Running in the rain is probably not your favorite thing in the world.
You get all wet, your shoes get all soggy, it’s usually cold, it’s dark, slippery, uncomfortable, and it causes painful chafing.
And then when you finally get back home, you’re dripping water everywhere, on your floors, your furniture, your pets, your kids – everywhere.
It’s almost as if there’s nothing to like about it.
But if you live in a wet climate, chances are that you can’t avoid it. Sure, you can hop on a treadmill instead and wait for a sunnier day, but that’s just not the same.
So let’s go over some tips that can make your dreaded runs in the rain just a little bit less dreadful.
The Benefits of Running in the Rain
While we focused on the downsides of running when it’s raining in our introduction, there are actually a ton of benefits to it, too. In fact, some might argue that those benefits outweigh the downsides.
The Mental Benefits of Running in the Rain
Think about it (get it?): it’s much harder to run when it’s cold and pouring. If you can do it, it follows that you’re tough.
Toughness is a great quality to have in life.
Everyone knows that life is something like a rollercoaster ride – like Frank Sinatra sang, you could be riding high in April, and shot down in May. When you’re riding high, the sun is shining, and everything’s roses; then, suddenly, thunder strikes, lightning flashes, and it begins to rain. And you probably know that when it rains, it pours. That’s why rain is often used in literature and cinematography as a bad omen or as a signifier of bad times.
The key to surviving – and even thriving – is to first accept that things don’t always go your way, that you will be shot down now and again. Once you accept this fact, you need to grit your teeth and push through the pain. Eventually, that pain will subside and your efforts (hopefully) will mean something.
So challenge yourself, push your boundaries, furrow your brows, and run right through the rain; running through the bad times will make running in optimal conditions all the more easier. You’ll feel stronger, more confident, like you’ve accomplished something worth accomplishing, like you can accomplish even more. You’ll feel ready for anything.
And there’s more.
If you’re like me, you need some kind of constant, humming, droning sound in order to sleep peacefully. To me, there’s nothing more peaceful than the soft pitter-patter of raindrops hitting the ground. It’s soothing and if you run amid it, it has the potential to relieve some stress.
The Physical Benefits of Running in the Rain
In addition to increasing mental fortitude, running in the rain also has some physical benefits as well.
For one, it can actually help you run faster. This is particularly true if you live in a very humid or hot climate. When you run in hot weather, what happens is that your core temperature rises precipitously. The higher your core temperature, the more energy your body has to expend just to keep it cool (it also means you’ll be sweating a ton more). The more energy you’re expending just trying to keep cool, the slower you’ll go.
But when it’s raining, temperatures drop. And when it’s cool (within reason – cool does not mean “cold“), your core body temperature doesn’t rise as much, which means you’ll be able to run a lot longer, a lot faster.
At the same time, if it’s cool enough (again, within reason), instead of increasing your core body temperature, your body will actually kick up your metabolic rate. This is because now your body’s doing what it can to stay warm. This is a good thing – it means that you’ll burn more fat.
So if weight loss is your goal, don’t shy away from the rain. Just run right through it.
Tips for Getting Through a Run in the Rain
- Make peace with the fact that you will get wet. Nothing’s going to change that – so might as well embrace it and learn to love it.
- Wear a cap with a bill. This is especially helpful if you’re planning on running out in a downpour. The bill will help shield your face and eyes from those maddening raindrops. Remember, your visibility is already compromised when it’s dark and rainy; the proper headgear will make your life easier. If you wear contacts, then this tip is particularly important for you to follow.
- Avoid cotton clothing. You should avoid cotton clothing any time you run, but you should especially do so when the sky is open and rain is falling. Cotton, when in contact with moisture, will soak up that moisture and stubbornly cling to your skin. This clinging will cause chafing, and nobody likes chafing.
- Speaking of chafing – use vaseline on all of your chafing-prone spots. That’s a pro-tip.
- Unless it’s freezing outside, you should avoid running with a jacket. Remember those physical benefits we went over earlier? Well, you might negate those with a running jacket. A jacket might cause your core body temperature to rise, zapping you of the energy you need to maximize your running performance.
- Choose your shoes carefully – don’t wear your favorite pair. You’ll ruin them. In fact, it’s best to have a separate pair of running shoes for wet days.
- Safety first: there’s a fine line between being tough and being stupid. If gusts of wind are tearing down trees and if the rains are causing serious floods, skip the run. There’s no shame in it and there’s always tomorrow.
And that’s all there is to it.
If you have any questions or concerns, make sure to leave them in the comments below.