12 Tips for Running in the Rain

running in the rain

Flickr photo by antony_mayfield

After a wonderfully sunny October in Vancouver, the rainy season has finally arrived! For the next several months, I’ll be doing a lot of running in the rain. Here are some of the tips I’ve learned to help me make the most of it.

Tips for Running in the Rain

  1. First and foremost, accept the fact that you are going to get wet. Even so-called waterproof fabrics have a limit, and they often aren’t too breathable, leading to overheating and excess perspiration, which will condense on the inside. This defeats the purpose of wearing waterproof clothes in the first place.
  2. Dress in layers of lightweight moisture wicking (not cotton!) fabrics. But be sure to dress for the temperature, and not the weather. Over-dressing because of rain, will just lead you to perspire more, again defeating the goal.
    If it is windy, consider a windproof shell as your outer layer. If you get too hot, the sweat will condense on the indie of your shell. This defeats the purpose of wearing waterproof clothing to begin with.
  3. If possible, do your warm-up routine inside. Getting your body warmed up inside before heading ourselves a dual purpose: Your body will be warm when you eventual step outside and you can literally hit the road running when you get outside, avoiding and second thoughts you may have had about getting out the door.
  4. Wear a running hat or visor to keep the rain out of your face and help block the wind. This is especially critical if you wear eyeglasses. Gloves are usually a good idea, even if it you will be wearing a t-shirt.
  5. Be sure to wear technical, moisture wicking socks. It is pretty much inevitable that you will end up stepping in a puddle during your run, and cotton socks will get soggy, squishy, and stretched, leading to blisters. Some people wear plastic bags over their socks, but I think that this leads to a similar effect of wearing waterproof shells – your feet will perspire more, defeating the purpose.If you have cold feet, find some merino wool socks. They will keep your feet warm, even when wet. If you have extra cash to burn, I hear some people swear by Gore-tex socks.
  6. Keep your phone/mp3 player dry by storing it in a light-weight zip-lock bag, or wrapping it in plastic (i.e. Saran) wrap. You will still be able to use the touch screen through the plastic. This is also good advice when running in hot weather when you are perspiring a lot.
    weirdos running in the rain
  7. Be seenWearing reflective material or a lighter-colored shirt will increase your visibility. Supplement your clothing with LED lights. You can find affordable lights at your local running or cycling store, as well as outfitters like MEC in Canada or REI in the U.S.
  8. Bodyglide isn’t just for perspiration. Many of us pack away the lube once cooler temperatures hit, but chaffing occurs whether its it caused by perspiration or rain water.
  9. On race day, bring a plastic garbage—or better yet, dry-cleaning– bag to wear over your running gear while you are waiting in the corral. This will help keep you dry—and warm. In fact, I recommend wearing a bag on cold days even when it isn’t raining; it is an economical way to keep warm. Don’t worry, there will be others out there with you in a plastic bag.
  10. When you get back from your run, take out the insoles from your shoes and loosely stuff them with newspaper. This will help your shoe keep their shape and draw out moisture. Depending on how wet the shoes are, you may need to replace the paper after a few hours.
    Whatever you do, DO NOT place your shoes directly on a heater, or in a clothes dryer; this breaks down the rubber and glue hold the show together. If you must use a heat source, use a hair dryer on low heat setting. It is also a good idea to have 2 or 3 pairs of shoes to rotate through during the wet season, particularly if you are running 4 or 5 days a week.
  11. While running be extra careful and watch your footing. Puddles and leaves may hide a pothole or curb, and roads can get slippery. Be sure to moderate your pace for the conditions and stay relaxed.
    You may also need to shorten your stride. Be sure to pay attention around cars and bikes. Drivers and cyclists have  lower visibility and less control in wet weather.
  12. Don’t forget to hydrate. Running in the wet or cold can reduce your thirst, and wearing several layers of clothing can increase your perspiration. So even if you don’t feel sweaty or thirsty, dehydration is still a risk.

Follow these tips and you will not only survive running in the rain, you may actually grow to enjoy it!

