When it comes to running outdoor, rain can be one of the most challenging obstacles for all runners—even the most devoted among us.
But it’s not all doom and gloom.
Here’s the truth.
Taking the right measures can help you embrace the elements and make your training a little more bearable.
Would you like to learn how to run safely and comfortably in the rain?
Then you have come to the right place.
In this article, I’m going to share with you my best advice on how to prepare for rainy runs, from the gear you’ll need to how to prevent slipping on the wet concrete.
Don’t let the rain cause a slump in your running plan.
Let’s lace up and dig in.
Is it Safe To Run In The Rain?
First things first, is it actually safe to run when it’s raining, or are you actually putting yourself (or others) in danger?
As long as there are no thunderstorms or other extreme weather conditions, such as freezing temperatures or downpouring rain, running in the rain is relatively safe.
In fact, it’s a light rain without any thunder or strong wind.
Running under such conditions may feel therapeutic.
Will Running In The Rain Cause A Cold?
In contrast to popular belief, running in the rain by itself won’t make you sick.
The reason so many people get sick during the cold months is not because of the cold itself, but it’s due to spending more time indoors, which increases your risks of catching up with a virus.
However, keeping your body temperature low by running in the cold may make you more susceptible to catching up with a virus, therefore, getting sick.
HowThe Benefits of Running in The Rain
Running in the rain has a lot to offer.
In fact, you’re missing out on a lot of benefits if you only run in ideal conditions.
Here are a few:
Running in the rain hones your mental toughness like nothing else.
If you can overcome the challenge of pouring rain and slippery surfaces while sweating it on, you’ll be in a better place to thrive in the real, harsh world.
Burn More Calories
I’m not sure about how accurate this is, but some research reported that running in the rain actually burns more calories.
A study out of the International Journal of Sports Medicine reported that subjects who run in rainy conditions exerted more energy than when they rain in non-rainy conditions.
One reason for the extra calories might be the temperature.
When it’s raining, the temperature drops, forcing your body to get colder.
When this happens, your body has to use up more energy to get and stay warmed up.
If you have experienced the soothing relief of raindrops in the middle of a challenging run, then you how mood-uplifting and transformative running in the rain can be.
How to Run in The Rain
I hope you’re sold out on the benefits that running in the rain has to offer.
Now let’s look at how you can ensure a safe and pain-free running experience.
1. Know When To Quit
As I previously stated, running in the rain should pose no serious threat.
But if weather conditions take a turn to the worst, then caution is the way to go.
For starters, check the weather forecast before you venture out.
This helps you make there won’t be any lightning or thunder during your run.
If there are lighting or thunderstones in your area, run another day or hop on a treadmill.
Better be safe than sorry.
Strong wind is also something to pay attention to, especially if you’re planning to run under tree cover since branches are susceptible to snapping off in pesky winds.
2. Plan Your Routes
Another measure to help you stay safe in the rain is to run somewhere you’re familiar with.
As a rule, avoid running in:
- Muddy terrains
- River crossing
- Flooded roads
- Washed out trails
- Puddles—as they might be deeper than they seem to be.
- And other slippery surfaces.
Not sure about the surfaces?
Take some time to plan your route.
If your typical running surface takes through a lot of uneasy surfaces, run somewhere else.
Again, it’s better to safe and bored than something else.
In case all fails, move your session indoors.
This way, you can at least get your miles in a while, staying dry and safe.
3. Watch Your Step
To stay safe outdoor, pay attention to your footing, especially when it’s raining.
Slippery surfaces are the enemy so watch out for your step.
Rain makes everything slippery—from metal potholes covers, sidewalks to painted stripes and leaves on the ground.
The best way to stay safe on slippery surfaces, other than avoiding them altogether, is to take small steps and keep a keen eye on your footing as much as you’d when tackling technical trails.
4. Choose The Right Shoes
Before you brave the rain, make sure to check your shoes.
Extra traction typically means a shoe that has various points of contact with the ground.
Such shoes come with more grip instead of a flat, smooth surface.
I recommend waterproof trail shoes with a Gore-Tex lining upper fabric, which will help repel the water.
These work best when running in the rain.
But the shoe also has to be breathable—or else, your own sweat will cause wetness and chafing, leading to blisters and other nasty trouble.
5. Dress For The Rain
choose light and moisture-wicking layers to help you easily regulate your body temperature and stay comfortable.
