How to Dress for Running in the Rain

8 Crucial Running Gear Items for Rainy Runs

Boston Marathon runners in the rain
Darren McCollester / Getty

Most runners don't love running in the rain, but there are times when you have no choice but to run in rainy conditions. Whether you're logging a long training run when it's drizzling or running a race in a downpour, here are some gear and other items that will come in handy.

1. Anti-Chafing Lubricant

Chafing is a huge concern during a rainy run because moisture can often cause an area to get chafed.

Use an anti-chafing lubricant such as BodyGlide or petroleum jelly on your feet to help prevent blisters and on any other body parts that are prone to chafing (arms, nipples, legs, sports bra lines).

2. Hat or Visor

A hat or visor is one of the most important rainy run items you'll need because it'll keep the rain out of your eyes and allow you to see. If the temperature is below 50, you may want to add a headband to keep your ears warm.  In warmer conditions, visors are best because they won't trap the heat on your head.

3. Glasses

If it's raining really hard, wearing lightly-tinted or clear glasses can help protect your eyes and make it easier to see. Use an anti-fog lens cleaner to prevent your lenses from fogging up.

4. Jacket

A lightweight, waterproof shell jacket can be beneficial if it's very cold and rainy (or snowing!) But don't wear a waterproof jacket if it's warmer and raining, since a waterproof jacket doesn't breathe well and will make you hot and sweaty.

For warmer runs in the rain, wear a lightweight,  rain-resistant running jacket or vest. And be careful not to overdress -- if it's really warm, you won't even need a jacket. Wearing extra clothing won't keep you dry -- you'll just be wearing more wet, heavy layers.

5. Garbage Bag

You can make a shirt 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). If you're running a race in the rain, 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. Just keep in mind that some bigger races, such as the New York City Marathon, only allow clear plastic garbage bags, so check the prohibited items list on the race website to be sure.

6. Lightweight, Technical Fabric Clothing

Wearing clothing that's made from technical fabric is key -- it will dry a lot faster than cotton clothes, so you'll reduce your risk of getting blisters or chafing.  Tighter shirts and bottoms, such as spandex shorts, are less likely to cause chafing. Choose darker colored clothes for rainy runs, as white or light-colored shirt, shorts, and pants are often see-through when they get wet.

7. Wicking Socks

Wet feet are more likely to develop blisters, but wearing a pair of non-cotton running socks can help wick away the moisture to keep your feet drier.

8. Reflective Gear

Select outer layers that are very bright and have reflective strips, since running in the rain often means poor visibility. You can also add some reflective gear, such as wristbands, for increased visibility.

When you finish your run, get out of your wet clothes and take a warm shower, or at least change into dry clothes as soon as possible. Staying wet after a run in cold conditions can increase your risk of hypothermia.  Don't put your running shoes in the dryer or near a heat source to dry them out, since doing so may cause them to shrink. Instead, remove the insoles and stuff the shoes with newspaper.

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