What's the Weirdest, Greatest Song on Your Running Playlist?

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

You know the kind of person who has the best recommendations for everything—books, restaurants, Netflix binges, whatever? That’s my colleague Sophie. So when she casually mentioned “Work Bitch,” “Wolf Like Me,” and “Clearest Blue” as running mix must-adds in The Atlantic’s round-up of favorite songs this year, I added all three.

And my run this morning was so great, all thanks to Sophie, Britney Spears, TV on the Radio, and CHVRCHES. I actually found the vocals on “Clearest Blue,” the CHVRCHES track, a little too effervescent for the point in my run (toward the end) when it came on. When I’m getting tired, I prefer music that at least alludes to hardship—you know, references to vomiting up mom’s spaghetti (Eminem's “Lose Yourself”) or prayers that my feet won’t stop functioning (Kanye’s “Jesus Walks”).

My running playlist is mostly hip-hop. But there are a few songs that I’ve stuck with over the years that are a little different. My favorite track for a long uphill run, for example, is Ravel’s Boléro. It may sound weird, certainly different than hip-hop, but I swear it’s the best.

So now I’m wondering: What’s the most unusual or underappreciated track on your favorite running or workout playlist? Drop me a line at hello@theatlantic.com.