TOP TEN TUESDAY: Running Songs

TTTNOTE: I apologize for the use of Comic Sans. I know that this is the most terrible of fonts, but I needed a graphic and I made this on my computer at work during lunch … and … it just happened, ok? Please don’t judge me. It’s not my fault that my work won’t let me download custom fonts on my work computer.

Music has such an impact on my running. If I need to zone out and just run I will plug in and jam out. Sometimes I don’t want it. But, more often than not you’ll see me with headphones in while I run like many other runners.

But, more than just running with any kind of music, I have to listen to MY music. Meaning, the music that motivates, inspires and pushes me along. Music is such a personal thing to not just runners but individuals as well. The lyrics, melody and message all speak to the listener in different ways. That’s the beauty of music, because it is so personal.

Over the past few years as I have ran I’ve refined my running playlist a bit here and there. I’ve added a number of songs and I’ve deleted just as much. I’ve had certain music like U2 stay, while poorly purchased songs like Gangham Style, Harlem Shake and One Direction quickly fade out and be deleted. It’s just kind of the nature of music. Music’s circle of life.

As I have now been working on my playlist during this year’s racing season I’ve been careful not adding songs that will most likely fadeout into oblivion by next summer. But, more than anything I am just trying to go back to the basics. I am really trying to get to the root of what motivates me, what excites me and what makes me happy. Especially while running.

In completing my seasonal running playlist I thought I would share with you some of my favorite running songs.

Here are my Top Ten Running Songs … with a little help from the best of YouTube!

10) The Climb; Miley Cyrus

I know that his song is fairly cliche for most running playlists. But, I remember hearing this song for the first time on the radio a few months before I started my transformation. I had no idea it was Miley Cyrus … then again we all had no idea what Miley Cyrus would eventually become (I think professional tongue swagger is the appropriate classification?). But, the lyrics really spoke to me. They were the words I kind of had to hear in that moment.

But, even after my transformation the song is one that I love running to. It seems like no matter where I am in the middle of a race or a run it’s applicable. I also can’t help but to reflect on my journey while listening to it. Especially reflecting on who and where I was I first heard the song compared to now. It’s been a world of difference.

9) Some Sail Away; Styx 

I love this song for a couple of reasons. One, I love the message. I love how it drives home the point that we are the captain of our lives. Also that there are unseen horizons to be discovered at whatever stage of life you are. This isn’t just a great graduation song, it’s a killer let’s get my life going song.

Secondly, this song is perfect for long runs. Besides the message, the beat and melody just go great with a cruising along pace that I love! You can’t help but be motivated to kick up the pace during those guitar solos. You can’t. I dare you to try.

8) Thunderstruck; AC/DC

On my first day of college at Southern Utah University this song’s meaning changed for me. I will always associate it with my time in college (mainly, because this played at EVERY sporting and campus events and we were the Thunderbirds). I guess I should be sick of it … but … that has never come. And, quite honestly, I don’t I will never get sick of it.

You hear Thunderstruck played a lot at sporting events as a way to pump up the fans. The Jazz played it right before tipoff a lot and for good reasons. It’s an awesome pump up song. I love listening to this song at the starting line right before the gun goes off. Last year before my PR races I jammed out to this before my races. Needless to say, I need to jam out to this more during this year’s summer races. It might be the secret to my sub-two goal?!

7) Run; Thriving Ivory

I remember when I was training for my first marathon I played this song A LOT. I mean A LOT. This song really helped to mentally prepare myself for those long training runs and that first 26.2 mile race. It helped me process everything that I was going through mentally and physically with my training. It was tough and there were MANY moments that I just wanted to quit. But, the message in this song really helped me get through a lot of those bumps in the road.

It also doesn’t hurt that it also has a great beat to it. It’s the ideal song to play towards the end of your long runs when you mentally and physically need a boost of moral. During my training I kind of nicknamed this my last mile song.

6) Jump; Van Halen

There is nothing about the message of this song that I love. In fact it really doesn’t have anything to do with running unless you are Fast Cory. But, the introduction, cords and feel of the song just LIFTS me up. It’s such an awesome feel good song. This is great as a pre-race pump up song or even as a mid-race energizer.

