The 8 Best Running Playlists of 2021

Listen to these tunes while you get in your exercise

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Best of 35 Top Hits Workout Mixes at iTunes

"Some of the most fun, upbeat pop music... keep you going through even the most grueling run."

Best Pop: Pop for Cardio at Amazon

"Playlist includes... today’s most popular artists... 25 songs total and provides one hour, 31 minutes."

Best Classic Rock: Classic Rock for Runners at Amazon

"So many hits in this playlist, you’ll remember the good ol’ days with this curated list of rock songs."

Best Country: Country for Runners at Amazon

"Country music’s hottest stars will have you bouncing along... through your next race or casual run."

Best '90s: '90s Pop for Cardio at Amazon

"Every '90s kid will lose it with this playlist... lively beats are motivating and nostalgic."

Best Electronic: EDM for Cardio at Amazon

"Electronic dance music... the most heart-palpitating beats... energy-boosting and sweat-inducing."

Best Hip Hop: Hip Hop Workout at Amazon

"28 songs and nearly two hours of clever song writing and an energizing beat."

Best '70s: '70s Dance Party at Amazon

"So much range and fun throughout, you’ll love hearing and remembering some of the best songs of the past."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Best of 35 Top Hits Workout Mixes

Best of 35 Top Hits Workout Mixes

For a curation of some of the most fun, upbeat pop music, look no further than this album, available now on iTunes. From Miley Cyrus's "We Can't Stop" to Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe," this selection of songs will keep you going through even the most grueling run. Take one reviewer's word for it: "My new go-to workout mix! I never have to hit skip!"

Best Pop: Pop for Cardio

What better way to hit the road than with today’s most popular artists? The Pop for Cardio playlist on Amazon Music allows you to tune into artists like Sia, Kelly Clarkson, Justin Bieber, Fifth Harmony, and Britney Spears, just to name a few. Popular music today has a great beat that will keep you going, particularly when you go on a long run and need all the energy you can muster.

“Can’t Remember to Forget You” by the powerhouse duo of Shakira and Rihanna, “Something In the Way You Move” by Ellie Goulding, and “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” by Shawn Mendes will get your heart pumping and your legs moving as you run mile after mile. This playlist includes 20 songs total and provides one hour and 10 minutes of music.

Best Classic Rock: Classic Rock for Runners

Do you love rock and roll? No need to put another dime in the juke box when you have a playlist like this one. Classic Rock for Running is another playlist, best suited for those who can’t get enough of artists like Elvis Costello, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and Guns N’ Roses. There are so many hits in this playlist, you’ll remember the good ol’ days with this curated list of rock songs.

Get on board for Guns N' Roses "Nightrain,” or jam out to REO Speedwagon's "Only The Strong Survive." There are even songs that include run in the title of this popular playlist: “Running On Empty” by Jackson Browne, “Runnin’ Down A Dream” by Tom Petty, “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen, “Run Through The Jungle” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, and "Runnin' With The Devil” by Van Halen. These and other tunes will get you through every workout.

Best Country: Country for Runners

Whether you’re in a small town or a bustling city, it’s always nice to take an escape to the country. This Country for Running playlist is the ultimate list of tunes for your next run. These upbeat options from country music’s hottest stars will have you bouncing along to every song as you make it through your next race or casual run. Along your route, you can look forward to hearing the familiar voices of Kelsea Ballerini, Lady A, and Carrie Underwood among others.

You’re sure to find a few of your favorite songs in this playlist, including “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line feat. Nelly, “The Fighter” by Keith Urban feat. Carrie Underwood, and “All the Pretty Girls” by Kenny Chesney. But these are just some of the country songs you can expect on this playlist. You’ll feel like you’ve taken a trip to Music City without the expensive plane ticket thanks to this option from Amazon Music.

Best '90s: '90s Pop for Cardio

Every '90s kid will lose it with this playlist, appropriately titled '90s Pop Workout. Not only will you remember a formative decade of your life, but you’ll also feel empowered to keep going. These lively beats are just as motivating as they are nostalgic, so you’ll never want to slow down. Go-tos from artists like Sugar Ray, Ricky Martin, and Cher will help you beat your fastest mile time or conquer that treacherous hill.

