Running to music can boost your performance by 15 per cent, but how do you choose the right playlist for your runs? The answer, as we’ve seen before, is in the music’s BPM (beats per minute). This chart helps you find the right BPM to look for in a song depending on how you run.
Photo by KaiChanVong
The best exercise music is said to be between 120-140 BPM, but the right range for you may actually depend on what type of exercise you do and personal factors like your stride length.
The New York Times article we’ve quoted before notes:
For a stroll walker going at a pace of around 3 miles an hour, a remixed track has a count of 115 to 118 B.P.M.; for a power walker going 4.5 m.p.h., the count is 137 to 139 B.P.M., while the B.P.M. for a runner elevates to 147 to 160.
To find the ideal BPM for your running mix, run2rhythm, a site that sells running mixes, advises you perform this test:
1. Run for 15 minutes at a pace you are comfortable with 2. If you are starting out this will be slower than if you are a conditioned runner. 3. During that run count your steps for 1 minute. Do this several times to get an average. 4. Then, refer to the chart below to determine the BPM you should choose.
If you’re running on a treadmill, there’s a separate chart.
Here’s another reason to do this test of counting your steps while running for a minute: Runner’s World recommends doing this so you know your cadence and improve your energy management. If you’re running with too few strides over that minute (70 to 80 strides for one foot, versus the more efficient 90 strides), then you should try running with shorter, quicker steps. And that’s something you can use a fast-paced song with BPMs of 175 to 180 to achieve, the article says.
Once you know the BPM you should be running to, you can find the right music and create the ultimate playlist to help you maintain a steady rhythm for your runs. You could also switch up the BPM playlists if you want a more intense run (166 BPM, for example) or an easier jog (150 BPM).
Linking BPM to Running Speed [run2rhythm]