Interval Training Running Playlist

Interval training is one of the most fun ways to get in shape, burn some calories, and push the needle forward in your fitness. There are so many different types of interval workouts, from HIIT to running intervals, that we could talk about them for days. But today, we’re going to be looking at the music that helps keep you going when all you want to do is stop.

A big thank you to Carly for coming up with the playlist you’ll find at the bottom + the idea to share her knowledge with all of you. Thanks Carly!

Interval running music playlist
Music helps improve your running performance and helps you perform at a high level


What is Interval Training?

  • Steady State training vs Interval Training – Steady State is a regular, low to moderate intensity repetitive exercise (ex: 30 min easy jog at the same, consistent pace)
  • Interval training includes short bursts of intensity followed by a period of active recovery.  The times and intensity levels vary for each interval workout.  The active recovery time also can vary.  Usually, the longer or more difficult the effort of the interval, the longer the recovery period is.  It is up to you how long and how hard an effort you give each interval based on how you are feeling, your fitness level, and what goals you have.  
  • Intervals” are a general term for anything that has an ‘on’ portion followed by an ‘off’ period. An example might be 4 x 1 minute hard with 2 minutes rest. Your options are limitless when it comes to how you’d like to structure your interval workout.
  • Interval training does not have to be all out efforts – even something as simple as jog 2 minutes, walk 1 minute is considered intervals.
Music can help pump you up for your next workout
Music playlist for interval workout

Why interval training is so amazing

Interval training is so beneficial to a runner because it revs your engine and helps you perform at a higher level. Personally, I love intervals that are between 3-5 minutes in length. It’s enough time to be working at a really high level, but also gives me a quick break that helps me recover and get my mind right again.

Improve your interval runs with the addition of music
Combining interval training with music can improve your performance

Examples of Interval Training:

  • Walk two minutes, run two minutes
  • Cycle with low resistance for two minutes, cycle with increased resistance two minute
  • Run 400 meters, jog 100 meters

How to Interval Train:

You can choose your intervals in many different ways. One way I like is by doing a combination of time and distance. I might do 15 x 1 minute one week and then 10 x 400 meters the next. The amazing part about intervals is that there is no set method to running intervals. Below, you’ll find some examples of how you can interval train.

Interval training running playlist
Use music to help boost your interval runs
  • By time: Run two minutes at a harder effort, jog one minute for active recovery.  Repeat.
  • By distance: Run for 500 meters at a harder effort, jog 250 meters for active recovery. Repeat.
  • By music: Use the tempo of the music to create your intervals.  The faster the beat, increase the intensity; the slower the beat, active recovery.

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Interval Playlist

Here is a playlist of songs to help push you along during a 30 minute run or cycle or anything cardio.  Either just enjoy the tunes or use the beat (as described) to add some interval training to your workout!

The Adventure by Angels and Airwaves – a 5 minute warm-up song to set your intentions on todays cardio workout and check in with how you are feeling. What do you want out of today’s workout?  How will it make you feel to accomplish this run/workout today?

Forgive Me Friend by Smith and Thell – Step up the intensity a bit.  Outside run, increase the pace a bit, indoor bike or treadmill, keep the resistance moderate but add a little speed

7/11 by Beyonce – If you’re running outdoors, find a slight incline to begin to climb at a nice steady beat.  Indoors, slowly increase resistance throughout the song.  For the first 2 minutes, add some incline or more resistance to the treadmill.

Wild by Bishop Briggs – If outside, keep the run on an incline and start to push yourself during the chorus.  See yourself “breaking away” from the pack and pushing your intensity during the chorus and then slowing it down to a recovery speed during the verse.  Same with indoor trainers – increase speed/resistance during chorus and recover during verse.

Raising Hell by Kesha – Recover on a flat road.  Option to increase intensity with some speed for the last 30 seconds of the song.

Bad Guy by The Interpreters – Keep it on the flat road and accelerate when the beat picks up, bring it down nice and easy when the beat slows.

I Don’t Care by Fall Out Boy – Make some accelerations up and over a hill during the chorus.  Keep the effort comfortable during the verse by slowing down and recovering. 

Infected by Bad Religion – Find that hill again for a relaxed, steady continuous climb for the next 4 minutes.  Indoor, slowly increase resistance.

Carry On by Kygo and Rita Ora – Let’s bring it home.  Check in on how you are feeling and get ready to run fast during the chorus (3 times).  Slow it down as needed during the verse but remember, this is your last burst, the cool down is coming!

Four Five Seconds by Rihanna – Cool down.  Start with a slow jog and finish with 1 to 2 minutes of walking 

Live you Life  by TI – continue walking and STRETCH!

Again, big thanks to Carly for putting the playlist and workout together. Carly is a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor. She excels at teaching spin and barre. To find Carly’s Amazon playlist, click here.


Carly joins TrainwithMarc as a personal trainer & group fitness coach
Carly joins TrainwithMarc as a personal trainer & group fitness coach

TrainwithMarc has a playlist ready for you! Your next interval workout will be kick-butt!

Did you find this article helpful? Let me know by leaving a comment below or join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

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Marc is a USATF Track and Field & Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT O2 certified running coach. I have more than 19 years of experience running and more than 10 years of experience coaching runners. Click for more information!

10 thoughts on “Interval Training Running Playlist

  1. I am a big fan of interval runs lately! They are a big help as I returned from my running injury. Good music always helps.thanks for joining our runners’ roundup linkup

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  2. Great idea to have a playlist structured for interval workouts! Looks like there are alot of great songs on here. It’s always good to get that extra boost to keep you going during a tough workout!
    Thanks for linking up!

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  3. Omg why don’t I even know any of these songs… #facepalm #imsoold

    I tend to listen to EDM while I’m running and working out so it works out for me!

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  4. Interval runs are my jam. This is a great playlist!

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  5. That’s so cool that Carly put a playlist together that was designed specifically for an interval workout. It reminds of the music in aerobics classes, where the instructor has choreographed the workout to the music!

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  6. Yes, exactly. Carly is a spin and barre instructor, so this is right up her alley.

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  7. Awesome! Yeah, I definitely dig intervals too. The playlist is designed to help boost your motivation.

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  8. Haha, spin music is a totally different genre (EDM) than radio music. Carly now “specializes” in creating cool playlists for her classes.

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  9. Exactly. Carly does this for spin class and knew it would be good for runners too.

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  10. Totally agree. I hope recovery continues to go well and thanks for commenting!

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