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Running in the Rain: Dos and Don'ts

Running in the Rain: Dos and Don'ts

Steps to take before, during, and after a rainy run to stay safe and have fun!

By Anastasia Brett 2024-06-17

Running is already a tough sport. Throw rain into the mix and the resulting wet clothes and soggy shoes are enough to dampen any runner’s spirit. While we’d all rather run on a sunny day, no one can control the weather. Here are a few key things to consider before, during, and after a rainy run to stay safe and maybe even have some fun! Blog Spacer.png Do: Prepare Yourself Mentally

If you’re heading out into the rain, accept that it may not be as enjoyable as running in sunny conditions. The hard truth about running in the rain is that you will get wet and it will probably be uncomfortable. It’s best to start your run with the expectation that you may not perform as well as usual and your pace will be slower with heavier rain. On a positive note, mental toughness is key to becoming a better runner, and the discomfort from running in soggy conditions helps build that toughness. Instead of beating yourself up if your splits seem slow, applaud yourself for braving the storm. Hopefully, you can find something along the way that makes it worth it, even if it’s the feeling of accomplishment when it's all over! Blog Spacer.png Don't: Overdress

Overdressing is one of the biggest mistakes runners make when picking an outfit for rainy conditions. Wearing more layers doesn’t mean you’ll stay dry - it just means you’ll end up wearing more wet clothes. While it seems odd, a classic apparel trick is to dress for the temperature and select the same layers you would wear if it were a dry day. This way, you’ll end up with an outfit that will keep you warm without trapping heat or weighing you down. Prioritize choosing lightweight fabrics alongside moisture-wicking socks and leave the heavy rain gear at home. While there are no running clothes that will keep you completely dry, you can make strong clothing choices to keep you more comfortable. After all, there is no such thing as bad weather - just bad gear. Blog Spacer.png Do: Re-Think Your Electronics

Digital gadgets are the best friend of many runners. If you like to have your phone with you while out running, make sure not to risk water exposure. Many running shorts and jackets have waterproof zipped pockets that can fit a phone and keep out water. If you’re in a pinch, placing your phone into a ziplock bag can do the trick. While less prone to water damage, consider checking the water resistance levels of your headphones to avoid accidentally ruining them. While most running watches are water resistant, double-check your watch's specs so you know how well it handles water exposure. If a watch is water resistant but not waterproof, consider leaving it at home on heavy rain days. Blog Spacer.png Don’t: Ignore the Forecast

Always double-check the weather forecast before heading out to avoid potentially dangerous conditions. While running in the rain alone is usually safe, you should never run outside if there are thunderstorms nearby. While “high risk, high reward” has a time and place, there’s no reward in the risk of getting struck by lightning. If at any point you hear thunder or spot lightning while running, head indoors or seek shelter as quickly as you can. If you see threatening storm clouds on the horizon, it’s best to opt for a run on the treadmill, an indoor cross-training session, or a rest day. Blog Spacer.png Do: Be Visible

Lightning isn’t the only thing you need to keep an eye out for when running in a storm. With poor visibility, drivers on the road aren’t able to see pedestrians clearly, making traffic a potential hazard for runners. To make yourself more visible to traffic, wear bright colors, choose clothes with reflective features, or clip lights to your shoes or belt. Additionally, reduced visibility isn’t just a traffic hazard as running in a downpour can cause tripping hazards if you’re stumbling around in the dark. Make sure you dodge potholes and avoid twisting an ankle by strapping on a headlamp or running on a well-lit pedestrian-friendly path. Be extra careful when crossing streets, stepping off curbs, or running near high-traffic areas. Blog Spacer.png Don't: Skip the Warm-Up

While a warm-up is a good idea before any run, rain makes it more of an essential as wet conditions are quick to zap body temperatures. Perform a few dynamic exercises, like lunges or leg swings, then start running at a relaxed pace for several minutes. This will warm up your muscles and reduce your chances of injury. Warming up before heading out also reduces the temptation to layer up on colder rainy days as it gives you a chance to get your heart rate up, making the choice to leave that extra jacket at home a little easier. Blog Spacer.png Do: Choose Your Route Carefully

