Running in the Rain

The weather has been very dry and warm for training the past few months. I only had one 20 mile run this fall with pouring rain. It was 55 degrees, and fortunately there was no wind. The rain seems to be back now though, and this Thursday I ran for an hour in the pouring rain when the temperature was 45 degrees. Although that sounds miserable, it was not and I owe that to past experience. You learn quickly from your mistakes after a couple runs in bad weather. When I ran the Boston Marathon in 2015, the temperature was in the mid-40’s with rain. I was not prepared and ended up with hypothermia. Lesson learned. 

I wrote about running with the wind a few weeks ago, and today I am going to offer some tips for running in the rain.  

  1. Wear a hat to prevent rain from getting in your face and eyes. This is SO important for me and sometimes even allows me to forget it's raining. If you have contacts, this is also a must or they may fall out. 
  2. Wear lightweight, tighter fitting clothing. Your clothes will slosh around when wet, so you’ll have less rubbing and irritation. Also, wear light socks and shoes - they will also get soaked and feel like you have weights on your feet if they're too heavy. 
  3. On that note – if your run is greater than a few miles or if you chafe easily, wear lubricant such as body glide.
  4. Wrap any energy blocks you're using in saran wrap, or they will start to dissolve as they get wet.
  5. Beware of slippery surfaces such as the yellow and white lines on the road, bridges, and roots on trails. 
  6. Remember you still need to drink water even though you’re covered in it!
  7. Have a towel and dry clothes waiting for you at the end.
  8. Take out your insoles and stuff newspaper into your wet shoes to help them dry. Replace the newspaper every couple hours, or as it becomes saturated. You can also place your shoes in front of a fan or in the sun (if it comes out!) to speed up the drying process.
  9. If it’s below 60 degrees, drink something warm shortly after the run and try to shower before you get chilled. I love tea after cold runs!
  10. If it’s below 45 degrees, look for waterproof gloves to keep your hands warm (or wear two thin pairs of gloves so the inside one stays relatively dry).
  11. If it’s below 40 degrees and really pouring, consider running on the treadmill. It can really chill you the longer you stay out, and it may turn to freezing rain making it dangerous.
  12. If it's pouring AND really windy (>20 mph), consider running on the treadmill. The rain can feel like pellets hitting you and it's hard to enjoy. 

DO NOT talk yourself out of exercising because of rain! You will not melt. Play in the puddles and get a little muddy. Have fun! Rain actually feels good when it's above 65 degrees and/or if it’s humid! You're going to sweat anyways. The first few minutes are the hardest, but then you will thank yourself.

 Display of wet shoes at running camp a few years ago - note the newspaper stuffed inside and removed insoles. We also had fans blowing on them from either side. 

Display of wet shoes at running camp a few years ago - note the newspaper stuffed inside and removed insoles. We also had fans blowing on them from either side. 

 Still smiling in the rain!

Still smiling in the rain!