I actually started reading about this subject a while back (maybe 7-8 years ago...when I got my certification to teach aerobics and kick-boxing and then realized I didn't have the time to teach, go to grad school for business, plan a wedding, all while working in NYC and traveling....).
However, I decided to re-look at the subject since it did interest me and I am pretty damn awesome at developing mixes for running, spin bike, and parties, sleep (yes I have a chill mix).
One piece of information was a study from selfgrowth.com, who has studied the biomechanics and bioacoustics of the human footfall at the Medical & Sports Music Insititute of America. This is a good read, and I found it fairly consistent with other articles.
Here is a quick look from the article of what the bpm should be for running...
Level 5 - Very Active - 150 steps per min = 6.0mph (10-11 min mile)
Level 6 - Exceptionally Active - 160 spm = 6.7 mph (9 min mile)
Level 7 - Athlete - 170 spm = 7.5 mph (8 min mile)
Level 8 - Athlete 180 spm = 8.8 mph (7 min mile)
Level 9 - Athlete - 190 spm = 10-12 mph (5-6 min mile)
However, they point out a couple caveats to this. First, someone who is somewhat athletic and runs a 8-9 min mile runs at maybe 160spm. Now a more elite runner can run a faster pace at the same spm. The other condition is heart rate which is a factor.
Another good article is "Put Music Together for Aerobics Exercise" on Livestrong.com which basically states something similar - runners should develop mixes ranging from 150-190 bpm. You can actually measure your own if you thave the time. Just count your steps in a minute, I would say do it once, do another set, and repeat. Do it on a treadmill so you can do it at your desired min/mile.
I downloaded a free trial of Tangerine, it hooks up to your iTunes and basically analyzes your library!! So I decided to see if I like it and I wanted to see if in fact my running mixes are up to par! - So I did and well, not up to par...I have to work a little more and play with that to get hopefully get some rates of my favorite mixes. In the meantime, I wanted to post a few mixes
and if this is well-received by my ahem...probably 3 readers I will promise to post a few mixes per month at the end of my blog. I am using Playlist.com which has some of my songs, I had to make a few adjustments on my actual iTunes mixes since I don't know how to get the url for my songs.
The first I am posting is my Long Run 1
My second long run mix - I have to say, I needed to substitute some songs because I couldn't find them on www.playlist.com. But my substitutions actually worked out pretty well. I would say this is a grungey punky mix if I had to type it into a category.
The third one is a random hap-hazard mix that I still can't figure out, but it works well if you have to go to the gym or suffer through an hour and half or so on a spinning bike or eliptical. It has some up and downs. My music taste is all over in this mix.