A running playlist (for the music snobs)

Now if only I could get a portly man on a scooter to ride along next to me.

I’ve been running. A lot. I’m chugging right along in my Zooma half marathon training. Some days I think I’m gonna rock this half! Other days I think This totally sucks, I’ll surely never make it. But thanks to the fact that I commit to things almost to a fault, I’ll be there and attempt my 13.1 miles. I may hobble across the finish line resembling Simon Pegg in Run, Fat Boy, Run, but I will cross that finish line.

Even on my hardest run days, a good running playlist makes the difference between a decent run and a shitty one. I don’t necessarily need thump thump pump it up tunes to keep me going — just something that I love. Some may be fast, some may be slow, but it has to my mind wander so I’m not thinking about RUNNING ALL THE MILES! It doesn’t necessarily mean that the run is easy, but it definitely makes it more enjoyable. Although you may want to check with me after my run today to see if I still feel that way.

Whenever I’m stuck and ask around to see what I should put on my running playlist, I get a lot of Ke$ha! P!nk! Britney! But those aren’t my cup of tea. I’m just not a top 40 pop music gal. So if you’re a bit of a music snob like me, here’s a playlist that will hopefully keep you going during your run. I usually just put my iPhone on shuffle, so these are in no particular order, although you definitely want Black Joe Lewis’s Boogie in the middle for when you need a boost.


What’s on YOUR running playlist? (I won’t judge if you say Ke$ha.)


Helena Beat – Foster the People.

Intervention — Arcade Fire. Live from Austin City Limits, no less (the show, not the festival).

Mountain Sound — Of Monsters and Men. Totally not what I expected these guys to look like. Also, do all Icelandic chicks look alike?

O.N.E. – Yeasayer

Sad Sad City – Ghostland Observatory. Another one live from Austin City Limits.

Boogie — Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears. Live from Waterloo Records here in Austin. This song will get you GOING. It’s a good starting song, but a GREAT song for those times when you’re lagging in the middle of a run.

Time to Pretend – MGMT

Wild One – Thos Darlins. Also, this is totally my kids’ theme song.

Calamity Song – The Decemberists

Fader – Temper Trap

Tongue Tied – Grouplove

Australia – The Shins

Take a Walk – Passion Pit


Leigh Ann Torres

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Leigh Ann Torres
Writer, artist, wife, cook, maid, bookkeeper, mom to twins plus one...all around genie in a bottle, except you only get one wish, and it has to be reasonable.
  1. This is a GREAT mix!! It’s pretty much the best days on my favorite radio station. Thanks for sharing!

    (Normally I am a Madonna/Britney/JT girl, because I can’t always think of good alternative songs to add)

  2. I appreciate the effort to put this together, and we each have our own taste. There are only 1 or 2 of these that would make it into a playlist for me, but none that seem like running music. I listen to Armin Van Burren’s Imagine album when I run. It’s got a great tempo and always seems to hit the right tone at the right time.

    Thanks for the list!

    • The great thing about music is how personal it can be. For me a good tempo is great, but any song that I love allows my mind to wander and keeps me from concentrating on how much farther I have to go. Maybe I’ll retitle it “MY running playlist.”

      I looked up Armin Van Burren. Sounds like something my husband would like running to, so I will pass it along. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Hmm… There are only 2 or 3 that I’ve actually heard on the list so it looks like I have some new music to check out!

  4. Great list! I suggest anything by The Black Keys. Also, Pandora has a radio station called Alternative Endurance Training Radio. It’s excellent.

    • Wha??? I will definitely check that out. I keep forgetting that I can listen to Pandora on my phone. Thanks for the tip!

  5. A few of these songs and even more of these bands have made it on my running playlist. I’m totally with you…it has more to do with what speaks to me as opposed to the beat. My favorite all time running song is The Killers – Read My Mind. I never get tired of it. And I am ashamed to say that I have a lot of Pink and Lady Gaga on my ipod right now (hanging my head).

  6. I don’t know any of these songs. I am not cool…not even a little.

  7. Some of those are familiar. I’m going to second the Black Keys recommendation.

    I’m wondering if you’d want to borrow any of my recent KGSR Broadcasts albums on CD to listen to, just to expose yourself to some more artists.

    • Julia, I listen to KGSR ALL the time. It’s my favorite radio station. I actually need to grab this year’s broadcast album before they sell out!

  8. I have five of these on my running playlist!
    I meant to do a better job of seeking you out at MomCom. Since we’re both in Austin, it’d be nice to meet you sometime. We can run together. When I say “run,” I mean guzzle wine….

    • Ha! That’s my kind of running. I snuck out of MomCom early to go to a birthday party. Maybe we will run into each other at another event!

  9. This is awesome! I am not the kind of person who listen tecno/house music to run, so this is excelent for my playlist.

  10. this is my favorite songs for running, maybe you gonna find smth you like and tomorrow will your running will be with some of these songs

    let me know how do u like it

  11. i am now officially a Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears fan-thanks for the tip

  12. Great list and yes, now that you mention it, my running playlist does include Ke$ha! I honestly can’t get enough of “C’mon”.

    Don’t worry, I am hanging my head in utter shame.

  13. at last!! i’ve been going nuts looking for running mixes that don’t make me feel like i should be partying at the frat house in my white jeans…i”ll definitely be nicking some of these– keep em coming!