I find it most helpful to choose songs that have a BPM that matches my SPM. Translated, the beats of the song (beats per minute) line up with the speed of my stride (strides per minute). When they don’t, I end up running at a tempo that is neither cardiovascularly optimal or safe for my joints.
My optimal SPM is about 80, so if I pick songs around an 80 or 160 BPM, that works great!

There are some good free tools out there for analyzing the BPM of your mp3s on your computer. And itunes will make “smart” playlists based on a song’s BPM.

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