Running in the rain doesn’t have to be a nightmare!
I know shoes get squishy, there are problems with chafing, and you have to consider safety precautions.
But you can have a great time if you know what to keep in mind and, most importantly, the rain gear to have!
You probably have loads of questions when it comes to running in the rain, which is where I hope my years of running in humid, drizzly and downright pouring rain can help.
In this article, we’ll cover all the best running in the rain tips, as well as the best gear, and what to do after your rainy day run is over!
After all, there is no such thing as bad weather, just different kinds of good weather like John Ruskin once said:
“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” – John Ruskin
Ready to gear up for your next rainy-day run? Let’s jump right in!
Is It Safe to Run in The Rain?
Worries about slipping or being visible or simply getting sick often have us pondering safety. But it’s usually safe to run outside while it’s raining and of course it means you’ll be even more ready when your marathon goes on in ANY weather.
What you need is the right gear and to be well protected against the elements.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to safety for running in the rain.
You want to make sure you don’t put yourself at the risk of an electric shock from lightning or hypothermia from below freezing temperature. Feels obvious, but sometimes we “bad ass runners” need a reminder not to be stupid.
Consider staying inside if the weather forecast includes:
- There is a thunderstorm or lightning
- Wind speeds are above 35-40 mph
- The temperature is expected to drop to below freezing during the run and it’s sleeting, creating icy conditions
But if the rainy-day conditions don’t meet these criteria, it’s generally safe to head out.You are however, entirely free to CHOOSE the treadmill because you simply don’t feel like being wet.
Let’s talk about a few more safety tips for when you choose to head out.
What Safety Precautions Should I Take?
Now that you need what weather conditions are definitely not suitable to run in, let’s consider the safety precautions you should take when heading out when there’s no thunder or lightning outside.
It’s important to always stay visible. This is especially true if you when it’s raining very heavily.
- Always remember, that just because you can see a car doesn’t mean it can see you as well.
- Run on the side of the road heading towards traffic.
- Checkout this reflective running gear.
- Wear a blinker or flashing light to catch attention.
Pick the Right Location
Picking the right location to run is essential when running in the rain. You want to make sure there aren’t any slip hazards since roads can be extra slippery, and steep hills or smooth concrete is also not ideal if there’s a lot of running water.
It’s also essential to know the hazards of running near any standing water, since it may have hidden potholes or uneven pavements that can result in injury.
Be Extra Careful When Trail Running
Running in the rain on a forest path can be loads of fun and can help you embrace your inner child. But it’s also important to keep in mind the issues you can face.
- Be more aware of loose dirt, wet rocks, mud, and leaves while trail running.
- Ensure you are wearing trail running shoes with good traction
- Keep your eyes focused a few feet ahead of where each step lands, this allows you brain to process what’s coming
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
As a run coach, I always advise my runners to be aware of their surroundings while running outside, but this is especially true while running in a rain storm.
Wind and rain can lead to branches breaking down and being a hazard.
For this reason, always be aware of your surroundings and avoid wearing headphones that will block out all sounds. You need to know what’s happening around you more than ever during the rain.
What to Wear While Running in the Rain?
I have a whole list of my personal tried and tested recommendations below when it comes to running in the rain gear.
But let me first quickly give you an overview of some key things to look for and terminology when making your selections.
For starters, you have to keep in mind that you will get at least a little wet while running in the rain. That’s unavoidable.
But there are things you can consider having on you to minimize that damp feeling and keep you protected during your run.
It’s really nice to have a waterproof jacket if you’ll be doing a lot of rainy runs or when it’s cool. This helps keep you from getting cold and simply makes the experience more enjoyable.
I recommend a lightweight jacket to start with, and then you can always layer up if it’s cold outside.
I have recommendations for all the ones I’ve tried and loved down below. I also explain the difference between waterproof and water-resistant jackets!
Hat with a Brim
You want a hat that will keep the rain from going straight into your eyes. This reduces the annoyance factor by a LOT.
A waterproof one is a great option in the cold as that will also keep your head protected (and warm!). If it gets super cold outside, you can layer it with a headband or a beanie, underneath the waterproof cap.
Regular cotton socks just won’t do when it’s raining, they’ll soak up all the water and you’ll have blisters.
Look for moisture-wicking socks which will help prevent blisters and also keep your feet as dry as possible.
