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How To Run In The Rain

The fact that it rained at all today was noteworthy.  We’ve had less than 50% of our normal rainfall levels in the Bay Area this winter, and we’re potentially facing the worst drought since the early 1990s.  Maybe once a year, it rains enough where I get the chance to run in the rain.  Today was that day.

pouring-rain3I wasn’t planning to run in the rain.  I just wanted to do ten miles of hills.  It was overcast when I started, but at mile 3 it just started coming down.  So it got me thinking , there are some good tips for running in the rain.  I’m not talking about running in a thunderstorm or running in the cold winter rain.  It was 58 degrees when I ran today.  So here are my simple tips:

1.  Safety first.  You’re not going to run on trails in the rain, so you’ll probably be on a paved bike trail or a road.  Remember that many people simply lose their ability to drive safely in the rain.  Same thing happens in the the Midwest in the first snowstorm of the winter.  And they’re not looking for a crazed runner in the pouring rain.  I wore a bright yellow T-shirt today, even in broad daylight.   Watch your foot plant.  Asphalt can get really slick in the rain.

I run facing traffic–I want to see what’s coming–and sometimes I wave at oncoming traffic.  Not a hey-slow-down-you-moron kind of wave.  It’s a friendly hey-thanks-for-paying-attention sort of wave.  Just enough to get the driver’s attention.

2.  Dress appropriately.  Wear a technical shirt, long or short sleeve, but the kind that wicks away the moisture.  Layer as necessary.  I like drymax socks.  I don’t get blisters and they perform exceptionally well in the rain or on trail runs with water crossings.  If you’re prone to chafing, apply a little extra lubricant wherever you need it before you head out in the rain.  I find compression shorts particularly helpful.  Ah, the things we need to figure out to find comfort in running…which brings me to the next point.

3.  Get comfortable.  It can take a little while to get used to being completely soaked.  The natural urge when running in the rain is to speed up, as if finishing sooner will leave a few areas dry.  Don’t be silly by trying to stay dry.  Embrace the rain.  Running in the rain can help you prepare mentally for race day.  Get used to the feeling of being drenched while you run and see what it feels like to have your feet slosh around in your shoes.  You never know what conditions race day will bring.

4.  Run with a friend.  If you can.  Not so much for safety but to share the experience.

5.  Don’t wear a watch.  Run just for the pure enjoyment of it.  Everything sounds different in the rain.  I love the sound of rain hitting the canopy of trees above me.  Things even smell different in the rain.  They certainly feel different.  It’s OK to get soaked to the core.  If you haven’t done it, try it.  Save the Garmin for another day when you can get in a hard workout.  Running in the rain is for fun.  For me, it brings me back in touch with why I enjoy running in the first place.

Now, I swear I’m not making up this last bit for a dramatic finish, but just as I ended my run in the rain today, the clouds parted, the sun broke through over El Toro (the local mountain) and a rainbow appeared in front of me.  Very cool.


One Response

  1. Thanks a bunch!!Great tips!

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