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Pick The Songs For Our Running Playlist

Before our producers run the NYC Half Marathon, help create a shareable running mix.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 12:28 PM

Build a playlist for other runners -- and help two Soundcheck staffers tackle 13.1 miles this weekend. Build a playlist for other runners -- and help two Soundcheck staffers tackle 13.1 miles this weekend. (Shutterstock)

Earlier this week, we asked our listeners to help us build the ultimate running playlist. After years of jealously guarding its staff from the benefits of exercise en masse, Soundcheck is offering up no fewer than two of its producers to this year's New York City Half Marathon, set for this coming Sunday morning in Manhattan. Thanks to you, producers Joel and Katie now have more than ten HOURS of music to run along to (although we hope they'll only really need about two hours of the mix for this particular race).


In addition, Carol from Washington Heights sent us an 11-track running playlist filled with classic soul, funk and jazz. She’s not a runner, but she wanted to share it with all the runners in Soundcheck’s audience. Joel, a sucker for the sounds of the ‘70s, liked it so much that he created a “rogue” playlist on Spotify so you can hear Carol’s handiwork.

“It’s clearly not just for running,” Joel says. “This mix is suitable for pretty much any activity – entertaining guests, cleaning the apartment, working at your computer -- or chasing down perps in a gritty, NYC action film from 1974.”

Thanks again to everyone who contributed to our running playlist -- we'll see you at the finish line! 


What kind of playlist should we make next? Call us up at 866 939 1612, tweet @Soundcheck or leave a comment below. 


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Comments [35]

Just a note of thanks to everyone that shared a song picks (or picks!) for our playlist. Katie and I both listened to it during the Half today and it was terrific. Lots of clever and surprising choices. And, with 9+ hours of music, there's plenty more to enjoy. Thanks again, folks!

Mar. 16 2014 04:25 PM
Cal from Brooklyn, NY

Lights & Music - Cut Copy
Pogo - Digitalism
Lust For Life - Iggy Pop
Not Gonna Get Us - t.A.T.u.
Breathe - The Prodigy
Damaged Goods - Gang of Four
Date With The Night - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Higher Ground - TNGHT
B.O.B. - Outkast

Mar. 15 2014 05:36 PM
Carla from Hoboken

A few years ago, my playlist below helped me finally break 2 hours in the NYC Half Marathon (YMMV). Running to the beat, I found that 160 bpm put me at a comfortable jog. The list below starts at about 174 bpm and escalates to around 190 or so.

Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of...) -- Lou Bega
Flirtin' With Disaster -- Molly Hatchet
I Just Want to Celebrate -- Rare Earth
Tell Her About It -- Billy Joel
Let's Live It Up -- The Brian Setzer Orchestra
I Can't Do It Alone -- Catherine Zeta-Jones
My Toot Toot -- Doug Kershaw & Fats Domino
Born to Boogie -- Hank Williams, Jr.
Detroit Rock City -- Kiss
In da Club -- 50 Cent
Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures) -- The 5th Dimension & The Bill Holman Strings & Brass
Choo Choo Ch-Boogie -- Clifton Chenier
Modern Love -- David Bowie
The Obvious Child -- Paul Simon
Tusk -- Fleetwood Mac
Love Is A Battlefield -- Pat Benatar
Rumble In Brighton -- The Brian Setzer Orchestra
The Stroke -- Billy Squier
Zoot Suit Riot -- Cherry Poppin' Daddies
Karma Chameleon -- Culture Club
Red Rubber Ball -- The Cyrkle
Cult of Personality -- Living Colour
I'm So Excited -- The Pointer Sisters
Rock Lobster -- The B-52's
Imma Be -- Black Eyed Peas
Roll over Beethoven -- Chuck Berry
Break on Through -- The Doors
Give It Away -- Red Hot Chili Peppers
Glen Miller Medley: In the Mood, Little Brown Jug, American Patrol, Pennsylvania 6-5000 Studio Artist
Whole Lotta Love -- Led Zeppelin
Africa -- Toto
American Idiot -- Green Day
Hey Pocky Way -- Neville Brothers
Funky Butt -- Rockin' Dopsie, Jr. & The Zydeco Twisters
Rag Doll -- Aerosmith
Mr. Zoot Suit -- Ingrid Lucia & The Flying Neutrinos
I Love Rock N' Roll -- Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Love in an Elevator -- Aerosmith
I Ate The Apple Tree -- The Pinstripe Brass Band
This Cat's On A Hot Tin Roof -- The Brian Setzer Orchestra
Fighter -- Christina Aguilera
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner -- Iron Maiden
Gonna Fly Now (Theme from "Rocky") -- Bill Conti
June Bug -- The B-52's
Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) -- Beyoncé
Let's Go Crazy -- Prince & The Revolution
Let's Go All the Way -- Sly Fox
The Dirty Boogie -- The Brian Setzer Orchestra

Mar. 14 2014 10:07 PM
Gerry from Mendham NJ

Nothing beats the Stones and Credence for a motivational kick for a 69 year old.

