13 Tips for Running in the Rain

How to Dress for Wet Weather Runs and Races

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. Doing so builds mental toughness, and 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, whether it's for training or a race.

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 one 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.

Don't Overdress

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 clothing. Dress for the temperature, as if it were a dry day.

Be Visible

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

Prevent Chafing

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), to help prevent the 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.

Use a Garbage Bag for Races

Yes, that's right—you can make a dress out of a big trash bag by cutting armholes and a neck hole. You'll be amazed at how much a basic trash bag will keep you dry and protected from wind (which is often a concern during rainy weather).

Use it to stay dry and warm while you're waiting in the starting area. Once you get moving and start to warm up, it's easy to rip it off and and throw it to the side.

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.

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.

Change Out of Your Wet Clothes Immediately

You may feel warm when you first cross the finish line or finish your run, but make sure you change out of your wet clothes quickly. When you're wet, you're at an increased risk for hypothermia, a lowering of your body temperature.

If you're racing, bring an extra set of clothes to put in your checked bag (or in your car if it's easy to get to post-race) so you can change out of your wet race outfit into dry clothes soon after you cross the finish line.

Carry Extra Socks in Your Running Belt

If you have some room in your running belt or fanny pack, stash an extra pair of socks in a baggie. You'll lose a little time stopping to change them, but you'll feel a lot more comfortable, and hopefully prevent blisters, by having a dry pair of socks. This is especially helpful if it's raining when you start running, but then stops during your race or run (but your socks are still wet).

Dry Out Your Shoes

When you get back from a wet run or race, 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.

A Word From Verywell

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!

Running in the rain will make you feel like a hard-core 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!"

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