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Examples:

  • "Stronger" (Kelly Clarkson) matches my steps at a running speed of 8km/h
  • "Traveling Light" (Joel Hanson) matches my steps at a running speed of 6km/h
  • "Five Hundred Miles" (Justin Timberlake) matches my steps when slowly walking

What's a good way to find music to match your steps?

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The classical tempo marking Andante literally means "walking speed" (73–77 BPM). There's no similar translation of "running" or "jogging" speed, but Allegretto (98-109 BPM) and Allegro (109-132 BPM) are arguably in that ballpark.

As this book details, running involves longer strides just as much as it does faster strides, so moving twice as fast doesn't actually mean that your feet are hitting the ground at twice the pace. In fact (at least according to this same resource) the pace of your feet hitting the ground is about the same in a brisk walk and a stable run, somewhere between 90 and 100 BPM (Moderato). Musically speaking the sense of pace comes from how much each beat is sub-divided, rather than the strict BPM.

This site actually identifies songs by BPM specifically for running or working out. According to it, the Kelly Clarkson song "Stronger" (not "Stranger") is 116 BPM. This BPM search engine clocks "Traveling Light" just barely slower at 115 BPM. Assuming the Timberlake version of "500 Miles" is about the same pace as the Peter Paul & Mary version, it clocks in considerably slower at 94 BPM (although to my ear, his version is a tiny bit faster).

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The answers you've already received answer your question well, but I have an app recommendation that might help get you running sooner.

If you have an iPhone, I found the Spring app very helpful for this purpose. It's not free (well, the app is free but requires a subscription) but for me, it's well worth the fee because it saves me having to research and plan and organize music and instead just lets me get going.

It has two main modes: one where you pick the BPM you want, and the other where it matches the BPM to your pace (clever use of mobile tech!). In both cases, you can pick genres and if you come across a song you don't like, you can vote it down to exclude it in the future. It's not as robust as, say, Spotify, but when I need music that entices me to a specific pace, nothing beats it.

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Get a stopwatch [or use your phone]
Count how many steps you take in one minute.

That's the BPM [beats per minute] you need to look for. Many music search engines can use a BPM search. A BPM of half or double your step count would also work.

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