Face it, you could use the motivation right about now.

By By Kara Cutruzzula
December 08, 2017
Photo: ZinaidaSopina/Shutterstock

Holiday music is relentlessly cheerful. (Unless you Google "folksy Christmas," in which case, grab some spiked eggnog and get ready for a good long cry.) When you're fighting the crowds for that last scented candle for Grandma, a twinkly Christmas track might be the last thing you wanna hear, but guess when you could use all irrepressible optimism and a loud-and-proud horn section? During a cold and dark run, of course. (Related: Secrets for Staying Toasty Warm During Your Winter Workouts)

We've curated the best holiday music to get you up and out during this season of 4:30 p.m. sunsets. Check out the full Spotify playlist below, and consider your spirts (and pace) lifted.

"Linus and Lucy," from A Charlie Brown Christmas / Vince Guaraldi Trio

Nothing's gonna get you in the holiday spirit faster than this iconic piano tune from one of the most beloved Christmas specials of all time. No lyrics make it the perfect warm-up song as you find your pace.

"Run Rudolph Run," by Chuck Berry

All right, you've found your pace. Now you know what to do: RUN. Channel your inner Rudolph and focus on speedy foot turnover with this super-quick classic. You'll be "whizzing like a shootin' star" in no time.

"December Love," by New Kids On the Block

NKOTB are back and want you to have the best-and sexiest-Christmas ever. If you're right-swiping with abandon and looking for love during the holidays, let Joey, Jordan, and the rest of the guys take your mind off the fact you won't be needing that plus-one to the holiday party this year.

"All I Want for Christmas Is You," by Mariah Carey

This is when you channel your inner diva and break out into song on your running path. When those bells and drums kick in, how could you not?

"Little Saint Nick," by the Beach Boys

Two minutes of groovy California dreamin' will have you jonesing for a West Coast Christmas. Even if you're running over a snow-packed trail, keep thinking "beach…beach…beach…"

"My Favorite Things," by Kelly Clarkson

"Long tights and gummies and new shoes and mittens…" You might be compelled to think of your own favorite running-related things as Ms. Clarkson does justice to this classic from The Sound of Music.

"A Great Big Sled," by the Killers

Few people pull off big anthemic numbers like Brandon Flowers. You're now a few miles into your run-find that next gear. Pretend a great big sled is pulling you if you must.

"You Make It Feel Like Christmas," by Gwen Stefani feat. Blake Shelton

This one's brought to you by a little country twang and inter-office romance. The beats are perfect for a brisk pace.

"Thank God It's Christmas," by Queen

"Oh my friends, it's been a long hard year…" Might be the understatement of, well, the year. Of course, Freddie Mercury's one of those who does big anthemic numbers better than Brandon, and this slow-building number might have you weeping by the end.

"Feliz Navidad," by Jose Feliciano

All right, pull yourself together. Someone wants to wish you a merry Christmas. The repetition makes it perfect for another repetitive activity…the one you're doing right now.

"Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me," by Elvis Presley

Now that you've got the master of the hip swivel in your ear, it's time to check on your own form. How's your core? Are your shoulders relaxed? Is your arm swing loose and controlled? Yes? Good. Carry on.

"What Christmas Means to Me," by Fantasia

She kills this one. Just sayin'.

"Jingle Bells," by Frank Sinatra

There's a reason cheering crowds ring cowbells at marathoners-they're loud as heck and get you to go faster. Now Frank's got a million bells jingling in your ears. You're over halfway there!

"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," by Miley Cyrus

Say what you want-Miley can sing. Don't let the mention of pumpkin pie let you stray off course. There's plenty of time for that…after your run.

"Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," by U2

Bono is here to remind you that you forgot to buy your plane ticket home and now your flight's $600. Oh. That's not what this song is about? Anyway.

"Santa Tell Me," by Ariana Grande

If you like your holidays with a side of romantic angst, Ariana is asking if her love interest is just a fling or if it's "true." Santa's a vault though. His lips are sealed.

"Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays," by Pentatonix

Another fast-moving jam by the most famous a cappella group in the world. Join in if you want. You're running too quick for bystanders to hear your hums.

"Ho Ho Ho," by Sia

"Ho ho ho/ Bring the bottle of rum/ Ho ho ho/ Bring the whiskey bourbon." Meet your holiday party anthem. Perfect for outrunning a hangover!

"You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," by the Nashville Cast / Connie Britton

Trending towards the cranky side? (Six a.m. wake-ups will do that to you.) Shake out your negative nellies with the world's most wonderful human, Connie Britton.

"Joy to the World," by Aretha Franklin

It's literally impossible to be in a bad mood when this one's on. Treat this like a tempo track and let the Queen of Soul's belting push you to new heights.

"Christmas in Harlem," by Kanye West

If you're an all-weather outdoor running fiend, you'll relate to his mention of 40-below windchill. Because that's what it always feels like during a winter run. No exaggeration.

"One More Sleep," by Leona Lewis

One more sleep…one more mile…

"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," by Bruce Springsteen

We're pulling out the big guns. When the Boss says you better watch out, you better not pout, you better listen.

"It's Christmas Time Again," by Backstreet Boys

Boy bands celebrate Christmas, too. And boy, are they cheery about it. This one's a delight.

"Let It Go," from the Frozen soundtrack

We're nearly at the end of our journey. The finish line's in sight. The cold never bothered you anyway. There's only one thing left to do. You've gotta…let it…GOOOO!

Main Title from Home Alone "Somewhere in My Memory"

Now that you've thoroughly emptied your tank, it's time for a chill cooldown with a little John Williams instrumental from your childhood. Flashback to Kevin McCallister outsmarting the bad guys as you make your way off the treadmill or to the end of your running path, and get yourself all the way back home. Until tomorrow's run, of course.

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