13 Women & Non-Binary Folks On Their Favorite Song To Listen To While They're Running
What’s the first thing you do when you step outside for a run? If you’re like the majority of people — 64 percent of runners, according to the 2017 National Runner Survey conducted by Running USA — you pop in your earphones and put something on to listen to. People listen to music or podcasts or audiobooks for a range of reasons. For some, it helps them run faster. For others, it keeps them from getting bored with an otherwise tedious chore. And still others listen to nothing at all.
The studies we have so far on music and running seem to suggest that there’s at least a marginal benefit to listening to music when you run. One 2015 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning found that music may bump up times during a 5k — and improve recovery — at least a little bit. Another 2008 study published in The Sport Journal found that certain tracks really get people going when they’re working out.
“Our recent research has uncovered the tendency among athletes and exercisers to coordinate bursts of effort with those specific segments of a musical track they find to be especially motivating,” the researchers wrote. “We refer to the phenomenon as segmentation (Priest & Karageorghis, 2008). The segmentation effect is particularly strong if the individual knows the musical track very well and can anticipate the flow of the music. It is also beneficial to match the tempo of music with the intensity of the workout.”
In case that was too dry or technical, they’re basically saying that if you play your jam when you’re running, it will make you run faster. So maybe put it at the end of your playlist for when you need a little help getting through that last quarter mile.
And if you’re looking for inspiration for running music, here’s what 13 women and non-binary people listen to when they’re running.
1. Erika, 31
"I listen to hip-hop. Specifically the Jay-Z Pandora station or his albums on shuffle. He’s my fave artist so it gives my the push I need. Funnily enough, I listen to mostly country/pop in my everyday life."
2. Mariella, 29
"Sometimes I listen to podcasts or audio books if I'm running slow and steady, to pass the time so I'm not bored. Sometimes I listen to Spotify play lists like "Cardio", or "HIIT Pop" which is all hip hop if I need motivation and to be pumped up. If I'm trail running a lot of times I'll listen to music that I think fits the scenery if it were in a movie — so Lumineers or something."
3. Jax, 30
"I listen to a completely different kind of music when running. I listen to mostly motivating electronic music, like yesterday I listened to the Be Svendsen radio. But yeah, I don't listen to that stuff at all during everyday life."
4. Ella, 33
"I don't listen to anything when I run! For me, running is meditation and the rare, rare, rare opportunity to move in the world entirely without any input beyond what I see in front of me and feel under my feet."
5. Elizabeth, 42
"I listen to music that makes me want to dance, makes the running feel like dancing with distance!"
6. Michelle, 31
"I listen to electronic, beat-thumping music that would probably give me a heart attack if I listened to it at work or at home. But for running it keeps me going and helps me zone out! "
7. Alex C, 30
"The first time I ever ran a full 5k, as I was coming up to the end, 'Let It Go' started playing (my playlist for when I run is 90 percent Disney) and it was so freeing I actually smashed the 30-minute target!"
8. Emma, 32
"I listen to podcasts or audiobooks because I get bored listening to music and it can mess up my pace."
9. Rachel, 32
"I listen to Limp Bizkit's 'Break Stuff'. What does that say about me?"
10. Chenxia, 30
"Usually I don’t listen to stuff when I’m running somewhere unfamiliar (for safety/awareness reasons), but when I feel comfortable, like in my parents’ neighborhood or along the Embarcadero, my thing to listen to is language tapes (like Pimsleur). Running isn’t my favorite, so basically I want to get it over with as fast as possible, and listening to and repeating language exchanges is just weirdly fun. Right now, learning Russian."
11. Lauren, 32
"Raggaeton and gangsta rap. With a little bit of T Rex and Bomba Estereo."
12. Stacy, 31
"I'm a non-binary femme (in races I put 'woman,' although I've not yet done a race since I started to identify as n-b) and I listen to a mix of contemporary rock/indie and classic rock. They're all songs that make me feel strong emotions, because in a long race I don't need the music to match my pace, I need it to match my emotional state. I always like to cross a finish line listening to 'Sinnerman.'"
13. Emily, 32
"I like Beyoncé. And Sia. And other terrible pop. Not that Beyoncé is terrible pop!"
It's a lot of variety, right? So whether it's podcasts or pop, tie your shoes, put those earphones in, and hit the concrete!