It’s been a long day. It’s dark outside. And now it’s just started to chuck it down. The thought of going running in the rain isn’t that appealing. But if you’re in training for a 2020 race, or just want to keep your running fix going through the winter (without resorting to the treadmill), you have to push any fair-weather tendencies to one side.
Of course, there are plenty of runners who simply love running in the rain, splashing through puddles and enjoying the feeling of being cool. But whichever side of the fence you sit on, one thing that you can pretty much guarantee, especially in the UK, is plenty and plenty of rainy days.
Here we’ve put together some of our top tips to make running in the rain more tolerable, more comfortable and maybe even somewhat enjoyable!
Wear the right kit for running in the rain
This is absolutely the number one rule for running in the rain. There is nothing worse than having clothes that get sodden and weighed down by water. Invest in a decent waterproof running jacket and you will get the use out of it.
Don’t go for anything too heavy, as you will get hot. If it’s cold, you can layer up underneath, but for the most versatility in all weather conditions, something lightweight is best. Even better, if you can get something packable, you can fold it up and stash it away if the rain eases off during your run. A hood can be handy if it’s got toggles to pull it in tight around your face, but some jacket hoods are just pointless and flap around in the way. You are often better off just wearing a running cap to protect your head, with the added bonus that the front peak offers your face some protection too.
Make sure all of your kit is technical sports fabric – a cotton t-shirt will be heavy, damp and clingy in minutes, plus you’ll get cold a lot quicker.
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Ramp up the tunes (but protect your phone)
If you’re running in the rain, but it’s still daylight, a little music can power you through. If your motivation is dripping away like raindrops down a window, some decent tunes can fire you up for your session.
However, rain and phones don’t always mix. Pop your phone in a running belt or armband and layer under your jacket. A plastic food bag is handy too, as you can put your phone inside to protect it from the rain without any expensive coverings.
Thread your headphones up underneath your jacket rather than on the outside so that they are protected too, or if you’re wearing wireless earbuds, use a headband over your ears to hold them in place and protect them. Although many wireless earbuds are pretty watertight anyway – just check the instructions.
Get it done fast
The less time you’re out in the rain, the less time you will spend wet! Why not plan an interval, tempo or fartlek session for a rainy day. This way you can get a beneficial run in but in less time.
Just be careful! The rain can make pavements more slippery, so check the surface conditions before tearing down the road. If you are less than steady on your feet, you might have to settle for a shorter, slower run instead.
Protect against chafing
Getting wet just makes chafing that much more likely, so running in the rain can be a sore experience for many. Make sure that you have some kind or anti-friction or anti-chafing balm to hand, like Runners Rub for example, and apply it liberally in all those places where you are likely to chafe.
Embrace the trails
If you’re going to get wet, you might as well really go for it. A muddy, rainy, wet trail run is a lot of fun and very different to a drizzly road run. There is a reason that cross-country is held in the autumn and winter months – it’s just not the same experience if you’re not covered in mud at the end! It might not be your fastest run ever, but it’ll lift your mood, keep you fit and get you out enjoying your natural surroundings.
See running in the rain as a training tool
If you really don’t want to go for that run, it takes a powerful mindset to push yourself out the door and get it done. That kind of mental strength will serve you well in your running in the future. So while you really don’t want to get wet, by pushing yourself and doing it anyway, you’re actually training your mental stamina as much as your physical stamina.
If you’re training for a race, there is always the chance that it will be rainy on race day (even in the middle of so-called summer!), so having got through a few decent runs in every kind of condition, means you won’t be phased by anything on the day.