michael j. harr, mba
tips for running in the rain
when you run in the rain, you're going to get soaked - know it, own it, love it

safety

Never run with lightning in the area. This should go without saying, but you should never run in the presence of lightning; wait for storms to pass or take your run indoors to the dreadmill.

Wear high visibility colors and materials. Rain diminishes visibility for drivers. To combat this, always wear high visibility colors and materials. Specifically, you should wear very bright colors and reflective gear - especially during heavy downpours.

Avoid injury. Whether you're on pavement or not, injury risk is increased when it rains because surfaces are slick. Take care to avoid injury with rain-smart routes, proper shoes, judicious foot strikes, and shorter strides.

Don't overdress. There is a tendency to overdress when running in the rain. Wear what you'd normally wear based on temperature. Also, rain jackets are nice during cold rains, but are generally unnecessary in warmer temps.

preparing for the rain

Band-aids and/or lube. Chafing is real, and it's painful. Be sure to wear band-aids or use lube for your common chafing areas that may include your inner thighs, nipples, and/or underarms.

Wicking fabrics. This is a MUST. Running in cotton in the rain is a recipe for serious chafing and utter discomfort with fabric sticking to your body like glue. Wear lightweight wicking fabrics that handle moisture much better than cotton. And, when it turns cold, don't forget Mother Nature's original wicking fabric - wool. I wear wool socks when the temps drop and while running in the snow.

Rain jacket or garbage bags. A rain jacket isn't needed when it's hot. That said, when you're running in a cold rain, it helps to have a waterproof layer on top. You can use a lightweight rain jacket or garbage bags in a pinch.

Hat. Rain beating against your eyeballs makes for a miserable run. Wear a hat with a long enough bill to keep the rain out of your eyes. Keeping clear vision is key to a safe run in the rain - particularly when you come up to potholes or technical terrain on trails.

Contacts, not glasses. Speaking of vision, you'll be far better off with contacts instead of glasses. Glasses will gather rain droplets and fog when running in the rain. Contacts eliminate these problems.

Waterproof phone/case/pouch. If you're going to have a phone with you, be sure it's waterproof by design or have a protective case or pouch to keep it dry. Many a phone had reached its demise in the rain.

In your running bag - nutrition, hydration, dry towel, change of clothes and shoes. Remembering nutrition and hydration is easy, but you'll thank yourself for bringing a dry towel, change of clothes, and shoes when you've finished. It's pretty annoying sitting in a car when you're all wet.

Attitude adjustment - own the rain. Perhaps more than anything, running in the rain requires a different kind of attitude. When you run in the rain, you're going to be soaked. Know it. Own it. Love it.
don't fall victim to the rain - remember to nourish and hydrate during your run

during your run

Adjust pace expectations. Running safely in the rain will often require you to slow your pace in order to overcome decreased visibility and slick surfaces. It's far better to finish your run injury free than to push your pace and hurt yourself.

Watch for slick spots and potholes. Water makes surfaces slippery. It can also disguise potholes, rocks, roots, etc. Be on the lookout for pooling water and avoid it whenever possible. Also beware of leaves and other ground covering as these can be very slick.

Nourish and hydrate your body. Rain can give you a false sense of needing less nutrition and hydration. This is particularly true on long runs in a cooler rain. Stick to your nutrition and hydration schedule.
avoid wet dog stank - hang or wash your wet running gear immediately when you get home

after your run

Don't forget to cool down. Some make the mistake of skipping their cool down in order to get out of the rain. Don't do this. You've already been out in the rain and are likely soaked from head to toe. Take the time to go through your normal cool down.

Towel off. Once you've finished your run and cool down, start drying yourself by using that dry towel you packed. Getting dry will help prevent you from feeling like an icicle.

Change out of wet clothes. That change of clothes will come in handy when you're soaked. It will also help you to stay warm, reduce chafing, and limit blisters. When you stay in wet clothes and shoes, you're going to get cold, aggravate chafing, and worsen blisters.

Hang wet clothes to dry or wash immediately. Rain soaked running gear can get nasty in a pretty short period of time if you wad it up and throw it in a hamper. Hang your clothes to dry or wash them immediately to prevent the wet dog stank.

Stuff your shoes with newspaper. Wet running shoes will dry more quickly if you stuff them with dry newspaper. The low quality paper can absorb moisture without disintegrating, just wad up some paper into balls and stuff them into your shoes until full.