The Running Rain Man

March 8, 2012

You look outside and see the rain. No chance at going for a run today. Just imagining the drenched socks and rain-heavy shirt makes you cringe. Even the treadmill sounds like a poor option. Everyone needs a little extra motivation for those kinds of days. We all need something to kick us out the door and keep our spirits up as we push through a run. Music can often play that part. Some may have the gear to take music outside with them in inclement weather. Others will listen to their tunes on a treadmill staring at the downpour through a window. Either way, everyone needs an appropriate song selection.

Though I admittedly do not run with headphones, I am generally pretty music obsessed otherwise. For me it is enough to have music in my head as I run. But here are the songs I think most appropriate and fun for a soggy few miles. Of course, plenty of songs about rain are not entirely about rain per se, but suffice it to say they will do the trick. My tendencies are also toward rock, so there is a heavy influence of that here. Just be careful with your iPod in the rain.

Rain run playlist:

1) Rain Wizard (Black Stone Cherry) – The power intro can really get you moving with its growling clarion call of “here comes the rain.” It is a fun battle cry to help push through those rain pellets from an extremely talented rock outfit.

2) Riders on the Storm (The Doors) – With its own opening storm sequence, this classic can rev you up if you get into it with the Lizard King.

3) November Rain (Guns N’ Roses) – This is a rock anthem for very good reason. The whole song is fantastic and I strongly encourage listening to the whole thing. For the purposes of this playlist, however, skip ahead to the 6:45 mark and just let the final section take your pace to another level.

4) California Rain (Silvertide) – Here is a fun, catchy tune that will keep you moving through those misty middle miles.

5) Let It Rain (Eric Clapton) – Great song by one of the most talented musicians ever. This one couples sublime guitar with a chorus that can bounce through your head as your feet bound over the roads.

6) Rain, Rain, Beautiful Rain (Ladysmith Black Mambazo) – This is just a touching song from the inspirational South African choral group. It also helps to put rain in a more positive light, which is always helpful during a drenched run.

7) Set Fire to the Rain (Adele) – She won 6 Grammy awards in 2012 and this song is definitely not about the rain. The sheer power really has an element that could help any runner break through the wall.

8) Tired of the Rain (Black Stone Cherry) – With this song, BSC clearly earned their second spot on this list. In a very different style than their first song on the list, this is a more pointed stab with more poignant lyrics than the whimsical jam listed at the top.

9) Love, Reign O’er Me (The Who) – This song offers its own unique introduction with incredible power that carries through to the end. Listen to this song and imagine yourself finishing the run of your life, dropping to your knees and extending your arms up into the pouring rain. As you yell out to the sky asking if it has anymore to throw at you, the music hits its crescendo and you feel true victory.

10) I Can See Clearly Now (Johnny Nash) – Once “the rain is gone,” there is nothing like bouncing around for a few miles to a cheerful song such as this one. Timeless, and as lovely now as it was when it was released in 1972.

Honorable mention: Fire and Rain (James Taylor), No Rain (Blind Melon), Purple Rain (Prince), Black Rain (Ozzy Osbourne)

Please share any favorite songs that help you to overcome inclement weather!



  1. Some of my best running memories are of high school cross country practices and meets in the rain and cold. There’s nothing better than powering up a hill, getting mud everywhere (in your underwear?!), and still setting a PR. Now that I’m older, running in the rain seems like more of a nuisance than a pleasure, since I have to do my own laundry and clean my own floors at home, but I’ll never forget jumping face first into a huge mud puddle at our rainy 2001 regional meet — I promised my team I’d do it after the race if we qualified for state. The things you do as a captain…

    • Thanks Mike! I definitely know the feeling- both the rainy runs and the crazy things you do for your team. I once promised our cross country team if we won a certain meet I would do a victory cartwheel. Not as messy as a mud pit, but definitely not something I should have ever attempted. Suffice it to say that a ridiculous picture of me doing a very awkward cartwheel, in my racing uniform, ended up in the high school yearbook. All in good fun though, right??

  2. We haven’t run that much in the rain…..BUT the next time we are going to we’ll have to add at least one of these rain songs into the mix or maybe just listen to it before so we don’t mess up our phones =)

    • Be careful with those phones! Definitely can use the songs for pump-up purposes though for sure.

  3. Great Topic that will have us all thinking of tunes on our next moist sojourn, here’s more titles that span the years

    Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, Singing in the Rain…a classic, Rain by the Beatles and from Winnie the Pooh how about The Rain Rain Rain came Down Down Down, Rain King-Counting Crows, Early Morning Rain by Peter Paul and Mary. Last but not least, don’t forget Annie Lennox and Here comes the Rain Again

    • All excellent options! Quite a variety too, for the quirky, eclectic runner in all of us!

  4. No inclusion of the classic, “Singing in the Rain”?

    • Oversight on my part. Definitely should have made the honorable mention section for its classic appeal.

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