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Pump Up Your Run with Music

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Stride to the beat with a killer playlist.

Listen Up

You don't need lab research to tell you that tunes can help you go longer and feel lighter as you run. "Music can make or break a workout," says DJ Whoo Kid, the mix master for artists like T.I., as well as for hot classes at Equinox gyms. Take your playlist -- and your routine -- to the next level with his exclusive tips.

Find your beat. Plot the songs on your playlist by their beats per minute (bpm) with this quick rule of thumb:

  • For a warm-up (or jogs between sprints): 130 bpm
  • For a steady-paced run: 150 bpm
  • For sprints: 170 bpm

Use iTunes? You can create a Smart Playlist with any chosen bpm range. Or try the Spring app (free, iOS) to get playlists organized by bpm ranges.

Pick something old, something new. DJ Whoo Kid peppers his playlists with both cutting-edge and vintage tunes to hit the right oomph. Get inspiration at soundcloud.com, where you can see which songs are trending or search for classics from year to year ('90s rap, anyone?).

Stack the deck. Don't blow your best songs on the warm-up, DJ Whoo Kid says. Save power songs for when you know you'll need them, like in the middle of your run or the homestretch.

Cruise to the Music

Ditch your watch. Let this playlist be your guide to a fun interval routine from ultrarunner Robin Arzon, a running coach in New York City.

Untitled Document
Approximate time (in minutes) Song
0:00 to 4:00 "Shame on Me," Avicii
4:00 to 8:00 "G.U.Y.," Lady Gaga
8:00 to 11:30 "Turn Down for What," DJ Snake and Lil Jon
11:30 to 14:30 "Shimmy Shimmy Ya," Ol' Dirty Bastard
14:30 to 18:00 "Come On to Me," Major Lazer, feat. Sean Paul
18:00 to 21:30 "Valerie," Mark Ronson, feat. Amy Winehouse
21:30 to 25:30 "Work," Iggy Azalea
25:30 to 30:00 "Izzo H.O.V.A.," Jay-Z
 
Activity Effort level (on a scale of 1 to 10)
Warm up at a conversational pace. 4 to 5
Go at a tempo (comfortably brisk) pace. 6
Go at a tempo pace, revving to race pace during each chorus: "Turn down for what..." 6 to 7
Recover at a conversational pace. 4 to 5
Pick four points in the song to push your pace for approximately 30 seconds; jog in between. 6 to 7
Run at a race pace, picking it up to a sprint during the rap portions. 7 to 8
Start slowly, like the song, and pick up your pace as the music intensifies halfway through. 5 to 9
Cool down at a conversational pace. 4 to 5
 

 

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