A blog by runners. For runners.

Tips for running in the rain

running-in-the-rainWhen it’s raining any harder than a drizzle outside, that’s usually my cue to hit the treadmill. Still, if you run races, it’s a good idea to run in the rain from time to time. You never know what race day weather will bring, so it’s important to practice in every condition.

Running in a steady or hard rain usually isn’t fun. You may get soaked, cold, and deal with painful blisters or chafing if you don’t take proper precautions. These tips can help make running in the rain a more pleasant – and safer – experience:

  • Wear reflective material or dress in bright colors. When it rains, visibility is reduced, making it more difficult for cars to see you. Wearing reflective gear and bright colors can help make you more visible.
  • Wear a baseball cap. A wide-brimmed, baseball-style running cap will keep the water from running down your face and getting into your eyes, which will make it easier to see.
  • Wear a water- and wind-resistant jacket as your top layer. The jacket will help keep your top half warm and dry. If your coat has a hood, secure it over your cap to keep your head dry. If you don’t have a jacket, wearing a trash bag over your running clothes will do the trick.
  • Think carefully about layers. If you’re wearing a lot of heavy clothes, they’re just going to weigh you down once they get wet. Dress in lightweight apparel instead.
  • Lube up. Chafing happens more quickly in moist conditions. Apply Bodyglide, Aquaphor, or petroleum jelly wherever you think you could chafe. Think under your arms, along your sports bra line, on your inner thighs, and everywhere on your feet.
  • Protect your phone and other electronics. If you’re going to run with your phone or iPod, consider investing in a waterproof case. If you don’t have one, put your phone in a plastic bag and keep it in a zipped pocket of your jacket.
  • Carry a change of socks. Running in wet shoes and socks is a recipe for blisters. If you can stop somewhere dry halfway through your run, swap out your socks for a dry pair.
  • Use common sense. It’s important to be extra aware of your surroundings in bad weather. Watch your step and try to avoid stepping in puddles. Leave the headphones at home, obey the rules of traffic, and try to stick to the sidewalk, preferably in areas without a lot of traffic. In especially poor conditions — like fog, downpours, or thunderstorms — stay inside.
  • Get out of your wet clothes as soon as you get home. While you won’t catch a cold from being wet and cold – that’s just an old wives’ tale – you could come down with hypothermia because being wet lowers your body temperature. Change out of your wet clothes when you walk in the door, and get a warm shower as soon as possible.

If it’s raining hard the day of your big race, you’ll need to adjust your goals. You likely won’t PR, but racing in the rain will definitely be an experience you won’t forget. If you do enough races you’re bound to run some in bad weather – as well as some in ideal conditions.

Written by Jen Matz.