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Why Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Free Bird’ Is a Great Running Song

I’ve been a runner most of my life and like most people, I like to listen to music when I run. While I’ve updated and altered my running playlists over the years, one song I find particularly motivating is “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. 

Now, I’m not saying Free Bird is the best song. I only find the lyrics sort of compelling — the song is about a guy who leaves his girlfriend so he can be “free as a bird.” What I am saying is there are things about it that I find motivating. In particular, the 9-minute, 8-second song aligns almost perfectly with my mile pace. 

The first few minutes are slow and sort of melancholy but at 4 minutes and 57 seconds, the guitar solo starts and gets faster and faster. Then at 6 minutes and 58 seconds, they melt your membranes when they renew the tempo. Next, at 7 minutes and 27 seconds, comes the drum solo. And finally, at 8 minutes and 15 seconds, the music is full-on self-indulgent.

Experts say with the right playlist, you’ll workout harder and faster. In a case study, Dr. Coastas Karageoghis wrote that “music reduces perceived exertion at low-to-moderate exercise intensities and, if well selected, enhances affect (sic) at all intensities.”

What’s your favorite running song? Tell us in the comments below. 

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