are some downsides to listening to music while running.

One major challenge is that running to music may block you off from the sounds of breathing and foot strike—essential cues for efficient running.

What’s more?

Loud music can cut you off from your environment—making your outdoor runs dangerous.

You’re more likely to get hit by a car or run into trouble when you turn into a ‘deaf runner.’

To stay safe while running with music, make sure to take the following precautions.

Pay Attention

Fast-paced tunes can undeniably improve performance, but you shouldn’t ignore your body’s signals of discomfort and pain.

Fail to pay attention to your body, and you’ll be setting yourself for chronic pain, injury, even overtraining.

You should also pay attention to traffic, cyclist, pedestrians, and everyone else.

Even if you had to slow down, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.

Don’t Ruin Your Ears

Take it easy on your ears.

Blasting your ears with your favorite tunes may give you more drive, but it also damages your heart and causes other health troubles.

It’s a nightmare, believe me.

I’d recommend getting headphones that allow Ambien noise—these don’t block you off from the world entirely—so you can still hear your surroundings.

Leave the noise-canceling headphones when running on the treadmill or exercising at home.

Invest in Good Headphones

One measure you can stay in tune with your environment is to invest high-quality earphones.

Choose a pair that offers excellent sound but allows you still to hear what’s going on around you.

Here are my top recommendations:

JLab’s Epic2 Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds

Sony MDRAS600BT Active Sports Bluetooth Headset

Jabra Sport Pace Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

Don’t Be A Slave To Running Music

Music helps a lot when running, but that doesn’t that running without it has zero benefits.

Running without distraction can help you improve your body awareness, which can help you become a better runner overall.

Ignoring your body’s feedback can often lead to trouble, especially if you’re a recreational runner whose primary goal is to get fit without getting hurt.


So here we are.

I’m not trying to convince you to become a running music fanatic.

Again, choices! Hopefully, you found my running music guidelines useful and to the point.

I tried to keep the post as short and practical as possible.

Now the ball is in your court.

Do you have any favorite running music tips or beats you’d like to share?

Tap me through the comment section below! thank you for dropping by.

running music
Workout set with sport shoes, earphones and heart rate monitor watch


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