Rainy days are not the time to try a new path you've never run on before. Instead, pick a route you're familiar with in case you have to turn back early due to dangerous conditions. Sidewalks and paths can get slick in the rain, especially when covered with leaves or debris. Be mindful of footing and terrain and avoid slippery areas such as uneven trails, dirt paths, and smooth asphalt roads. If you were planning to run on an outdoor track, you may need to reschedule; water often collects in track lanes and can make for poor traction. Planning ahead and picking a strong route can be the difference between a good run and a bad one. Blog Spacer.png Don’t: Risk Chafing

Chafing, the irritation of skin to the point of tenderness, is not exactly the post-run reward of your dreams. Although it can happen during any run, chafing is much more likely to occur if your clothes are wet from the rain as this increases the friction between your damp skin and the fabric. Keep the chafe at bay by applying petroleum jelly or an anti-chafing stick to areas where you normally chafe, such as your feet, inner thighs, underarms, and places where your shorts rub against your thighs. This layer of balm creates a barrier to protect your skin against rubbing and friction from clothing, reducing rashes and skin irritation. To further eliminate the number of places where the skin on your legs can rub, opt for a pair of running tights or compression shorts that have an underlay rather than wearing mesh or spandex shorts. Blog Spacer.png Do: Consider the Treadmill

While the “dreadmill” isn’t the most appealing option, it can be the best alternative to dangerous outdoor conditions. As an added perk, you won’t be weighed down by wet clothes or have to deal with running through puddles. If you have a speed session on the schedule, you’ll be more likely to hit your splits on a treadmill than on a rainy track and won't have to worry about slipping at a faster pace. Was today supposed to be a hill workout? Crank up the treadmill’s incline to work those quads and calves without the added impact of any downhills. While it may be more boring, treadmill runs let you achieve your mileage goals with sweat being the only threat to staying dry. Blog Spacer.png Don't: Stay In Wet Clothes

Regardless of whatever warm-up you may have done on the run, chances are you’ll be shivering within minutes after finishing a run if you’re standing around in wet clothes. Once your cooldown is over, change out of your running clothes immediately, take a warm shower if you can, and put on a fresh set of dry clothes to help your body stay warm and recover well. If you’re not heading straight home after your run, consider packing an extra set of clothes alongside a towel to dry off and wipe down your muddy legs. If you're out at a race, pack the clothes you plan to change into afterward in a waterproof bag to ensure you’re not left without dry clothes. Blog Spacer.png Do: Dry Your Shoes Post-Run

No one wants to be stuck with a pair of soggy shoes after splashing around outside. To ensure a speedy drying time, remove the sock liner from the shoes and stuff them with newspaper to absorb the water and help them hold their shape in the process. Loosening the laces and exposing the tongue of the shoe can boost drying times as more water can evaporate. Resist the urge to place your shoes in the dryer or by a heater; this can damage the shoes and warp their shape, leaving you with a pair of dry but ill-fitting shoes. Instead, set them in a warm, dry place that has good airflow. After a few hours, remove the newspaper and check that the inside of the shoes is dry before returning the liner. Blog Spacer.png Don’t: Run in Your Favorite Shoes

If you have more than one pair of running shoes, opt for running in an older pair rather than weathering your favorites. While water doesn't damage shoes, the wear and tear of drying cycles or washing mud off shoes can lower their lifespan. For rainy-day races, wear a pair of older shoes and socks for your warm-up and wait until it’s close to the start time before changing into your racing shoes. Getting stuck with a soaked pair of shoes before the gun goes off isn't the best way to guarantee a new personal best in your event. Blog Spacer.png The hardest part of running in the rain is usually getting out the door. Once you warm up and get acclimated to the wet conditions, you may even enjoy the change in weather. So lace up, and don't be afraid to get a little wet! Blog Spacer.png

Running in the Rain: Dos and Don'ts
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