I also love wool socks when it gets really cold outside (recommendation down below!). They’re quick drying and warm.
The Right Running Shoes
Having waterproof shoes is the way to go if you have those at hand. It’ll save you loads of trouble and prevent blisters.
These are often trail shoes or ones that are a bit harder, so make sure you’ve already worn them before to break them in. It’s important to wear shoes with good traction to better grip the ground.
If you don’t have any, don’t fret – I’ve mentioned down below a DIY method you can use as well!
If despite wearing a hat with a brim, if you tend to get quite a bit of water in your eyes, then grab a pair of clear glasses to help you see clearly.
You can also use an anti-fog lens cleaner to avoid having your clear glasses fog all up!
Depending on the level of visibility outside, you might also want to consider wearing clothing items that are brightly colored so drivers and cyclists can easily spot you.
A reflective belt, vest, or even clip-on that blinks or flashes can do the trick!
Blisters due to chafing can be a real problem for runners while running in the rain.
Grab an anti-chafe balm or even petroleum jelly such as Vaseline and rub it anywhere you feel you’ll need it such as your feet, arms, legs, or even the seam lines of clothing.
Make sure to grab a Ziploc bag or a waterproof carrier for your cell phone and any other electronics you might want to take along. Remember that shoving it in your jacket isn’t enough to keep it dry.
Most running headphones should be ok in a light rain, but you may want to check our guide before taking them out in a downpour.
What to wear running in cold rain?
If it’s raining AND it’s cold outside, then layer up along with your waterproof jacket!
Start with a base layer and then finish it off with your jacket. I’ve discussed all about base layers so head on there after you’re done with this article.Which jackets will really keep you dry in the rain? And which one's are actually best for running? Find out! #runchat #gearchat Click To Tweet
Complete Guide to Running Rain Gear
Once we’ve set our mind for a rainy run or race then it’s time to get some gear to make it more enjoyable.
A few of these I’ve tested and others have been recommendations from friends out in the Pacific Northwest!
The biggest thing we all have to understand about jackets is terminology! A running rain jacket needs to meet the requirements of where you live which could mean water repellant or waterproof…let’s find out!
This means that it is designed to totally block water from reaching your body. The result of this most often is a jacket that’s a little stiffer (think Gore-Tex) and doesn’t allow your body to breathe, making it like a little sweatbox.
More and more jackets are claiming to be waterproof and breathable, which is obviously much better for runners but most still report these jackets can get warm.
These are what you might often think of as a windbreaker, they’re usually very lightweight and good in a light drizzle or a short light rain. They aren’t going to keep you dry in heavier or longer-lasting rain.
Based on the above if it’s warm outside, you’re probably better off just embracing the wet.
But when it’s cool, the jacket is key because it’s going to prevent your body temperature from dropping. If your core is working hard to warm up it will pull blood from fingers, toes, and limbs.
Best Rain Jacket for Running
Moving on to the best rain jackets!
All of these are linked so you can get additional product information if desired. These are the ones that I have taken out and tested in wet conditions to give you my feedback.
Jackets are listed in order of last known price high to low.
ON Weather Jacket ($240)
It’s pricey. I know.
I’m in love. I have two.
- It’s absolutely waterproof
- It’s still very lightweight
- It doesn’t make me overheat
- I can use it in the winter for layering with snow or spring for rain
- It FITS so well
- I’m not worried about it ripping or tearing
If I break down the cost per wear, knowing that it will last many years it is FAR MORE ECONOMICAL than my shoes.
OMM Halo– ($142)
This jacket is a lightweight waterproof option, recommended by a few different runners. It’s on the upper end of the price spectrum but might be because it’s supposed to be both waterproof and yet breathable enough for running.
Designed by runners in Britain who created the Original Mountain Marathon, they have that one their side!
It wasn’t designed for something else and then converted to runners, it was designed for runners.
Patagonia Houdini – ($99)
This is what I’m wearing here and clearly having a blast.
Let’s be honest though, I was wet in every conceivable inch of my body because it was a total downpour.
So this would not fall under the waterproof category and if I were running in rain daily, I’d be opting to pull on my On Weather Jacket (above).I however love this jacket (as did about 20 other people who recommended it) because it’s SUPER lightweight which makes it comfy in the spring or summer and it will handle a light drizzle, plus block wind.
Right now this has my vote for the best running rain jacket.
