best running songs

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Songs That Will Make You Pick Up Your Pace
Music can propel you to go faster, but only if you've got gas left in your tank, explains Carl Foster, PhD, a professor in the department of exercise and sports science at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. (When he's conducted time trials with competitive cyclists who were already pushing themselves to the max, music didn't make much of a difference in their times.) Research by Karageorghis provides further insight: Experienced athletes have had a lot of practice tuning in and responding to what their body is telling them, and music—especially a song that's too fast, too slow or too crammed with busy beats—can throw them off their preferred rhythm. On the other hand, most casual exercisers welcome the distraction from their own huffing and puffing; the key is finding a song with a predictable beat and a tempo that matches a pace you can sustain. If you're hitting the treadmill, the road, the elliptical machine or the stationary bike, that's probably somewhere between 120 and 160 beats per minute. (You can use this online tool to calculate the beats per minute in your favorite songs.)

What to play: "Push It" by Salt-N-Pepa (124 bpm); "Friday I'm in Love" by the Cure (135 bpm); "Vacation" by the Go-Go's (156 bpm); "Happy" by Pharrell Williams (160 bpm).