10 of the Best Running Songs of All Time

10 of the Best Running Songs of All Time

10 of the Best Running Songs of All Time

Nothing can up your running game quite like a killer soundtrack. When the hills get steep and the headwinds get strong, a good jam coming through your headphones can make it that much easier to put one foot in front of the other. That being said, a solid running soundtrack should definitely feature at least one running-related song and it's even more fun if you think about the lyrics literally, as if they're really about your marathon training.

Of course, some "running" songs are better suited to actually running than others. We rated songs according to our very not at all scientific Run Rating System, which takes into account a song's run-related lyrics, the peppiness of its pace, and whether it's worth rocking out to on your daily runs. (Extra points assigned for any related running-adjacent trivia.) Read on for 10 of the best running songs out there.

1. "Runnin' Down a Dream" | Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Legendary rocker Tom Petty knew all about running down his dreams—he dropped out of high school to join his first band. This single from his 1989 record Full Moon Fever is a classic, and plenty of pro athletes have run along to it. It was twice the theme for the NBA finals, and Petty played it at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2008. Run Rating: 7

2. "Take It On the Run" | REO Speedwagon

No matter where you are when it comes on, this is one of those songs you can't help but sing along to. Since its release in 1981, "Take It On the Run" spent has spent its share of time atop the Billboard charts; it's a classic rock staple. In fact, there's not a single track on Hi Infidelity that'll let you down. Run Rating: 10

3VlJn8QTmogaguIwKqie4CSometimes a good running song is actually about, you know, running. Jon Cook

3. "Against the Wind" | Bob Seger

You may not always feel young and strong when you're running against the wind, but it's tough to beat the song that served as the soundtrack to Forrest Gump's iconic cross-country run. See if you can sound as good as Eagles members Don Henley and Glenn Frey when you sing backup with the wind in your hair. Run Rating: 8

4. "Friend of the Devil" | The Grateful Dead

The pace of this uber-classic Grateful Dead song is perfect for a slow recovery jog, despite that its narrator is on the run from both the law and the devil himself. "I set out running but I take my time" is a perfect philosophy for those days where you're not feeling super-motivated, but know a run will do you good even if it's a little off your average pace. Run Rating: 6


5. "Ready to Run" | The Dixie Chicks

This upbeat single from the Dixie Chicks' 1999 Fly is more about running away from commitment than running for fun, but that doesn't stop it from being a great warm-up soundtrack. The year it came out, it was featured in Runaway Bride with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere and also won a Grammy. Run Rating: 9

6. "Born to Run" | Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen's 1975 single has become so synonymous with the American icon that his 2016 autobiography has the same name. As with many big undertakings (like marathon training, for example), this one took lots of blood, sweat, and tears—Springsteen spent more than six months perfecting it in the studio. Run Rating: 9

1X27iILpr2OGCuEEM60EacMusic can help make a solitary run much more enjoyable. Joshua Sortino

7. "Running" | No Doubt

Ska is practically meant for moving your body around, which means No Doubt's catalog is the perfect soundtrack to hit the road to. Maybe Gwen Stefani's doing it on purpose—she's an avid runner. This one's a little slower, but it's still a solid choice for a cool-down. Run Rating: 5

8. "Run-Around" | Blues Traveler

Sometimes, a catchy, familiar tune is all it takes to get you up that monster hill or through the last few miles of your workout. "Run-Around" is exactly that: its quick tempo and enthusiastic delivery make it impossible not to pick up your feet. The whole album, Four, is great for a tempo run or speed work. Run Rating: 8

9. "Take the Money and Run" | Steve Miller Band

This 70s hit is a classic road trip song—in fact, that was Miller's intention when he wrote and recorded it—but it's perfect for when you're literally running, too. After all, there's no motivation to pick up the pace quite like being on the run from the law, Bonnie-and-Clyde style. Its buoyant rhythm guarantees you'll still be motoring along by the end of your run. Run Rating: 10

10. "Long Train Runnin'" | The Doobie Brothers

It would be hard not to get pumped up by this song's opening guitar riff. "Long Train Runnin'" was a Top 10 Billboard hit, but the band played it at their live shows for about three years before they got around to recording it. It just goes to show that, like your training runs, the best songs are a little different every time. Run Rating: 9

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April 1, 2018