Make sure your clothing is made of technical fabrics such as Coolmax or polypropylene, which repels sweat and water from your skin, keeping you relatively dry and comfortable.
These may include:
- A waterproof short, as well as compression shorts underneath to prevent chafing.
- A base layer, such as a long-sleeve shirt
- A waterproof outer layer, such as light wind- and water-resistant jacket or vest.
- Avoid waterproof jacket as it traps heat and moisture—a bad mix..Just keep in mind that running in the rain is like a trip to the water park. You’ll get wet, regardless of how hard you try not to.
6. Running Socks
Your sock choice is as important as choosing the right shoes and layers when running in the rain.
When you have the right pair, you help keep your feet comfortable as well as prevent blisters, which tend to be more common in wet conditions.
As a rule, when choosing running socks, look for:
- High-performance and moisture-repelling fabrics, which is key for preventing rubbing and blisters.
- Flat seams,
- Mesh ventilation under the arch
- A snug fit, so they don’t wrinkle inside of your running shoes
Again, whatever you do, avoid cotton socks—these do nothing but soak up moisture and set the stage for blisters—the ingredients of a miserable running experience.
7. Your Headgear
To keep the rain out of your eyes, wear a hat with a brim.
That’s why a basketball hat can be your best ally during a rainy run.
When choosing a brimmed hat, remember to consider the temperature and other conditions.
When it’s cold, add a light headband or beanie for extra warmth.
In freezing cold, consider using fleecy winter caps to protect your face and especially ears from the unforgiving cold.
8. Stay Visible
Heavy rain hinders visibility, so do what you have to do to stay seen by drivers and pedestrians.
This is especially the case when you’re running early in the morning or late in the evening when drivers have poor visibility and are less likely to expect anyone to be on the road.
To stay visible, I’d recommend using neon running clothing or choosing bright colors such as orange, yellow, or pink.
Dress to be seen.
Choose outer layers that are light-colored and bright or have reflective strips.
This helps you stay better visible to oncoming traffic.
Dress like a Christmas tree if you have to.
9. Avoid Chafing
Chafing can plague any runner anytime, but it’s much more common—and a lot worse—when running under the rain.
In fact, chafing is much worse when you’re wet from the rain.
To prevent chafing during rainy runs, apply lubricants, such as Vaseline or Body Glide, anywhere where’s there’s potential for chafing.
These include your underarms, the nipples, feet, inner thighs, and sports bra lines (women).
10. Protect Your Electronics
It’s not just your body that gets soaked from the rain—your phone and electronics are also in danger.
To keep them safe and functioning while running in the rain, use running gear that has sealable, water-resistant pockets.
You can also put your phone in a sealable bag, then holding it in your hand.
As long as it stops water from reaching your phone, you’re good to go.
I usually keep mine in a sealable bag I keep in my pocket.
It doesn’t have to be fancy.
But when it’s raining heavily, I’d recommend storing your devices in a Ziplock bag and then in a hydration pack or flip belt to keep it safe.
Or, to save all the hassle, leave your phone at home.
11. Change Out Immediately After A Run
The moment you finish your run and are back home, get out of your wet clothes and into dry ones immediately (of course, shower first).
Sure, you might feel warm after a run, but when you stay wet for a long time, you may increase your risk of catching a cold, or God forbid hypothermia, cold-related illness.
This also helps your clothing stay smelling fresh and get the stink out.
12. Dry Out Your Shoes
The same thing goes for your footwear following a run.
Few things are worse than having to deal with putting a pair of wet shoes on the next day.
That’s another reason why you need more than one pair of running shoes.
Here’s how to rotate running shoes properly.
To speed up the drying process, remove the insoles, and stuff your shoes with paper towels or newspaper to help absorb the moisture.
This not only helps draw the moisture of the fabric but also keep their shape intact.
Feel free to use toilet tissues if you don’t have any newspaper lying around—I won’t blame you!
Change out the stuffing after a few hours, especially if your shoes were completely soaked.
Whatever you do, do not put your running shoes in front of a heater or in a dryer as this can damage the fabric and compromise their shape, so they won’t fit you properly.
This can damage the materials that make up the shoes, especially the midsole, reducing its cushion properties.
The most challenging part of running in the rain is the first step.
Once you get started and are out there, you may actually start to enjoy it.
The rest is just details, as the saying goes.