About Yuri

I'm Yuri and I'm in a hurry to lose weight, get fit, and have fun doing it! This blog is a chronicle of a once fat guy's journey to fitness while training for a marathon—and beyond. You'll also find running-related gear review, links and inspiration.
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33 Comments

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  2. Hailey @ Striding Strong

    It rained during my whole run this morning, which is pretty rare for Arizona! All my warm weather clothes aren’t that bright though, so thanks for the reminder! I like to run in arm warmers because they are small enough that I can tuck them away if I start to get too warm. Great tips!

    • Thanks Hailey! I used to live in Phoenix so I know how rare rain can be there—way to run through it! Arm warmers are a great tip as well, they are my favourite winter running gear.

    • Thanks Hailey! I used to live in Phoenix so I know how rare rain can be there—way to run through it! Arm warmers are a great tip as well, they are my favourite winter running gear.

  3. Stephanie @ Cat Lady Runs

    There are some great tips here – I usually put my iphone is a SpiBelt and wear that if it looks rainy because that is pretty good protection from moisture. Running in Florida tends to be hot, and monsoony not cold but still I never thought about BodyGlide and its easy to forget to hydrate when you feel drenched. Loving your blog!

  4. Experiencing a recent “cold front” here in central texas with some rain and sleet. And I may possibly be dealing with some snow when I go back home for the holidays this week. If it is raining AND cold/windy, I enjoy wearing an ear warmer headband under my cap. It’s small enough to tuck in my belt if it gets too warm. Thanks for the list! I will definitely keep these tips in mind when I’m tempted to skip out on my runs.

    • Ear warmers are a good idea. I can usually run with a light weight beanie/toque here in Vancouver, but in colder climates your ear can get really cold if they aren’t properly protected!

    • Ear warmers are a good idea. I can usually run with a light weight beanie/toque here in Vancouver, but in colder climates your ear can get really cold if they aren’t properly protected!

  5. Being someone that hasn’t really needed body glide – knock on wood – I wish I would have known/thought of the potential hazards of damp clothing before. I participated in a three day charity walk, the first day of which ended up being over 25 miles in monsoon conditions…ouchie!! I keep a mini body glide in my gear bag at all times…just to be safe.

    • It is always wide to keep Bodyglide on hand////you never know when it will come in handy! Another use I recently learned is to apply a light layer on your you cheeks and nose to protect them on colder or windy days.

    • It is always wise to keep Bodyglide on hand… you never know when it will come in handy! Another use I recently learned is to apply a light layer on your you cheeks and nose to protect them on colder or windy days.

  6. I just recently ran a race and it started pouring about 3 miles in and didn’t let up for 2 miles. I did manage to take some of the precautions you mentioned but I wish I was better prepared.

  7. I am a big fan of ziplock baggies for tech while I’m running. They really do work! I will wear thinner socks when its raining and some type of windbreaker. Nothing I own is waterproof, but having the windbreaker type fabric does help deflect a bit.

    Most of all, I’ve learned to embrace running in the rain 🙂 I tend to run faster, too!

  8. I avoid running in the rain unless I absolutely HAVE to (race day) otherwise you will find me on the treadmill. If I had to choose between running in the rain and not running at all I would go with the latter so treadmill it is! 🙂 I use baggies for my phone when running all the time, mainly because I’m such a sweaty runner.

    • Anita, in Vancouver, if we avoided running in the rain, I could only run outside two months a year! 😉 I also train on the treadmill, but usually only for runs up to 5K and for specific workouts such as speed or hill intervals.

  9. Love this especially the photo because I love running in the rain and snow and people always give me the weird look that says… well, weirdo! lol

    Maria
    http://asphaltandtrails.blogspot.com/

    • I’ve definitely received the ‘weirdo’ look before, although most times I’m running in the rain, the only other people out are other runners and the occasional dog walker.

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  13. Just ran in the rain for the first time. It was AWESOME… Wonderful simple tips here! I didn’t wear any cotton and all moisture wicking shorts and shirt. No socks, ran in a pair of minimalist type shoes without socks (Brooks pure drift)… Next time, I’ll go out on purpose in the rain!

  14. Great tips, just what I needed today. I was on the edge of skipping today’s run, but now I know how to make it work. Thank you 🙂

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  21. Thanks for this! I’m in Texas and it’s pouring here today, but I defintely wanna get out with these tips

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