Update: This post originally appeared in August of 2011 and has been updated for October 2018.
I have run several races in the rain, including the inaugural Rock ‘n Roll Providence half marathon, where there were torrential downpours the entire race. I definitely did some things wrong in that race in regards to running in the rain, but I learned some lessons and tricks to help you survive a rainy run.
Remember, it’s just rain. It won’t kill you, so go running anyway! (Unless there is lightning or a tornado…then you are on your own!)
8 Tips for running in the rain:
1.) Wear a hat. This will help keep your head drier and help to keep water drops from pelting you in the face. Not getting water all in your face will make it not so bad.
2.) Waterproof your phone/iPod. No, you don’t have to have some expensive special case, a ziplock bag will do! I kept my phone in my Ziploc the whole race and it was fine afterward! Also, I could still type on the touch screen through the bag.
3.) Body Glide. Even if you don’t normally chafe or blister, use Body Glide anyway. I don’t normally chafe badly but I did under ONE arm and on the outside of the leg where the pocket was I kept my phone in. I heard people saying they usually don’t get blisters but because of squishy shoes, they did during this race.
4.) Wear moisture wicking fabric/clothing. Honestly, you should be doing this ANYWAY, but it will help keep you from chafing more than cotton will, and it will keep you more dry.
5.) Dress warmly. The rain will most likely make it a few degrees cooler than you anticipated, so take that into consideration when planning your race day outfit.
6.) Get out of your wet clothes ASAP! Prior to the race, use the gear check if there is one available, or run back to your hotel to shower and change, but don’t stay in your wet clothes! You need to dry off and get the chill out of your body.
7.) A garbage bag makes a great poncho. Seriously. Been there done that. Even if you don’t run in it, it can at least keep you dry while you wait for the race to start.
8.) Evaluate and possibly change your expectation. If you were thinking you were going to PR in said rainy day weather you still can, but don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t. There are other things to consider besides the actual rain that can slow you down. For instance, in Providence, at times it was raining so hard the drains in the streets couldn’t keep up with it, so there was standing water RUSHING over the street knocking your feet out from under you. Also, there were puddles everywhere and I couldn’t tell how deep they were, which could have caused me to twist an ankle. I treaded a lot more lightly than usual because of this. There were also several steep downhills I was afraid of slipping on in my wet slippery shoes. Take precautions and watch your footing. There will be other races! Think of it as an experience, and as a “mental PR!”
QOTD: Do you have any other rainy day running tips?
Related: 5 Tips for running when you travel
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