14 Tips for running in the rain

Running in the rain sucks – here’s 14 tips to make it that little bit better.

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Very few runners enjoy running in the rain. But it’s a somewhat passage – those who train no matter the weather are celebrated. They are the heroes of the sport.

So, don’t let the rain ruin your workout. While running in the rain may suck, it doesn’t have to send you indoors – there’s many things you can do to make it less sucky-y (that’s a word, I promise).

Embracing the elements, lacing up your shoes, and facing the downpour head-on is a sure-fire way to become a local hero.

Or, at the very least, a quick way to turn into a sponge.

So, to help you 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

Woman running in the rain

When running in the rain, accept that you’re going to get wet.

Embrace the conditions and get both feet out of the door – it’s all you need to get going. As silly as it may sound.

Wishing for the rain to stop and moping around will only make things worse. It had to be said.

While it’s tempting to wear multiple layers, we’d avoid this if possible.

Aside from a waterproof running jacket, dress for the weather as you would usually.

Otherwise, you run the risk of overheating.

Besides, you don’t want to be stripping off layers mid-run… that’s uncomfortable and not a good look.

2. Dress for the wet weather

As mentioned already, it’s important to dress for the weather when running in the rain.

You don’t need to suit up in a full waterproof suit.

Typically, a long-sleeved top and a pair of running shorts or tights is plenty (unless it’s very cold).

And don’t forget that lightweight waterproof jacket!

Also, your choice of running socks is just as important. If possible, avoid cotton socks and other cotton gear as this absorbs water.

Instead, opt for a pair of merino wool socks, if possible.

3. Wear the right shoes when running in the rain

waterproof trail running shoes

Before heading out the door, you may want to do a Crepcheck.

In other words: consider your choice of footwear.

Wearing running shoes with little to no grips and grooves will reduce traction and increase your risk of slipping. It will also slow you down.

Instead, we’d recommend a pair of trail or waterproof running shoes with deeper grooves. These allow water to be channelled through them, providing you with more grip.

While these aren’t necessary, they’ll certainly help.

4. Consider your route choice

When running in the rain, you may want to change up your running route.

Avoid areas that are slippy such as river crossings, mud, bridge crossings, and other uneasy terrain.

Also, if you were planning a fast workout or set of intervals, then we’d recommend opting for the treadmill.

While it may be a little more boring, you can focus on your splits without the risk of falling.

You’ll also stay dry, which is another plus.

5. Protect your electronics from the rain

person running with a running armband

Keep your phone and electronics safe while running in the rain – otherwise you’ll regret it.

There’s plenty of waterproof running gear out there with zipped pockets that should do the trick.

And if you don’t want to spend any money, you can wrap your phone in a zipped bag. Sure, it’s makeshift, but it gets the job done!

6. Wear a cap or hat

Wearing a hat with a brim (such as a baseball cap) will keep the rain off your face.

This is also a useful trick when running in the heat – keeping the sun out of your eyes and preventing a nasty sunburn.

We’ve all been there.

If it’s cold and rainy, we suggest choosing a beanie or merino hat to keep the heat in and the rain out.

7. Remain visible

Group of runners wearing head torches

When the rain begins to pour, it often becomes much darker.

This makes it more difficult for road users to see you.

So, to remain visible, we recommend breaking out those neon running tights, perhaps choosing bright colours such as yellows, oranges, and pinks.

The more visible you are, the better.

This will help keep you safe, a necessity when and in winter and in poor weather conditions.

Related: Running in the wind: 10 tips to make it easier.

Likewise, if you’re running with a dog, we suggest using a reflective dog jacket. This 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. Right?

Although running in the rain may suck, understand that the conditions are tougher (mentally and physically).

Accepting this and knowing that it will make you a stronger runner is an easy way to motivate yourself to get out the door.

If you’re struggling with motivation, we suggest checking out our 40 motivational running quotes.

And 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

Woman running on a treadmill

As much as you may not want to run on the treadmill, sometimes it’s the best option.

Whether a tempo run or an easy 30-minutes, if the weather doesn’t agree, it’s much safer going indoors.

Popular apps such as Zwift Running can make treadmill running much more bearable. Zwift is a virtual app and world where you can run with others without the distractions of outside.

10. Change out of your wet clothes immediately

It’s no good to finish your run and hang around in your wet running gear.

Change out of your running clothes immediately, have a shower, and put some warmer clothes on.

Not changing out of your wet running clothes will only make you colder. You also run the risk of hypothermia, depending on just how cold it is.

If running at a race/event, bring a waterproof bag to store your wet running clothes. 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 when running in the rain

There’s nothing worse than running with wet socks – they feel squishy, your feet are cold, and there’s very little you can do about it.

But if you’re heading out on a longer run or hike, you should bring a second pair.

If it stops raining, you can change your socks – things just got a whole load more comfortable.

12. Watch where you’re running!

Puddle dodging may just become a second sport during the winter.

When it’s raining, it’s even more 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, as previously stated.

13. Protect yourself from chafing

Chafing is painful and more common when running in the rain.

To prevent chafing, apply Vaseline to your heels and plasters on particularly prone areas.

The same applies to running in the heat.

Apply Vaseline before your run or even use a proper anti-chafing cream to minimise chafing.

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, reap the rewards and get stuck into your workout.

To make things more fun, why not run with a friend, group, or listen to your favourite music?

You could even listen to an audiobook to keep you entertained.

The final downpour

Running in the rain isn’t pleasant, it downright sucks. But, you 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.

Frequently asked questions

We’ve gathered together various frequently asked questions about running in the rain, including what to wear and if it’ll make you sick.

What to wear when running in the rain?

Don't overdress when the rain starts to pour. Your regular running gear should do - but you may want to add a waterproof jacket.

Will running in the rain make you sick?

Actually running in the rain will not make you sick. But the lower temperatures may increase your risk of picking up a virus, weakening your immune system.

What are the benefits of running in the rain?

There are many benefits, including stress relief, building the all-important mental toughness, and looking like an absolute HERO.

What should you do after running in the rain?

Change out of your wet clothes, have a shower, and put on some warmer gear. Staying in your wet clothes will only make you colder and less comfortable.

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