14 Tips for running in the rain
Running in the rain can make you a stronger runner, both mentally and physically – as long as it’s done right.
Don’t let the rain ruin your workout – running in the rain sucks, we get that. However, preparing yourself to embrace the elements can make your run that little more bearable. To equip you to get out the door during the next downpour, we’ve created fourteen tips for running in the rain.
1. Accept that you’re going to get wet
When running in the rain, accepting that you’re going to get wet is the first thing you want to do. Embracing the conditions and getting both feet out of the door is all you need to get going.
While it’s tempting to wear a waterproof jacket (amongst other layers), we advise against this. Wearing extra layers will more than likely cause you to overheat. This is uncomfortable and may cause unnecessary hassle of carrying your jacket for the remaining five miles.
2. Dress for the weather
As previously touched upon, dressing for the weather while running in the rain is essential to your own comfort. Generally, a long-sleeved top and shorts will be fine (unless it’s very cold).
Choosing the right socks is just as important as not overdressing when running in the rain. We recommend not wearing cotton socks (this counts for tops too), cotton absorbs water – making for an all-round soaking experience.
3. Wear the right shoes
Before heading out the door, you may want to do a shoe check. Wearing running shoes with little grooves/grips while running in the rain will boost your risk of slipping or falling. This will also slow you down.
Investing in a pair of running shoes with deeper groves allows water to be channelled through them. This provides more grip when running.
4. Consider your route choice
When running in the rain, you may want to consider changing up your regular running routes. Avoid areas which are slippy, such as river crossings, mud, and any other uneasy terrain.
Whilst running on the treadmill is like staring at a blank wall, it will allow you to resume your session while keeping you dry.
Why not put on your favourite music or even watch an episode of your favourite show on Netflix at the same time?
5. Protect your electronics
To keep your phone/electronics safe whilst running, we recommend purchasing running gear that has sealable pockets.
Alternatively, you can place your phone in a sealable bag, holding this in your hand. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can create a makeshift poncho with a bin bag… believe us, it has been done before.
6. Wear a cap
Wearing a hat with a brim (such as a baseball cap) will keep the rain off your face, even in the toughest of elements. Wearing a cap can also be useful for running in the heat, keeping the sun out of your eyes and preventing a nasty sunburn.
If it’s cold and rainy, we suggest choosing a thicker hat to keep warm and keep the rain out. If you want to travel back to the 80s, choosing to wear a fleece headband over your cap will prevent it from blowing off.
7. Remain visible
When it’s raining, it often becomes much darker. This makes it more difficult for road users to see you. To remain visible, we suggest breaking out those neon running tights or opting for bright colours such as yellows, oranges, or pinks.
This will help keep you safe, a necessity when running in the rain. We don’t need any more hazards other than slipping.
Likewise, if running with a dog, we urge using a reflective dog jacket. This too, will increase visibility, keeping you and your four-legged friend safe.
8. Change your mindset
You’ve got to have bad days to have good days. Although running in the rain may suck, you have to understand that the conditions are tougher mentally and physically.
Accepting this and knowing that running in the rain will make you a stronger runner is an easy way to motivate yourself to get out the door. If struggling with motivation, we suggest checking out our 20 motivational running quotes post.
If that isn’t enough, just think… at least you won’t overheat as the rain will cool you down.
If one can stick to the training throughout the many long years, then will power is no longer a problem. It’s raining? That doesn’t matter. I am tired? That’s beside the point. It’s simply that I just have to. — Emil Zatopek
9. Sometimes you’ve just got to hit the treadmill
As much as you may not want to run on the treadmill, sometimes it’s the best option.
Whether going for a faster run or an easy 30-minutes, if the weather doesn’t agree, it is much safer running indoors. Programs such as Zwift Running can make treadmill running much more bearable. This is a virtual world in which you and others are running in.
10. Change out of your wet clothes immediately
To remain warm after finishing a run or race, you should immediately switch out of your wet running clothes, dry off and put on a fresh pair of clothes. Wearing wet clothes will decrease your body temperature, increasing your risk of hypothermia.
If running at a race/event, bringing a waterproof bag to keep your wet clothes in is always a good idea. Be sure to bring a spare pair of clothes and a nice warm jacket for when you’ve finished your run.
11. Bring an extra pair of socks
There’s nothing worse than running with wet socks and wet feet but if it’s raining there’s very little you can do about it.
However, if heading out for a long run or hike, consider bringing an extra pair. If it stops raining, you can change running socks, increasing comfort and making your run that little more tolerable.
12. Watch where you’re running!
Puddle dodging may just become a second sport during the winter. When running in the rain, it’s important to watch where you’re running.
Your regular running route may become slippy, with rocks, river crossings, and stairs becoming more hazardous. If needs be, we recommend adjusting your route – preferably somewhere with fewer puddles and other hazards.
13. Protect yourself from chafing
Chafing is painful and more common when running in the rain. To prevent chafing, apply Vaseline to your heels alongside a few plasters on particularly prone areas.
The same applies to running in the heat. Applying a product such as Vaseline before your run and taking the necessary steps will minimise if not prevent chafing altogether.
You’ll thank us later.
14. Make the most of running in the rain and have fun
Finally, make the most of running in the rain, or at least try your best to have fun. Splash in the puddles and run and jump, it’s not very often you have an excuse to act like a child.
To make things more fun, why not run with a friend, group, or listen to music? You could even listen to an audiobook to keep you entertained if you choose.
Running in the rain isn’t pleasant, it downright sucks. However, we can take action and make it a little more tolerable.
We suggest investing in proper running gear, including running shoes with good grips, altering your route depending on the weather and terrain, and if required, opting for the treadmill.
Finally, changing your mindset is possibly the most important takeaway. Motivating yourself to run in the rain while others won’t gives you a mental advantage and a massive sense of accomplishment. Be sure to reward yourself after a wet run with a hot cup of tea and a nice warm bath.
Matthew is an avid runner, freelance writer, Durham University graduate, and the founder of Running101.