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Runner's playlist: 10 classic songs to make the miles musical

Here are 10 harmonic heartbeat boosters for runners, selected from Billboard’s “Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs.”
Here are 10 harmonic heartbeat boosters for runners, selected from Billboard’s “Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs.”
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Runners love rhythm, making music a marvelous match for the miles. What songs make you feel like lacing up your sneakers for a good run? Which tunes top your playlist for mini-marathons or track time?

The most helpful song choices for runners and speed walkers have steady rhythms and upbeat tones. Many have kicky beats, which make us want to move, while others offer soothing cool-down melodies.

Here are 10 harmonic heartbeat boosters for runners, selected from Billboard’s “Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs.”

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1. “Another One Bites the Dust,” by Queen

OK, this 1980 hit offers a bit of comic relief for an adept runner, but the pounding bass beat is motivating. Besides, wouldn’t “Bohemian Rhapsody” be too tall an order for most joggers?

2. “Billie Jean,” by Michael Jackson

Infectiously energetic, this 1982 “Thriller” single makes listeners want to moon walk, or just run a few more miles.

3. “Every Breath You Take,” by The Police

Here’s a slower tune for sprinters winding down to catch their second wind. This 1983 classic reminds runners to check out their surroundings, just in case.

4. “Eye of the Tiger,” by Survivor

In 1982, “Rocky 3” rocked with this number-one hit, and so will today’s pavement pounders.

5. “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” by Marvin Gaye

Soulful and steady, 1968’s “Grapevine” establishes a solid working rhythm for runners, particularly those who choose Gaye’s cover over the 1967 Gladys Knight and the Pips recording.

6. “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” by B. J. Thomas

This 1970 single, which appeared on the soundtrack from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” grabbed the Academy Award for Best Song. Devoted runners workout in inclement weather, and “Raindrops” is a spirit-lifter.

7. “Smooth,” by Santana with Rob Thomas

What a hot song for keeping reluctant runners on track. “Smooth” topped the charts in 1999, and the swaying song perks up pacers even now. Who wouldn’t want to keep moving, listening to guitar riffs like that?

8. “Stayin’ Alive,” by The Bee Gees

Even disco haters may be inspired to take another lap around the block to this 1977 tune from the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack.

9. “Tossin’ and Turnin’,” by Bobby Lewis

A 1961 chart topper, this R&B tune told of insomnia, but it can sure wake up weary runners today.

10. “The Twist,” by Chubby Checker

The number-one song on the “Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs” list is peppy and fun and ideal for a good run. Since 1960, “The Twist” has made folks want to get up and dance or run a little longer.

Some runners may also choose clichéd clockers as Olivia Newton-John’s “Let’s Get Physical” and John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Hurts So Good.”

The secret is to crank the music and go. Just clip on those earphones with tunes that keep the feet moving in step for the entire run.