Best Running Songs Series: Inspiration

I bought one of the new IP.od Nan.os that has the touch screen.  I love it!  The touch screen gives me the opportunity to sort my music into playlists and it is still small enough to clip on to my shirt.  I’m in the process of making smaller targeted playlists for running right now.  I need a lot of music since I’m going to be running 50 miles this December!  My gives me the ability to easily play the group of songs that suit my mental needs at any given moment.

I thought I’d share with you some of the songs that will be on those different playlists in a series of posts.  This list contains a few of my top “inspirational” songs.  The lyrics of these songs never fail to make me pick up my feet when all I want to do is stop running.

If you have a particular song that inspires you list what makes it special in the comments.  I only chose five here but I have many more songs that inspire me and am always down to find new music!


“Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?”

“Lose Yourself” by Eminem: So begins my all-time favorite motivational running song.  It continues with “You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow.  This opportunity comes once in a lifetime…” in the chorus. This song never fails to make me push harder when I’m running.  Doing my best at a race is hardly a do-or-die matter, but sometimes I have goals I want to reach.  Whether I am trying to PR or just shuffle to a finish, this song reminds me remember that every second and every moment counts.  Game face on!

Listen Purchase
[audio:] Lose Yourself - 8 Mile (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)

“I’m taking my freedom,
Pulling it off the shelf,
Putting it on my chain,
Wear it around my neck.
I’m taking my freedom,
Putting it in my car,
Wherever I choose to go,
It will take me far.
I’m livin’ my life like it’s golden…”

“Golden” by Jill Scott:  I’ve never been a huge Jill Scott fan (go ahead and take my black woman of a certain age card) for some reason but this song does it for me when I’m running.  It helps me to recall how free running can make me feel and helps me to just live in that mile and that moment.

Listen Purchase
[audio:] Golden - Beautifully Human - Words and Sounds, Vol. 2

“Well there may be times
When you wish you wasn’t born
And you wake one morning
Just to find your courage gone.
But just know that feeling
Only last a little while
You stick with us
And we’ll show you how to smile, yeah”

“Ease On Down The Road” from The Wiz: This is a classic movie musical tune featured Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.  I can’t not smile when this bit of disco-lite seventies fun comes on.  It basically reminds me that things can really suck but you just have to keep it moving.  What better message is needed during a hard running effort?

Listen Purchase
[audio:] Ease On Down the Road #1 - The Wiz (Original Soundtrack)

“I woke up this morning
The sunshine was shining
I put on my happy face.
I’m living, I’m able , I’m breathing, I’m grateful
To put on my happy face.”

“Happy Face” by Destiny’s Child: The music of Beyonce & Destiny’s Child occupies a fair amount of space on any running playlist of mine, but this particular song is special to me.  The lyrics are basic but somehow profound.  I remember this song coming on after a tough run session and suddenly the air felt cooler, the sunshine brighter, the flowers more colorful and the trees more lush and bountiful.  Taking the time to chill out and be more aware of the basic things in life that we often take for granted is very necessary and definitely something worth smiling about.  Who cares if I’m running slow or my legs are tired?  I’m still running!

Listen Purchase
[audio:] Happy Face - Survivor

“I want to take that ride
To the planet where the brave me resides
And I will face the fire
‘Cuz ain’t no breakthrough gonna come without no sacrifice

“Orange Glow” by Amel Larrieux: Amel is probably my favorite artist and yet she remains largely in one-hit wonder territory for the big Groove Theory hit from the 90’s “Tell Me.”  Amel has an angelic voice and her songs feature deep lyrical content and original beats.  This song was released a few years ago and it always makes me happy when it comes up in the shuffle.  It touches on overcoming fear, facing obstacles and making sacrifices to achieve growth all over a cool funky beat.  I wish this song had been released when I ran my first marathon because I desperately needed it then!

Listen Purchase
[audio:] Orange Glow - Orange Glow - Single

Disclaimer: I have an ITunes affiliate account and I earn a (very) tiny bit of money if you happen to purchase any of these songs using my link. Just letting you know!

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9 Responses to Best Running Songs Series: Inspiration

  1. krissy says:

    I feel like I wanna add songs to your list! Lol good so far. I wanna listen to that ameil song. I’ve never heard it. I love her but I don’t listen to much of her music. Does that even make sense? Lol now Jill is one of my favs. I won’t steal your card tho. She’s not for everybody.

    I meant to write that actually…updating the post now!

    Yeah – I don’t get the Jill obsession for most people. She has a great voice but a lot of her music bores me for some reason.

  2. claire says:

    The type of music I listen to isn’t really inspirational in any sort of way (my favorite workout song is s & m by Rhianna, talk about NOT inspirational!), so thanks for introducing me to some. I just listen to a lot of bad hip hop and pop music, because the beats seem to keep me going. Maybe I’m not a very deep runner 😉

    Oh I have a list of those songs too believe me! I listen to plenty of stuff with no redeeming value whatsoever besides a strong beat. I am just splitting my lists out for access by mood. Believe me, I’m not always deep LOL!

  3. Melissa says:

    “Lose Yourself” is one of my favorite songs to help me finish a run/race!!! Right now I’m kind of obsessed with the Black Eye Peas, “Don’t stop the party” keeps me going when the going gets tough.


    Welcome! #1 Favorite since it carried me across the finish line to my first marathon. I even put it on my playlist for labor LOL. Something about it hypnotizes me into thinking I can handle *anything.* I have a quite a few Peas tunes on my lists as well.

  4. krissy says:

    Listen to “shame” by Jill scott also “shut up” by ledisi

    Joy and pain, back in stride, happy feelings by frankie beverly and maze

    All of these sounds make me happy. Make me wanna move (and I do!) You might like them on your list.

    I actually kinda like that one and the one with Anthony Hamilton. Oooh Back In Stride is a good oldie with running tendencies! I remember when that tape came out and my mom played it to death! Now that I think about it – I need to add “Before I Let Go” to my happy list because I love that song.

  5. I always workout to Beyonce’s Get Me Bodied and Kelly Rowland’s Bump Like This. Don’t lno why, but those two songs are a great mash-up!

    Love Get Me Bodied and need to take a listen to the Kelly Rowland song. Never heard of it before!

  6. krissy says:

    Ohh Teresha those are good one too! I forgot to add before I let go. That one always puts me in a good mood.

  7. Wifey says:

    Love “Ease on Down the Road.” Too funny!

    Ironically, “The Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars has been making me smile and run faster. Go figure.

    Winks & Smiles,

    I like that Bruno Mars song and too funny that a song about laziness would help you run faster. Bome to think of it, I have a similar song on another list with Lazy in the title.

  8. chele says:

    You have a great list and it makes me want to update mine. I like listening to “Beautiful People” by Chris Brown, “Yeah” by Usher, “Freedom” by George Michael and “Optimistic” by Sounds of Blackness, just to name a few.

    Oooh Optimistic is nice and inspirational!

  9. Thank you so much! I’ve been asking folks for running music since I started working out. This is such a great start for me!!!!

    You’re welcome and I’m glad to hear you are sticking with running! I have more lists coming. I have a list of uptempo songs, a “blue-eyed soul” list and a musical theater list in mind so far. :)

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