We speak to Gil Cramer, an elite ultra-marathoner and experienced running technique specialist about the benefits of running to a beat

Music can inspire you to push past discomfort and keep running when you feel like you can’t take another step. Gil Cramer of techniquespecialist.com says: “In my opinion, music can have both a positive and negative effect on your pace. Some find running without music near impossible, but a growing number of runners recognise that the wrong music or beat while running can negatively affect your training session.”

Music has the added benefit of having a beat that you can match your stride to.

“I think the optimum bpm to strive for during training is 180bpm, or a little faster for sprinting,” says Cramer, “Currently at the top of my play list is Sugar by Maroon 5; it’s just right to get me in a chilled mood before some big miles.”

You could also choose music at 90bpm, in which case you would be taking two strides for every beat. For those who are just getting off the couch or working towards increasing stamina, starting at a slower pace may be more beneficial, such as 120-140bpm.

There is no one genre of music that is better suited for running. If you enjoy a song, it inspires and motivates you to run, and it matches the bpm you are aiming for, then it is ideal for running. This could be anything from classical music to trance or death metal.

If you have music that you enjoy but are unsure of how many bpm it contains, there is software available that analyses your play-list. Some of the options are free, such as BPM Calculator or BPM Assistant, while others charge a small fee, such as Cadence Desktop Pro.

The benefit of using music to pace yourself is cost-effectiveness, as there is no or minimal purchases involved, particularly if you already have the music that will inspire you. It can provide motivation for those who find it difficult to self motivate and push on their limits.

Recommended running songs – by genre

Blues: Rock This House by BB King and Elton John

Country: Cry with You by Hunter Hayes

Pop: I Love Rock ‘n Roll by Britney Spears

Hip-Hop/Rap: 0 to 100/The Catch Up by Drake

Alternative: Alone together by Fall Out Boy

Rock: Standing on the Outside by Cold Chisel

Metal: Destroyer of the Universe by Amon Amarth

Dance: Acid Wolfpack by Coyote Kisses

Classical: Thunder and Lightning Polka Op 324 by Johann Strauss


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