13 Tips for Running in the Rain

How to Dress for Wet Weather Runs

Rainy weather doesn't mean you have to take your runs inside. Most races are not cancelled because of rain. I always tell the runners that I coach that they should take advantage of opportunities to run in the rain.  Not only does running in the rain build mental toughness, but you'll feel more mentally prepared if it does rain on race day.

Try these tips to make sure you're prepared for running in the rain:

Wear a hat with a brim.

Man jogging in rain
Chase Jarvis/Digital Vision/Getty Images

A hat with a brim can be your best friend during a rainy run. It will keep the rain off your face, so you can see, even in a downpour.

Make sure you consider the temperature and other conditions when you choose your brimmed hat. If it's warm and rainy, wear a breathable hat with plenty of venting, so you don't overheat. If it's cold, rainy, and windy, choose a thicker hat and wear a fleece headband over it to protect your ears.

Dress in layers if it's cold.

If it's very cold and rainy, you may need to wear a couple of layers. The most important layer is the one closest to your body. Make sure it's a technical fabric such as polypropylene or CoolMax, which wick water and sweat away from your skin. Your outer layer should be a wind- and water-resistant jacket or vest. Don't wear a waterproof rain slicker because it will trap moisture and heat.

More: Tips for Racing in Cold Weather

Don't overdress.

Running in the rain
John Kelly

Overdressing is one the biggest mistakes runners make when heading out for a rainy run. Wearing more layers will not keep you dry. Unless you're running with an umbrella over your head, you will definitely get wet. If you have tons of layers on, you will just be wearing more wet, heavy clothes. Dress for the temperature, as if it were a dry day.

Be visible.

night running
Photo by Scott Markewitz

Select outer layers that are very bright or light-colored and have reflective strips, since running in the rain often means poor visibility.

More: Top Visibility Running Gear

Prevent chafing.

Courtesy of Amazon.com

Chafing can happen during any run, but it can be much worse if you're wet from the rain. If you're running long, spread Body Glide or Vaseline on parts of your body where you would normally chafe or get blisters - such as your feet, inner thighs, underarms, sports bra lines (women), and nipples (men).

More: How to Prevent Chafing

Wear old running shoes at the race start.

If you're running a race, keep your race shoes and socks in a plastic bag while waiting at the start. You can check your old shoes in your gear check bag, and put on your race shoes and socks right before you head to the starting line. If it has stopped raining by then, you'll be able to run the race in dry shoes and socks.

Protect your electronics from getting wet.

Store electronics, such as your cell phone and iPod, in a Ziplock bag or a waterproof carrier. Or just leave them at home.

More: How to Save a Wet Cell Phone

Use a garbage bag.

If you have to wait outside in the rain before the start of a race, a big trash bag with armholes and a neck hole cut out can help you stay dry. You can take it off and throw it to the side once you get moving.

Just run!

The hardest part of running in the rain is often just getting started. Once you begin running and warm up, you may find that you actually enjoy it! And it's good preparation in case you ever have to run a race in the rain.

Don't run during thunderstorms

While running in the rain is perfectly safe, keep your run indoors if there are thunderstorms in the area. Getting your run done is not worth the risk of getting struck by lightning.

See it as an opportunity to build your mental strength.

Running in the rain will make you feel like a badass. As you slosh through the puddles and the rain is hitting your face, you're building your mental toughness and realizing that you can handle any challenge that comes your way.

I love this quote from Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: "If you haven't been exercising, your body will undoubtedly protest this change in its comfortable downhill direction. You won't like it at first. You may even hate it. But be proactive. Do it anyway. Even if it's raining on the morning you're scheduled to jog, do it anyway. 'Oh good! It's raining! I get to develop my willpower as well as my body!"

Watch your step.

You should always be paying attention, but running the rain means you need to be extra careful since the road or path is slippery. The key is to take small steps and really pay attention to your footing, similar to how you would run on trails, knowing that there may be lots of roots, rocks, or branches you could trip over.

Try to avoid stepping in puddles as much as you can. Your running shoes and feet will get wet from the rain, but they'll get absolutely soaked if you step in a big old puddle. 

Dry out your shoes.

When you get back from a wet run, take off your running shoes and stuff them with crumpled balls of newspaper. This helps the shoes keep their shape, and the paper draws moisture away from the shoes. Don't put them in the dryer or in front of a heater - that can shrink them or warp their shape so they won't fit you properly.


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