On a side note this will always remind me of Sea World because they played this song EXTENSIVELY during their nighttime show Shamu Rocks in the early 90s. So I guess this is not jump an awesome running song, but a great killer whale jumping song as well. What a correlation, eh?

5) The Edge of Glory; Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga AND Miley Cyrus on this playlist? HECK YES. I really am not a huge fan of Lady Gaga, but you can’t deny that she has some pretty awesome songs. This song in particular I love. Just the notion that you are ON THE EDGE of glory … or … of doing something awesome, I love.

This song is a reminder to me that I am truly on the edge of accomplishing my goals. I played this song A LOT last year as I was working towards accomplishing my PR goal. Because, quite literally when you come SO close to those goals you feel like you are on the edge of glory. Plus, it has a great and melody to it that goes perfect with tempo running.

4) This is War; 30 Seconds to Mars

I got introduced to this song not that long ago by Becky. And, I absolutely love it. It is one song that could easily represent my journey. You don’t lose 180lbs. by simply doing it. It is war. You go to war against your doubts, fears and demons. You fight them. It hasn’t been easy, and I’ve fought through a lot to get to this stage of my life.

Even in relation to running this song is a great song for those long runs. When the legs are slowing down, you’re mentally and physically tired and just want to quit … you’ve got to fight through it. It’s war. You’ve got to just grind it out and FIGHT. I am so glad that I was introduced to this song, because it’s always great to have something that reminds you to fight when needed!

3) Runnin’ Down A Dream; Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Since I was a young kid I’ve always been a big fan of Tom Petty, mainly because my brother was a such a huge fan. So when I started training for my first 5K this was one of the first songs I added to my playlist. Because, I was literally running down a dream. Even as I continued running longer distances this song remained on that play list. This was the song that got me through a lot of my long mile marathon training runs. It was the perfect reminder to me that I was LITERALLY running down a dream.

Besides the message this is a great running song because of the beat, message and melody. Plus, how can you not be a fan of Tom Petty? I mean, how can you NOT love his voice? It’s so comforting, Grandfatherly and just awesome. I won’t lie this YouTube video DOES kind of ruin that. But, if given the chance to adopt Tom Petty as my Grandpa … I’d take it.

2) My Body; Young the Giant

This is one of my favorite workout/running songs ever. The edginess, message and melody is just perfect for a hard long run or hardcore workout. My gym plays it a lot and I love when they do, because I really find myself in the zone when it comes on. It’s just perfect for me, especially if I need a boost of motivation.

But, even more than that, I love what it means to me in my own personal journey. Most of journey has been a fight against my body. It’s been a fight in the gym to overcome a lot of my fears against what I felt like I could and could not do. This has also been true in my running. There have been plenty of times when I have wanted to quit or slow down, but this song has really helped me push through those moments. I’ve just had to teach to tell my body to shut up.

1) Where The Streets Have No Name; U2

ALL. TIME. FAVORITE. SONG. And, this has been my favorite song even before I started running, which makes it even doubly awesome now that I run. When you REALLY get to know me you understand my love for U2. It’s not just a band that plays music, listening to U2 is a religious experience for me. The message and melody of their songs speak directly to my soul.

But, this song has always spoken to me. It helped give me the motivation to change my life and now allows to me reflect on how I got here. But, that introduction gets me everytime. EVERYTIME. Last week I had this blasting during one of my training runs and it was one of my favorite experiences. It was as though as it played I got faster and faster, soon I was into a sprint. Mentally I had this picture of Fat Josh running and the faster I ran Skinny Josh or really ME broke through piece by piece. I know that sounds really strange, but it was as though I was letting go of my past. It was just an awesome moment that I will cherish.

Really though, all U2 songs speak to my soul and I could have easily listed more songs in my Top 10.

What are some of your favorite running songs? Please share in the comments below. I want to hear them.



  1. Top 10 Josh-Becky Friendship Songs …

    1. Where The Streets Have No Name.
    2. This is War.
    3. Some John Mayer song.
    4. Another John Mayer song.
    5. Another John Mayer song.
    6. Yet another John Mayer song!
    7. REALLY?! Another John Mayer song?
    8. Okay, seriously, one more John Mayer song and this friendship is over!!!
    9. Okay, good it’s another U2 song. Friendship save.
    10. And … another 30 Seconds to Mars song … so we’re all good.


Leave a Reply