The Best Music For Morning Runs

the best musicI have recently come to terms with the fact that I am a morning person (thanks, full time job). Being a runner, this naturally led to trying out morning runs. Lately, I have begun the slow, difficult process of waking up an hour earlier to squeeze in my precious road time.

It has been working for me, but it is definitely an entirely different beast than working out at night. One thing I have found differs greatly is my music choice. Jamming head phones in your ears at 6:00 am is in no way the same as jamming at 6:00 pm.

My go-to has been the lovely Sara Bareilles. There is really nothing better than her soothing, yet powerful and inspiring lyrics, paired with steady rhythms and songs that build. I need the build for the hills and I need the rhythms to keep my legs turning over as the sun rises and my muscles groan.

For runs later in the day, I gravitate towards fast beats and sexy dance grinds to pass
the miles by. But running in the morning is physically a very different experience to evening workouts; at night, your body has already had the chance to stretch and move. The initial creaking of joints and complaining of calves that all runners experience has been shaken out by the time evening rolls around.


In the same way, my mind has not yet been shaken out in the morning. I can’t press play on Pitbull when I haven’t even eaten breakfast yet. I need something quieter and thought-provoking, but still powerful enough to keep me going. My three favorites right now are Sara Bareilles, Britt Nicole, and Florence and the Machine. I find myself turning their articulate and empowering lyrics over in my mind and melting into guitars and drums as I run. You can even make playlists that start out with the quieter songs, and end with their more in-your-face tunes. I love Britt Nicole’s “The Sun is Rising” and Florence and Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over.

My top morning running song? “Chasing the Sun” by Sara Bareilles on The Blessed Unrest. “We can always be chasing the sun,” she says. “So fill up your lungs and just run.”

13 thoughts on “The Best Music For Morning Runs

  1. I too have done a lot of running (5kkm to Marathon), and also coached long distance running for a local track club for 10 years. You may be interested in the following:

    A running club met in Central Park (NY) as part of an experiment with female runners only. The women were split into two groups and both were given the same route to run. One group was told to bring their music with them and use that to help them run the route, while the other group had no music whatsoever. Unbeknown to both groups, some male runners were “planted” in predetermined places and told to stay hidden behind shrubbery, but watch the women go passed. At he end of the runs, both groups were asked about their run with specific attention to anything unusual.

    The group of women with their music reported a totally normal run. The group of women without music also noted a normal run except that they felt uncomfortable for some unknown reason in a couple of areas. Those couple of areas were where the men were watching them!

    As long distance running coach, I recommended against running with music for that reason. Music (or any other audible diversion) will overpower your intuitive senses that something is not right. You need to stay alert and tuned into your environment at all times. From a running performance perspective, and if you have aspirations beyond jogging around the block, then it is important for you to tune into your body as it works. You need to feel those muscles carrying you along. You need to understand that quads and hamstrings are working together. You need to understand how you are landing. You need to ensure that your arms are part of the working equipment and not just going along for the ride. You need to run with as open a chest cavity as you can…….. and so much more. You are doing none of these if you are listening to music . Just some thoughts. 🙂


    1. Thanks for all your feedback! That is so interesting about the Central Park experiment. I wonder what I would notice if I ran without music – I bet even the same routes I do regularly would change without all the noise. I did do a half marathon without music last year and enjoyed it – your comment has made me think I should try it more often! 🙂


      1. There are many clear training advantages by just focusing on what you have to do, but the main reason I brought this to your attention was simply safety and, to be safe, you must always be alert to your surroundings. 🙂


  2. Yes! Sara Bareilles is my idol! “Chasing the Sun” is one of my favorite songs from her. It’s great that you find pleasure listening to her (as well as the other artists- Florence+the Machine is good as well) on your runs! 🙂


  3. I love when lyrics describe that exact moment, thought or action. Do you have a spotify account? I’d love to follow you – seems like you have great taste in music!



  4. I don’t run but am getting in the habit of walking the treadmill for an hour each night. And Sara Bareilles? Love her! Her song “Gravity” inspired one of my posts with the same title!


      1. ☺ Gravity, Brave, King of Anything…she’s on my playlist! When you have the time, please check out my Gravity piece and tell me what you think!


  5. The last time I tried running I fell..on my face..my daughter still talks about it to this day (and she’s only 5) so I commend you and your ability. Love the music though. 🙂


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