No '90s playlist would be complete without the teen idols and boy bands of the decade. “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls, “Tearin’ Up My Heart” by *NSYNC, “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” by the Backstreet Boys, and “(You Drive Me) Crazy” by Britney Spears will definitely inspire you to push through your most difficult run. If anything, you’ll start running and dancing the next time you press play on this list of songs.

Best Electronic: EDM for Cardio

Electronic dance music isn’t just for the club. You can find the most heart-palpitating beats thanks to disc jockeys like Swedish House Mafia, Adventure Club, and Zedd, among other famous music mixers. It is impossible to get tired when you have these tunes blasting in your ears, ensuring you’ll keep moving throughout your run.

A few of your favorite dance songs are most likely featured on Amazon Music’s playlist. “Runaway (You & I) by Galantis, “Can’t Stop Me” by Afrojack feat. Shermanology, and “On My Mind” by Don Diablo will keep your blood flowing and legs moving. And you’ll get even more motivation when you hear songs like “On the Run” by Ummet Ozcan and “Sweat” by Major Lazer feat. Laidback Luke and Ms. Dynamite, which are both energy-boosting and sweat-inducing.

Best Hip Hop: Hip Hop Workout

If you love clever song writing and an energizing beat, you’ll lose it for this Hip-Hop Workout playlist from Amazon Music experts. With 25 songs and over one and a half hours of popular hip hop music, this is like a concert in your ears. Featuring artists like Future, 2 Chainz, and Rae Sremmurd, you’ll want to run the extra mile while tuning into these songs.

Cardi B's hit single “Drip” featuring Migos is one of the many songs included here. “Sicko Mode” by Travis Scott, “Unforgettable” by French Montana, and “HUMBLE.” by Kendrick Lamar are also featured in this playlist. There’s enough energy, beats, and intensity in this long list of songs to ensure you’ll tackle any trail.

Best '70s: '70s Dance Party

Don’t leave the groove of the 1970s in history books. Load up your running playlist with songs from this curated list of ‘70s Dance Party hits. There’s so much range and fun throughout, you’ll love hearing and remembering some of the best songs of the past. Even though it’s recommended for dancing, your running can also benefit from these exhilarating options. It features your favorites, including songs by Rod Stewart and Gladys Knight, among others.

Few can resist singing along to “September” by Earth Wind & Fire, “Dancing Queen” by ABBA, “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” by Stevie Wonder, and “Turn the Beat Around” by Vicki Sue Robinson. If you aren’t sold yet, check out the full list, with two hours and eight minutes of classic songs from decades ago.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Listening to Music While Running?

Many runners listen to music on the run because they believe it improves their motivation, boosts their performance, and leads to other psychological benefits. Listening to music while running also can be a good distraction, especially when running on a treadmill. You may find that you get lost in the music and run farther or faster than you would without any stimulation.

On the other hand, there are plenty of reasons to consider not running with music. If you rely too much on music to boost your motivation and performance, you may really struggle if your device stops working or you’re running in a race that doesn’t allow headphones. Blocking off your sense of hearing and being too distracted while running also can be unsafe in certain conditions.

Can You Wear Headphones During a Race?

According to USA Track & Field (USATF), the use of headphones is allowed by those who are not competing in championships for awards, medals, or prize money at all USATF-sanctioned running events. Although some use of headphones is allowed, some race directors still advise against and even prohibit the use of headphones and personal music devices during races. 

They discourage headphones for safety reasons so that all race participants can hear and be aware of what’s going on around them. When registering for a race, be sure to check the race’s rules on headphones and earbuds to see if they’re allowed.

How Should I Carry My Phone When Running?

Some runners choose to carry their phone in their hands as they’re running, but many prefer to keep it secure and safe in a pocket or phone holder. From running pants and shorts to vests and jackets, some running clothes have pockets that are big enough to accommodate a phone. Running gear such as running belts, phone holders, and water bottles, also can safely store your phone on the run. Your chosen method of carrying your phone is really just a matter of personal preference.

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