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Meet your new music-loving running buddy

runningspotifyEvery runner has a unique routine—the right shoes, the right mantra, and a route it took months to perfect. Then there’s the final (and totally clutch) ingredient: a kick-ass, personalized playlist.

Spotify Running, the newest free feature on the music service’s iPhone app, is betting it can help step-up your playlist game, selecting songs that fit your exact pace. Just pick a general musical genre, start moving, and the app detects your tempo—churning out a curated playlist that jives with your steps per minute. When you’re jogging, the music is upbeat, but with a slower backbeat. When you’re sprinting, it speeds way, way up. In other words, it’s a tool that can help pull much more out of you and your sneakers.

I tested the “upbeat run” channel (there’s also orchestra, EDM, hip hop, and pop, to name a few, as well as so-called “running originals,” created just for Spotify). It took a little time for the app to register my pace, but once it did, it totally tracked how quickly I was running and chose songs accordingly. Every time my pace changed, the app let me know, which is super helpful when you’re running intervals (and a little reminiscent of how the Nike Plus app lets you know your mileage and pace).

But it was kind of annoying when I was just out for a casual jog and slowed down naturally on a big hill. (Gee, thanks for reminding me with emo selections, Spotify.)

That, however, is a small complaint in the face of pretty awesome features, like being able to manually alter your footsteps per minute and skip songs if you’re just not feeling something.

But the best part? Discovering great endorphin-enhancing songs you never knew existed. It’s like having a personal DJ whose sole purpose is making sure you never slip into a running funk. Pretty groovy. —Brittany Burke

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