10 Awesome Rock Songs for Running

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1. Jumping Jack Flash- ‘But it’s alright, I’m jumping’ Jack Flash, it’s a gas, gas, gas.’

Artist: The Rolling Stones
Released: 24th May 1968
Good for: Starting a run. Put the song on as you’re leaving, and ease into the run as the guitars and drums explode into the song.
Description: Jumping Jack Flash is a rock classic from rock giants, The Rolling Stones.
The song features a chaotic rhythm guitar phrase, Mick Jagger’s soulful vocals, blues licks and flourishes, held together by a steady beat and durable bass line.
Get this on your playlist to increase pace, intensity and the enjoyment you get out of your run.

2. Born to Run ‘’We got to get out while we’re young cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run.’

Artist: Bruce Springsteen
Released: 25th August 1975
Good for: Keeping you going during a tough mile of a half or full marathon.
: Bruce Springsteen’s iconic power rock track is enjoyed by runners everywhere. Springsteen puts his all into the vocals; energy you can try matching with your run.

The ascending and descending chord progression, seasoned with ear lending guitar riff, the spinning electric piano and synthesisers through the bridge, and the blues-based saxophone solo, filled with sole and passion.
Springsteen wrote the lyrics in perspective from a young man with an uncontrollable, passionate love for a girl which cannot wait. The two of them are ‘born to run’, which can give an empowering push on a tough, run both physically and mentally.

3. My Generation ‘I’m not trying to cause a big s-s-sensation (talking ’bout my generation) I’m just talking ’bout my g-g-g-generation (talking’ ’bout my generation)’

Artist: The Who
Released: 29th October 1964
Good for: Running through nature, a parkrun, a speed challenge with friends
Description: My Generation is a powerhouse of rhythm and blues, hard rock and power pop. The track packs a huge punch with its chugging guitar rhythm, chaotic – yet controlled – drumming and the clanging bass line. It’s iconic call and response style features Daltrey singing lyrics of youthful frustration in deliberate stutter, answered repetitively by the famous ‘talking about my generation’ vocal.

After it’s explosive start, the song continually ramps up it’s intensity. First with a groovy bass guitar solo, followed by constant key changes which naturally ups the ante of the track.

Use My Generation on your runs for a strong start, then try matching your pace and effort during the bass guitar solo and every time there’s a key change. You’ll have a blast

The Who's My Generation, is a great song to run to.

4. R U Mine? ‘I go crazy ’cause here isn’t where I wanna be, and satisfaction feels like a distant memory. And I can’t help myself. All I wanna hear her say is are you mine?’

Artist: Arctic Monkeys
Released: 27th February 2012
Good for: A long epic solo run, early in the morning when the world’s sleeping, pushing yourself through huge amounts of effort.
Description: ‘R U Mine?’ is an electrifying, garage-indie rock banger which gives runners a sense of danger and urgency. The gritted main guitar riff opens the track and propels the song into its well-known aggressive style. The lyrics describe emotional turbulence in a relationship, perfectly matching the unrestrained musical backbeat.
The song is controlled chaos and will add a hint of electricity and spark to any run.

5. Rock N Roll Star ‘In my mind my dreams are real, now we’re concerned about the way I feel. Tonight, I’m a rock ‘n’ roll star’. Tonight, I’m a rock ‘n’ roll star’.

Artist: Oasis
Good For:
Motivating you up a hill even if you don’t feel like a rock n roll star, running with shades on- best in the sun. 
Britpop in its purest form. Rock n Roll star gives you a burst of rock music energy when you really need it. The bluesy guitar opening quickly commands your attention. Before you know it, you’re catapulted into a rock gauntlet of jangling rhythmic guitars, a thundering bassline, powerful tales of life from a typical rock and roll star, grounded with an unshakeable beat you can synch each step to.

Rock and Roll star is a Britpop classic from Oasis. Add it to your running soundtrack.
Image from the Mirror online.

6. Wipe Out

Artist: The Surfaris
Released: 1963
Good for: Powerful fartlek training.
Description: Press play and your transported to 1950’s surfing America. A hysteric laugh and ‘wipe out’ fills your ears, and away you go.

The song is a 12-bar blues-based rock standard, with the lead guitar and drums taking it in turns to play. The song is catchy and demands action; wherever you are in your run, regardless of how tired you are.

