Playlist Science

Hi everybody! My name is Katy and I blog at The Singing Runner!

I am thrilled to be a guest blogger for Heather today! I have been reading Heather’s blog for a while now and I am almost as obsessed with Disney as she is. 😉 Her recap for the 2010 Disney Half-Marathon was one of a few that I read before I decided to finally sign up and run it! I was scared to tackle my first half-marathon but I ran the 2011 Disney Half-Marathon this January in 1:56:20!

I’m currently training for my first marathon (Chicago!) but I hope to return to Disney in January to tackle the full marathon!



As it may be implied by my blog name, I love singing and music in general. I am pursing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Theatre and will be graduating this December, a semester early! While I no longer foresee myself pursuing a career in professional theatre (I’m looking to go to graduate school for Nutrition), music will always be a part of my life.

Go to any local or big race, no matter the distance, and you will see a lot of runners with iPods and headphones. For many runners, music is essential to their runs. While I am trying to not be so reliant on my music, I will admit, that the right songs help me push through my most difficult runs.

What if I told you that, by choosing the right music, that you could be a faster runner?


Well, this is sort of true. There are no guarantees, but there is a little science behind this.

It all boils down to Beats Per Minute, or BPM. Without getting too “music theatre major” on you 😉 BPM measures the tempo, or pace, of music. There are different tempos and time signatures for music and it can change throughout a song. However, to keep it simple, we will define BPM as “the number of beats occurring in 60 seconds.”

So how many BPM should you aim for in a song and how do you measure it?

Here’s an example. Let’s say someone is looking to run an 8:00 mile, -that person would shoot for music with around 170 BPM. Some examples of songs with around 170 BPM would be “Paper Planes” by M.I.A and “Livin on the Edge” by Aerosmith. For every beat, you should be taking a stride. If you stay at this tempo, you should have around an 8:00 mile.

There are many tools out there to help you figure out the BPM for your favorite song. There is the tap test, where you listen to 60 seconds of your song and tap for every beat.


However, to keep it simple, there is an AMAZING website that I came across recently that does all of the work for you! It’s called and it is as simple as 1,2,3! At the home page, you put in your desired mile time and it spits out a whole playlist of songs. You can also find music for spinning/ cycling and walking!

The playlist has different genres of music from hip hop/ R&B to country to alternative! I highly recommend this site if you are looking for new music for your running playlist!

So there you have it! Running and music can go hand in hand!

If you have any questions feel free to come by my blog and say hi (I love connecting with other bloggers!), send me a tweet, or post on my Facebook page!

Happy Running!


What are your favorite workout songs?

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  1. That is really neat, thanks for sharing! Will have to check it out.. although 8 minute miles may be a bit of a stretch for me right now. :p

  2. Ive been hearing a lot of opinions on using songs to help guide… I use my music to either speed up or slow down but not all that technical.. just run faster with faster songs 🙂

  3. Hi, Katy! I follow you on Twitter and have stopped by your blog a few times. That is the COOLEST website. I may use it to invest in a new playlist for my half this weekend . . . .

  4. Thanks for sharing that website! I don’t run with music, but may think about incorporating it if it will make me a faster runner. I just don’t like to mess with/think about bpm’s! Can’t wait to check it out!

  5. I had no idea about Thanks Katy!!

  6. Thanks for letting me know about

    I never heard about this site before and I can definitely use such a service in my workouts.

  7. Hello Dear, are you actually visiting this web site daily, if so afterward you will
    without doubt take nice knowledge.

Mentioned elsewhere:

  1. […] I need a new/updated playlist since none of my current ones are long enough. Thanks to Katy’s guest post on Heather’s blog I now know about a cool website with song lists keyed to a target pace […]