Mar. 14 2014 09:49 PM
Jonathan Arnold from NYC

Hey, Katie and Joel, have a great run on Sunday! I just picked up my bib today (#3283), and I'm excited to run the NYC Half for the first time. I am surprised and delighted to be listening to this segment on the radio right now -- love it!

Mar. 14 2014 09:19 PM

Hey everybody: Thanks for sharing all these great song ideas (including, but not limited to, "NEEDS MORE METAL!!!") Also, thanks for wishing us luck. I, for one, am going to need it. Good luck to everyone else who's running on Sunday, whether you're running the Half or just running on your own. -- Joel

Mar. 14 2014 05:43 PM
Lady from Brooklyn

Good luck Joel & Katie! I'm huge fan of your show and I hope you keep up the running & running music theme.

Don't forget about the bands playing along the NYC Half course :) There's so much going on, especially through Times Square you probably won't need your music. Pop out an ear bud and show some some love!

I'm a big believer in using music for training and syncing your steps to help increase turnover. Taking small quick steps is supposed to help efficiency and minimize impact reducing injury risk. No matter your pace many sports physiologists (most notably Jack Daniels, PHD) recommend a stride rate around 180 steps per min (or you can count 90 for one leg.) So songs in the neighborhood of 90 or 180 bpm are ideal no matter your pace. I find the syncing aspect can also give me a nice runner's high. There's some science backing that up as well; you've had numerous guests touch the effects of music & general movement to some extent on your show (Levitan, Sacks, Karageourghis)

Below is a playlist I put together with 3+ hrs of 180 bpm (mostly rock) songs on I don't run anywhere near a 6/7 min mile pace but I still find these songs very comfortable to run to. You may want to wait until after the half if you're not used to the cadence, it might cause you to speed up too much.

Mar. 14 2014 03:08 PM
Lisa from NJ

Forgot another fun one - Top of the World by Shonen Knife (Carpenter's cover)

And if you want a pre-mix I found a pretty good one at a 90 bpm pace, I think it's approx 30 minutes of music, it's a free download, they have a few of varied taste/genre but the one that works best for me is the '90 bpm training run #1' - this includes two of the songs I listed in my previous comment - the site is

Have fun:)

Mar. 14 2014 10:06 AM
Lisa from NJ

Late to comment but if either of you are looking for music in the 90 - 100 bpm range (I run from 9:15 - 10:30 minute/mile pace) here are a few songs that have kept me moving on marathon training runs (worked great for an 18 mile run yesterday!):
Precious - The Pretenders
Go - Tones on Tail
Movin On Up - Primal Scream
Distance - Cake
Passing Me By - Pharcyde
Hit the Road Jack - Ray Charles
Pepper - Butthole Surfers
Mr. Blue Sky - Electric Light Orchestra
Song Against Sex - Neutral Milk Hotel
Stay With Me - Faces (Rod Stewart)

Hope it's a great experience!!

Mar. 14 2014 09:07 AM
Joe from Astoria

My wife and I are also running on Sunday ("running" is more like it) and we heard this last night, and my wife needs playlist help, so we're interested in the final list. Personally mine is all punk, hardcore and mid-90's hip hop, but a few tracks that help me slog through 13 miles are:
Young Jeezy - Go Crazy
NWA - 100 Miles and Runnin (literally the only song with the word "running" on my playlist)
Nate Dogg (featuring Pharoe Monche)- Oh No
Iron Chic - Every Town Has An Elm St (I have every Iron Chic song on my playlist, for me they're the perfect tempo, and it's great when it mixes with everything else)
and a personal guilty pleasure Miley Cyrus - Party in the USA

Mar. 14 2014 06:22 AM
RK from Ridgewood, NY

Early 80's college radio picks for slow but aspirational runner:

Cool and/or M-Train by Pylon
Empire State Human by The Human League
52 Girls by The B-52's
Ghost on the Highway by The Gun Club
Hobgoblins and/or How I Wrote Elastic Man and/or Totally Wired by The Fall
PLUS: Jingo by Santana + Swing Down Chariot by The Staples Singers
ALSO: Deceptacon by Le Tigre

Mar. 13 2014 10:28 PM
Susan Altman from Brooklyn








Mar. 13 2014 10:24 PM

1).Mighty High by Mighty Clouds of Joy. You'll lift your eyes to heaven and never stop running.
2). Round About by Yes - the song will propel you along
3). An American in Paris overture - the greatest score ever written will make you light on your feet.
Hope you enjoy them and Good Luck

Mar. 13 2014 10:07 PM
Jamie from Detroit

All Eminem but specifically Rabbit Run, Lose Yourself, and Til I Collapse
and Black Keys

Mar. 13 2014 10:03 PM
Cynthia from Manhattan

The Final Race, from the soundtrack of Endurance, a docudrama about Haile Gebbresellasie, the Ethiopian marathon runner. It got me through the last hours of hard labor giving birth to my son, it will get you over the finish line!