For added fun and challenge, use ‘Wipe Out’ for a Fartlek training run. When there’s a drums solo, run hard at twice the speed you’re currently running at. During the guitar lead verses, recover by dropping to a light jog. Try and push yourself; use the cascading drums to encourage movement.

7. Sweet Child o’ Mine ‘She’s got a smile it seems to me Reminds me of childhood memories Where everything Was as fresh as the bright blue sky’

Artist: Guns N’ Roses
Released: August 17th 1988
Good for
: A great view, a steady relaxed run, the last mile of a long race.
Description: Everyone’s seen Will Ferrell’s snobby half-brother’s ‘perfect’ family in Step Brother’s practicing an acapella rendition of this feel good rock anthem. It’s a great version, though the dad doesn’t think so. The Guns N’ Roses original is how this song was meant to be enjoyed.

The hypnotic picking guitar intro immediately sets the scene for a happy, relaxed rock banger. Perfect for an enjoyable run. The song is layered, with the bass gradually gliding in before the rhythm guitar and drums join, before the iconic opening line. Focus on the lyrics and creatively create scenes to the story in your head; it’s a unique way to enjoy a song when running.

Keep it steady and run in time to the beat. Try upping the effort slightly during the ‘where do we go now?’ refrain, where the song’s force sharply rises.

8. Rebel Rebel ‘Rebel Rebel, you’ve torn your dress.  Rebel Rebel, your face is a mess. Rebel Rebel, how could they know? Hot tramp, I love you so!’

Artist: David Bowie
Released: February 15th 1974
Good for: A run through nature, building a steady rhythm, long runs endurance and conditioning.
Description: Rebel Rebel is a glam rock giant. It’s assertive, grinding guitar phrase, sets the scene for Bowie’s lyrical narrative about a teenager rebelling against authority by wearing makeup and dressing androgynously (mixing male and female fashion). Surprisingly, this was a defining characteristic of the glam rock era.

Additionally,  it’s not the fastest rock song in the world, but it sure does encourage constant, consistent movement.  It’s constant drum beat is reminiscent of a marching band, forcing you – for good reason of course – to keep going, even if you’re exhausted.

Give this one a whirl in your running playlist. If you have a random song selection, you won’t want to skip this tune.  Wherever you are when this comes on will be just right.

9. She Bangs the Drums ‘Have you seen her have you heard? The way she plays there are no words, to describe the way I feel’

Artist: The Stone Roses
Released: 1989
Good For: A fast mile, running in a group, a sunset run.
Description: Named as NME’s 12th ‘best indie anthem ever’, ‘She Bangs the Drum’s’ is an exciting blend of indie, rock, psychedelic, beat music, wrapped in a tight package for you to enjoy.

Jump into the song and match the beat of the high-hat drum roll, listen for the rolling bass line, before a splash of guitar which pulls all the parts together. This track gives you the Madchester experience for your runs.

Each time you listen your running experience will be different.  You’ll hear another intricate guitar part you hadn’t noticed before, you will run quicker in different parts (the chorus one time, then maybe the verse the next) and you’ll start to properly hear Brown’s lyrics.

10. Misorlu

Artist: Dick Dale
: 1962
Good for: Speed building, overtaking during a race
Description: Originally a traditional folk song from the Eastern Mediterranean region, Dick Dale arranged Misorlu into its famous surf rock package which it is widely known for today.

Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and the Black-Eyed Peas sample of the main melody for their 2006 ‘Pump It’, popularised the song even further.

The songs winding lead guitar line is held together by a rhythmic drum beat and stabbing guitar chords. The song culminates when the melody is taken over by the ascending trumpet line, which climaxes and then suddenly the song re-starts, calling the runner to act and go for it.

How do I listen to music when headphones are banned?

UK Athletics recently banned the use of earphones during races where there is any “single carriageway that is not wholly closed to traffic.” In addition, they strongly urge race organisers to ban them during any event with a potentially hazardous terrain, like a trail based half marathon.

Never fear, bone conducting headphones are here!
Bone conducting headphones are – in most cases – allowed by UK Athletics.
they work by transmitting the sound of the music through your cheek bones, not through your ears. They don’t sit in your ears but in front of them, meaning you can hear the potential hazards like cars and other runners.

Most importantly, bone conducting headphones mean you can get your fix of awesome music to fuel your run!

What are some good headphones?
AfterShokz Sportz, and Borofone, make decent and affordable bone conducting headphones.



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