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Running in the Rain: Tips for Runners

Updated on March 13, 2013
Running in the rain can be beautifully peaceful.
Running in the rain can be beautifully peaceful. | Source

Running in the rain can be a beautifully freeing experience. Letting the water wash over you as your feet pound the pavement can have a de-stressing effect that is wonderfully tranquil. It can also make you feel more connected to nature. For runners who hate working out indoors, learning to run in the rain helps to keep you training no matter the weather. Marathon runners sometimes have no choice but to face the elements on the day of the race, so practicing the habit is essential for preparation.

While running in the rain is invigorating, there are also some not-so-fun challenges runners must face in the rain. Chaffed heels, soggy feet and cold chills are a few reasons you may be tempted to hang up your shoes and stay home in wet weather. But a downpour doesn't have to keep you down. The tips and tricks below will give you the best possible rain running experience.

How to layer for different temperatures

If the outdoor temperature is 60 degrees Fahrenheit or above, the rain will feel heavenly. Cooling you off from heat and humidity, downpours are easy to enjoy at this temperature. Don't layer up or you will overheat.

In temperatures 50 degrees Fahrenheit and below, the rain will make you colder so you will need to dress accordingly. Layer up with a moisture wicking fabric closest to your body to stay as dry as possible. Choose a wind and water resistant jacket for your top layer. If needed, a thermal layer can be added in between for warmth.

Avoid waterproof rain slickers, even in cold weather as they will lock moisture in against your body.

Stay at the top of your game with this running gear:

Best gear for running in rain

Hats with brims are a favorite accessory of people who regularly run in the rain. The brim keeps water from pelting your eyes and makes it easier to see in a rainstorm. Avoid cotton hats, which become heavy when wet, and choose something made of a moisture wicking material.

Moisture wicking socks can also make running in the rain more comfortable. Double layered socks are recommended, but because your feet will invariably get wet, stay away from anything that will weigh you down.

Stick with your regular running shoes, but make sure that they have sufficient traction. To help your shoes dry faster after your run, put rolled up newspaper inside them to soak up the water and hold their shape.

Avoid thick sweatpants or oversized clothing which will become overly soggy and heavy. Running tights, lightweight shorts and form fitting shirts are best for wet weather running.

How to prevent chaffing

Running in the rain puts you at an increased risk for dreaded chaffing. Use a sport's lube to play it safe, even if running in dry weather does not cause you problems.

Experienced runners say that A+D diaper rash ointment is better than Vaseline for preventing chaffing of the feet. It is thicker and tends to last longer, but beware - it will leave your socks with unsightly stains. Rub a little ointment between your toes and anywhere else your feet rub against your shoes to help fight blisters.

For other areas prone to chaffing, go with Body Glide or Vaseline to keep your clothes from staining. Inner thighs, underarms, bra lines on women, and nipples on men are particularly troublesome for many people.

Safety tips for running in the rain

Rainy days are usually dark and cloudy, making it harder for passers-by to see you. Stay safe by wearing reflective strips and staying in well lit areas as often as possible.

Water can also cause things to become slick, so make smart choices and try to keep your feet on less slippery surfaces. The white lines painted on roads are more slippery than asphalt, and mud patches can be particularly dangerous.

Take corners slower than usual to give people time to see you, as well as to help your feet maintain their grip. Avoid puddles, which may hide potholes, and remain alert, keeping your eyes on the road.

Braving the rain is a worthwhile effort, but it is also important to learn when to stay indoors. If high winds, lightning, severe flooding or other extreme weather conditions are outside your door, don't put your safety at risk for the sake of a run. Listen to the weather experts if they recommend staying inside, and keep your rain running sessions to less hazardous downpours.


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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great hub, Faith. So insightful on how to have a safe run/walk in the rain. Voted up for useful!

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Nice, simple advice for running in the rain

      I have to admit that I would actually steer clear of a waterproof jacket unless you own an ultra breathable gore-tex fabric or similar as it will simply lead to the 'boil in the bag' effect. Lightweight windproof jackets with a dwr coating are often a better idea.

      For running tights I would recommend a pair of ronhill's dxv tracksters with a water repellent coating as they're able to hold out a modest amount of water.

      Socks wise- sealskins waterproof socks are great and much better than the wicking socks you descript that lose their properties when saturated with water. Otherwise goretex membrane running shoes are great!

    • Faith A Mullen profile image

      Faith A Mullen 5 years ago

      Thanks for the comment, Jacante!

    • Jacante profile image

      Jacante 5 years ago

      I love running on a rainy day, especially in the summer. Nice Hub!