Reporter's Notebook

The Weirdest, Greatest Songs on Your Running Playlist
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Readers pick their favorite oddball tracks. Listen to all of the suggestions on Spotify here, and a curated, hour-long playlist of them here.

Show 15 Newer Notes

Track of the Day: 'O… Saya'

A reader starts off our series of the “weirdest, greatest” songs to run to:

I start my run to “O… Saya” from the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack (A R Rahman feat. MIA). It starts slowly, not unlike my body at the beginning of a run. It builds intensity with Taiko drums, which reminds my legs that yes, running is a thing they do. The guitar starts, legs slightly warm, head up—yep, I can do this.  By the time MIA starts singing about running, speed, and ninjas, I feel like I too could conquer Who Wants to Be A Millionaire—or at least feel smarter than the Fox News talking head on the screen on my treadmill (it’s there by default; I’m just too lazy to change the channel).

Have a running track to recommend for our New Year’s list? Drop us an email.

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