Intuition vs. Science: Running Beats (#2)

Hello friends!  Remember my post HERE when I discussed music – and beats – and motivation…and I wondered if there was something else going on, scientifically speaking, when we select which songs to run to.  I came across THIS site (Jog FM), which categorizes songs by pace and beats per minute (bpm), and it got me thinking…does the body respond better to songs that one resonates with (psychological)…or does the body respond better to songs with a set rhythm (physical)?


My first documented runs were to a playlist that ranked a “slower” pace/bpm than I had anticipated, as I used the playlist during not one, but two, sub-2 hour half marathons.

{ Trials 1 & 2}

Run #1: 2.5 mile outdoor solo run w/Jen’s playlist.  Average Pace: 9:09/mile

Run #2: 3 mile outdoor solo run w/Jen’s playlist.  Average Pace: 8:38/mile


  • Hold It Against Me – Britney Spears
    • 11:42/mile – 133 BP
  • Coming Home -Diddy
    • 8:06/mile – 169 BPM ***This was exception #1!***
  • Club Can’t Handle Me – Flo Rida
    • 12:12/mile – 128 BPM
  • Dog Days Are Over -Forence + The Machine
    • 10:00/mile – 150 BPM
  • Teenage Dream – Glee
    • 13:00/mile – 120 BPM
  • I Love It -Icona Pop
    • 12:24/mile – 126 BPM
  • Hey Na Na -KatieHerzig
    • 12:00/mile – 130 BPM
  • Sexy and I Know It -LMFAO
    • 12:00/mile – 130 BPM
  • Danza Kuduro – Don Omar
    • 7:24/mile – 88 BPM (x2 = run at double pace) ***This was exception #2!***
  • Dashboard – Modest Mouse
    • 11:24/mile – 136 BPM
  • 1901 – Phoenix
    • 10:36/mile – 144 BPM
  • Bon, Bon -Pitbull
    • 12:12/mile – 128 BPM
  • Check Yes, Juliet – We The Kings
    • 8:18/mile – 167 BPM ***This was exception #3!***

{ Trials 3, 4, & 5 }

Run #3: 4 mile outdoor solo run w/Jen’s playlist.  Average Pace: 8:45/mile (to be fair, I did another run with old playlist since it’s been a few weeks since Trials 1 & 2)

Run #4: 3 mile outdoor solo run w/Target BPM playlist.  Average Pace: 8:45/mile

Run #5: 3 mile outdoor solo run w/Target BPM playlist.  Average Pace: 8:42/mile

I decided to download a random selection of songs geared towards my target running pace of 8:30-9:00/mile for the second part of my Running Beats experiment.


  • The Middle – Jimmy Eat World
    • 8:48/mile – 162 BPM
  • Cross My Heart – Marianas Trench
    • 9:00/mile 80 BPM (x2 = run at double pace)
  • Black & Yellow – Wiz Khalifa
    • 8:36/mile – 164 BPM
  • Sugar We’re Going Down – Fall Out Boy
    • 8:48/mile – 162 BPM
  • She’s My Kinda Girl -Runner Runner
    • 8:48/mile – 162 BPM
  • Remember Everything – Five Finger Death Punch
    • 8:48/mile – 162 BPM
  • Runaway Baby – Bruno Mars
    • 8:36/mile – 164 BPM
  • Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go – Glee
    • 8:42/Mile – 163 BPM

{ Final Thoughts } 

Hmm…although my average pace has dropped “just a bit” from the first time trials…I think that may just be due to continued running in general, and not due to the faster beats per minute songs.  I think this would need to be tested on other runners…to see if there is a more dramatic difference.  I also have a hard time with running “easy” paces, as I currently do not distinguish begin tempo runs, fast paces, easy paces, etc.  Who knows…maybe if I had a different training schedule, my fast or tempo runs may reflect a change in music?!  Or maybe I need to run each playlist on two days in the same week?  Or maybe even during the same run…one playlist for 2 miles…then the other playlist for two miles and compare the splits?@  Whether it ultimately helps or not, it is still fun to find a few new songs to add to my running playlist!!! 

And the main benefit, in my opinion, remains the same – a good song can alleviate the boredom of a long training run, take the edge off one’s suffering during a brutal interval session, or add a layer of pure enjoyment to an easy recovery jog.

Are you looking for other great songs to add to your playlist?  Check out Krissy (Shiawase Life) and Chelsea (Masher Runs) and Kris (Canadian Girl Runs).  Leana (Runner Leana) also has an awesome series called Tuesday Tunesday!

What is your GO TO workout song?  Anyone want to take the challenge and post their results??



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