Have you ever lost motivation during a run or workout in the gym only to find reinvigoration from a change of music? Why is that? Our brains are hardwired to react physically and emotionally to songs we hear. This effect compounds when you listen to the right music at the right time causing you to perform better while enjoying your workout.

Whether you're looking to set a new personal record or just get off the couch a few times a week, the right playlist can make all the difference to motivate you and keep you performing at your highest level.

Finding the Right Pace for Your Workout

Before choosing a playlist or songs to listen to, you'll want to identify the tempo of music that will benefit you most. To do this, you need to calculate your beats-per-minute or BPM. The best way to do this is to make your workout a social event and grab a friend.

Your friend will watch you run at your normal pace and count the number of times your right foot hits the ground during one minute. Then all you need to do is double that count, and you have your BPM. With your BPM figured out, you're ready to tailor the perfect playlist for your next workout with these apps.

Get Jogging With These Apps

Spotify's Run Elite Playlist

After Spotify announced it would no longer offer its Spotify Running feature, many running enthusiasts wondered where they would get their motivation from. Thanks to Spotify's new partnership with John Hancock, runners will have the Spotify functionality they know plus much more.

Similar to Spotify Running, users will tailor their listening experience by setting their pace and length of run to obtain playlists that match their running style. Runners looking to have more control over their playlists can even access custom playlists based on their listening habits.

Run Elite Playlist goes beyond giving runners something to listen to and instead connects runners with elite Olympic and Marathon athletes such as Shalane Flanagan, Dathan Ritzenhein and Tatyana McFadden. The app accomplishes this by providing you with access to custom playlists and running tips created by these athletes.


RecordBeater is an app for Androids which helps you get into the zone while on a run. No need to use the latest smartwatch to analyze your BPM. Its auto-detecting technology uses your smartphone to find your running cadence and serves you up music that matches the beat to your footsteps.

RecordBeater also offers unique training programs that you can take advantage of within the app including interval training, 5k, 10k and half marathon programs. These programs combined with GPS tracking and voice feedback are surefire ways to ensure you hit your goals.


Let your body drive the beat with RockMyBody. The app gives you two separate ways to customize your playlists. You can set your initial BPM to target and your RockMyRun station will stream music at your pace level. RockMyRun can even match your music to the beat of your heart when combined with your Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor.

Based on your changes in speed or heart rate, RockMyRun will continually mix up the tempo of the music to match your strides and output level. Stay motivated and perform better with genre-specific stations powered by some of the most talented DJs in the world like Steve Aoki, David Guetta and Zedd.

Cruise Control: Run

Set your workout playlist just like you would your car's cruise control with Cruise Control: Run. This app for iOS adjusts the tempo of the music in real-time for you to stay on track and hit your targeted pace and heart rate. If you begin to slow down, your music will rev up to get you back on track just like cruise control in your car. The app synchronizes every beat of your favorite songs to your running cadence.

For many runners, the coolest feature about Cruise Control: Run is that it incorporates your music library so you can still run to the songs you love. Have your favorite band play at your pace every step of the way to drive you over the finish line.

Design Playlists for Alternative Workouts

Depending on the type of training you're doing, you may need to cater your playlist further than just a target BPM. For distance runners looking to maintain a target time or heart rate, tracking BPM makes sense. However, if you're looking to vary your output levels with bursts of energy, you might want a playlist that either mirrors your activity level or keeps you pumped throughout your workout.

A steady stream of fast, upbeat music is likely to keep you feeling energized even after you've hit the proverbial wall. For high-intensity training, such as interval training, you'll want your playlist to keep you going through every peak and valley of your program.

Use these apps to create a sequence of songs to power through your next interval training program.


Using beat syncing technology, PaceDJ uses your private music library to provide you with songs that match your running style. This app analyzes all of your music by BPM to give you full power in catering a playlist that matches your workout.

This app lets you plan out your workout by song rather than the app choosing a song for you. Predict when in the workout you will need that pick-me-up or calming cool-down music to help sync your mind and body.


jogTunes is another app which gives you full control over creating the perfectly synced playlist for workouts. All you need to do is figure out your pace in BPM using their instructions. Then, you can search tracks based on your BPM to identify the best rotation of songs.

jogTunes is synced with iTunes so you can go from creating your playlist to purchasing new songs to supplement your library. Using iTunes, you can then rearrange your song order to match the time sequence of your workout.

Sync Your Playlist and Get Out There

Exercise is not only good for your health – it's supposed to be fun! Get out there and energize your mind and body. With these pace syncing apps, you might even begin to enjoy your workouts!

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