Shower Pass Pro Tech– ($85)
Recommended by someone who bike commuted for years and now runs in it. They don’t make this particular version in women’s, but sizes do go down to a XS.
It’s also clear, which I seriously think is cool, but this jacket is not for summer runs.
Asics Storm Jacket– ($99)
This water-resistant running jacket has reflective threads throughout which is a big perk for road runners.
- This jacket is probably more ideal for spring or fall rainy runs than summer runs.
- The fitted nature also makes it a bit more flattering than a lot of jackets.
Additional Gear for Rainy Runs
Once you get past the jacket, is there anything else that can help in the rain? Yup a few pieces of gear and good old fashioned duct tape! These tips are great for running a marathon in the rain or simply making your training run a bit more enjoyable.
Wool Clothing and Socks
If you’re out in cold and wet conditions, this is one of the better options for keeping the water away from your skin. You want that to help keep you from getting chilled.
- Short wool running socks
- IBEX wool running tops (they are so soft!)
- Icebreaker Wool Sports Bra – again we’re staying warm and pulling moisture away from skin
Grab a Big Billed Hat
I love wearing a hat when it’s raining. Something about at least keeping it from slapping you in the face is helpful. Not that it won’t at points, but it’s a bit of welcome protection.
When I say big billed, I’m not thinking floppy hat, more that you can find running hats with a larger bill like this Outdoor Research Swift Hat.
Sumolux has running waterproof hats that come in a variety of colors for just $15. A great option to have on had!
Waterproof Shoes (or DIY)
If you have waterproof shoes, now is the time to embrace them. Often they’re trail shoes or a bit harder shoes, so be sure you’ve worn them before. Don’t buy waterproof shoes at the expo! A little drier feet might cost you blisters.
What you can do instead is duct tape your existing shoes!
This is a BRILLIANT idea from So What I Run. What’s worse that that moment you splash in to a puddle and feel your sock soak up the water. This isn’t going to keep you 100% dry, but so much better!!
Rock the Trash Bag Fashion
You’ve seen them at a plenty of start lines and that’s because it’s nice to at least be dry while you wait. Once you start running a trash bag or poncho can become problematic because of the humid heat bubble they create.
Be sure you aren’t afraid to rip it off if your body is getting warm because you’ll still end up wet, just either from sweat or rain.
BONUS TIP: Trash compactor bags are actually more waterproof than just the trash bags, so if that’s an option go for it.
What Should I Do After My Rainy Run?
The first thing to do is to get into a warm shower or change into some dry clothes. I like keeping a dry towel in my car as well, it gives me some immediate warmth on the way home..
This is incredibly important since your body temperature will drop once you stop running and while the temps may have felt ok, you could quickly end up shivering.
Drying your shoes is the next step.
- To start, take out your insoles
- Then stuff some newspaper or paper towels into the shoes
- This will absorb any bad smells and help them dry faster while retaining shape
Avoid putting them in front of a heater or into the dryer and this can potentially shrink warp their shape or cause issues with the glue holding things together.
Final Tips for Running in the Rain
Now let’s finish it off with a few additional tips, including my own personal honesty. If it’s cold outside and massively down pouring, you’ll find me on the treadmill. I LIKE running, there’s nothing for me to gain in making myself miserable.
Now if it’s over 45 degrees, I’m pretty good. And if I happen to be out when it starts running, then it’s even easier to embrace it!
Attitude Makes the Day
If you can think like a kid, you’re going to have a much better day. Once you’re shoes are wet, embrace it and jump in the puddles, laugh about it and just charge on.
You won’t dry out, so stop trying to side step it.
Prep for the Temps
If you happen to be running in the cold and it rains, then be sure you have a dry towel in your car and can pull off wet clothes as soon as possible. Your body temperature will drop quickly once you stop running, so drying off and finding warm clothes is key.
Body Glide Like Crazy
Don’t skimp in getting every single toe, bit of your foot, leg and arms layered up with Body Glide.
The additional friction from wet clothes makes it more common to find yourself chaffed.
Looking for more reviews to find the best things for your run?
Checkout our full page of my must have running gear reviews and guides to save you time searching and money! I share what’s worked for me and fellow runners, along with what wasn’t worth the price tag.
A few common requests:
- Best winter running jackets
- Best HR monitors (from watches to straps)
- Best running socks (lightweight to compression)
- Best sunglasses for running
Any rainy run tips I missed?
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