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If you haven’t already, you should read “The Art of Racing in the Rain.” You probably already have but if not, here’s a bit of warning: it’s not an instruction manual about running in the rain, it’s a heart-wrenching novel about life through the eyes of a dog.
This post probably isn’t going to make you tear up or want to shower your dog with love. Instead, it’s (hopefully) going to get you prepared for running when it’s raining!
I’ll be the first to say it: I hate rain. It’s wonderful for our ecosystem, and I do love green trees and plants, but I much prefer to be inside when the rain is paying a visit. This isn’t always feasible when you live in the Pacific Northwest (why did I leave sunny California?). But if you want to run and you aren’t a treadmill fan/owner, sometimes you just have to deal with rain in your face.
Here are 8 tips to help you make it through a rainy run:
1. WEAR SOMETHING BRIGHT
Typically, when it’s raining, it’s also dark thanks to all those pesky rainclouds. Also, slippery roads make it more difficult for cars to stop quickly. Wearing bright gear will help you be seen by cars from a good distance away. Think neon colors vs. reflective gear because cars won’t necessarily be using their headlights. If you really want to stand out, snag a jacket that has both!
2. INVEST IN A WATER-RESISTANT HAT
Waterproof, water-resistant, water-repellant. They all mean something slightly different but whichever type you get, you will be thankful. What’s the point of wearing a hat if it’s just going to soak up the water and make your head cold? Also, make sure your hat has a brim to keep the rain out of your eyes during your run.
3. DRESS FOR THE WEATHER
This goes without saying: wear a waterproof jacket. Whether it’s insulated for warmth or a lightweight shell, make sure you have something to keep the water off. If it’s cold, wear longer layers and make sure you’re fully covered. Once you’re out in cold rain, you have a greater chance of hypothermia so you want to make sure you dress accordingly (gotta keep that core-temp up!). Or is it warm enough that you’ll be wearing shorts? Consider form-fitting shorts or layering compression shorts under your typical runners, no one likes chafing from loose, wet fabric.
But don’t overdress! You will get warm on your run. Those waterproof jackets will seal in the heat so make sure you get one that zips so you can catch a breeze around your halfway point.
4. KEEP ELECTRONICS DRY
Does your jacket have waterproof pockets? You, my friend, are a smart shopper—use those pockets. If yours doesn’t, there are some alternatives. There’s the trusty ziploc but I only recommend that if you keep your electronics fully sealed. If you’re going to plug in headphones, you should think about purchasing a waterproof case or a running armband. Armbands are often waterproof and you can always put the whole thing in your pocket if you want an extra layer of protection.
5. ADJUST YOUR RUN
Focus on the ground. It’s never fun to stare at the ground when you’re running; the best part of running outside is looking up at your surroundings. But if you’re paying extra attention to the ground you’re about to step on, you’ll notice the slick patches and puddles in time to avoid them. Also, think about running a bit slower than your usual pace with shorter strides. Both of these adjustments will reduce your chances of slipping.
6. CHECK YOUR SHOES
Do your shoes have a good tread? Check to see if your shoes have groove depths of at least 1-2 millimeters. If you have smooth soles, you should adjust your run (or invest in a new pair). If you’re going to run in the rain frequently, think about investing in a pair of Gore-Tex shoes to help you have a solid grip and keep your feet drier (my current favorites). Unfortunately, with normal running shoes, your feet will probably end up getting wet.
7. DRY OUT YOUR SHOES
When you get home, before you hop in that nice, warm shower, crumple up a few newspapers and stuff them inside your shoes. This will help draw the water out of your shoes while keeping their shape. If you need them to dry faster, prop them in front of a fan or use the cold setting on your hair dryer. But avoid using heat to dry them out, it can warp their shape and shorten their life-span.
8. STAY POSITIVE!
Running in the rain can easily bring down your mood so find a way to keep your mind off of it. Run with a friend. Run with a dog (I guess they fall into the friend category too). Blast your favorite music. Anything that will boost your mood. And just think, you’ll be warm and dry again very soon.