Mar. 13 2014 09:57 PM
Emma from Manhattan

Long Distance Runner (Fugazi)

I like to run to the White Stripes and Bug Music by Don Byron
(I'm a pretty slow runner though)

Mar. 13 2014 09:57 PM
Abe from Brooklyn

Nobody Gonna Break My Stride - Men At Work

Mar. 13 2014 09:55 PM

Stranger in Town (Del Shannon)*
*or more obvious, Runaway (Del Shannon)

Mar. 13 2014 09:55 PM


Mar. 13 2014 09:54 PM
Thunda from Old York City

Needs more Metal!!!!!!!!!!

Metallica - Creeping Death

Mar. 13 2014 09:53 PM
Josephine from NYC

80's 'new wave' has been helping me train for the 1/2 marathon.
The Beach by New Order helps me pick up the pace. See you on Sunday!

Mar. 13 2014 09:53 PM
Thunda from Old York City

Needs more Metal!!!!!!!!!!

Metallica - Creeping Death

Mar. 13 2014 09:52 PM
Lex from Nj

Gnarls Barkley I'm going on
Lipgloss song(it's popping?)

Mar. 13 2014 09:52 PM

Body Movin' by the Beastie Boys and oddly...Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley not Leonard Cohen

Mar. 13 2014 09:51 PM
Richmond Dave from Richmond, VA

For something completely different:

Fela Kuti - Zombie
Fela Kuti - Roforofo Fight
Fela Kuti - Expensive Shit
Fela Kuti - Opposite People

Antibalas - Government Magic

Chaka Demus and Pliers - Murder She Wrote

Mar. 13 2014 04:02 PM
Robby from Brooklyn

I ran the NYC Marathon last November and these are some of the songs that helped me through all the training. It's a very random list:

Under Pressure - Queen/Bowie
1901 - Phoenix
Roam - The B-52's
Love Train - The O'Jays
Would I Lie to You? - Eurythmics

Good luck with the race!

Mar. 13 2014 02:45 PM
Andrea Raisfeld from Bedford NY

Happy by Pharrell Williams. I dare you NOT to move when this song is on!

Send your Love (Dave Aude Mix) Sting

Joy by Mick Jagger (with Bono) from Goddess in the Doorway

here it goes again by OK GO

Mar. 13 2014 11:23 AM
Youri from NY

I agree with Sarah from CT!
And I would add some upbeat songs like Janelle Monae's "Tight Rope", and "Don't touch me" by Busta Rhymes.

Good luck, and most of all, enjoy the run!

Mar. 12 2014 11:28 AM
Dana from Brooklyn

Amanda Palmer - Leeds United
Bobby Darin - Mack the Knife
Gnarls Barkley - Run
Blind Melon - No Rain
Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell
Various Green Day
Various Tom Jones

GOOD LUCK!! I'll look for your race report when you're done :)

Mar. 12 2014 10:28 AM
Canuck Sam

The Verve's Bittersweet Symphony gets me into the running rhythm. Repeat, then Bryan Adam's 'Run to you' for a kick at the end.

Mar. 11 2014 10:29 PM
Ken from Brooklyn, NY

Dressed for Space / Geryon by Trust
Listen Now by The Knife
Beat and the Pulse by Austra
Black Nails by Pictureplane
Embrace by PNAU
The More That I Do by The Field

Mar. 11 2014 09:34 PM
Sarah from CT

Propellerheads, The Prodigy, Chemical, fun and they kinda have a soundtrack quality to them. If you imagine your run is a mini-documentary, it works.

Mar. 11 2014 08:47 PM
amy from BKLYN

Woof Woof by Dan Deacon
and if Jerry O'Sullivan playing The Chorus Reel/Ashmolean House doesn't get you kicking up your heels I will eat my hat!

Mar. 11 2014 04:44 PM
Jonathan Ford

Here's a couple that might be good:

Trentemoller: I recommend 'Shades of Marble' and 'Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider Go!!!' off of "Into the Great Wide Yonder." He has a bunch of other tunes that could make good running tunes, as well. :)

Mar. 11 2014 04:27 PM
Sarah from Brooklyn, NY

As much as I hate to admit it, Animals by Nickelback gets my feet movin' pretty swiftly! I'll blame Spotify for getting me hooked on that one...

I sure hope you post the playlist once it's finished! I'm running on Sunday too and I could use some fresh tunes. Good luck!!!

Mar. 11 2014 04:23 PM

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