Running in the Rain: Gear, Precautions & Safety
Running in the rain is not the most pleasant thing on the planet but it does make you feel like a complete bad-ass. While everyone else is at home in their bed or snuggled up on the couch watching Netflix you are channeling your inner beast and getting it done. You could have chosen the treadmill but decided Mother Nature wasn’t going to get the best of you. Or more likely, your running group or running buddy fully expected you to show and you couldn’t let a little rain get the better of you.
Moving beyond the fact that you got out the door into the rain there are precautions you need to take. Here are some gear suggestions and safety tips to help make your run in the rain a good (and safe) one!
While most people would think donning a Gore-tex rain suit would be ideal for running in the rain it isn’t. Staying dry is not a realistic goal. Keeping certain body parts as comfortable as possible if they get wet is a better objective.
The fact is that there are also a variety of rainy days you will encounter: a dry day with an unexpected downpour, a light mist that will eventually get you wet, the light warm rain, a cool steady downpour and what all runner’s should now refer to as a Boston Rain– borderline hypothermic, ice needle rain. Knowing the type of rain you are going to encounter is going to help you choose the correct running attire.
Any amount of rain that will lead to waterlogged feet call for you to have a second pair of shoes. Because wet shoes will take up to 36 hours to air dry, it’s best to have a second pair so that you are able to run your next run in a dry pair of shoes. When it comes to drying your wet shoes do not put them in the dryer, this is so important it almost bears repeating. Instead, place newspaper or charcoal inside your shoes, once you have pulled out all your inserts, and set your shoes in a well-ventilated room.
Clothes & Accessories
Keeping extremities dry is difficult, but keeping your core dry isn’t. Depending on the season a medium or lightweight water resistant or waterproof vest can keep you dry from your neck to your hips. During a colder rain, this will really help with your overall body temperature and from feeling even colder. If the weather is cool enough a rain jacket can achieve the same effect, assuming you won’t overheat and counteract its effect by excessively sweating. Another benefit to the sleeves of a jacket will be the protection it can offer your hands.
You’ll also want to wear shorts or a running skirt if the weather allows for it. Skin won’t absorb water and hold onto the rain like fabric. And since sunglasses probably won’t be ideal due to the lack of sun, a hat with a bill will help keep any rain out of your eyes.
Unfortunately, sometimes even with the right attire, the threat of chaffing rears its ugly head. Apply a generous amount of anti-chaffing product such as Body Glide to wherever your clothing is going to move or create friction such as between your legs, on your chest plate, and under your arms.
Similar to an icy day your footing on a rainy day will not be what it is on a dry day. You’ll want to pay a little more attention to where you place your foot for reasons beyond puddles.
Choosing a route that has you cross large, wet slick surfaces isn’t ideal. Things on your route you want to avoid, run around or slow down and walk across include railroad crossings, bridges, truncated domes (the yellow bumpy things at crosswalks), any painted surface on asphalt or anything that is shiny because it’s wet. The last thing you want to do is end up with an injury because you wouldn’t slow down and slipped in the rain.
If you have a route that runs next to or crosses a creek, you might want to confirm that the area isn’t prone to flooding. In some parts of the country, even the smallest amount of rain can cause flash flooding. Staying on higher ground will also reduce the number of puddles for you to accidentally step in.
When it’s raining the last thing any driver is going to consider is a pedestrian being out for a run. It is just as important to wear reflective clothing and light colored clothing when it’s rainy out as it is when it’s dark out. Running with a blinker, shoe lights or a lighted vest like the NoxGear Tracer360 will make you even more visible.
Run defensively and keep your eyes open. You are looking out for weather-related issues like huge puddles and oblivious drivers. As always taking a running buddy with you is a good idea. With the weather not being ideal issues are more prone to occur like you falling.
Getting started can be tough, but once you get going running in the rain isn’t bad. It also makes you stand a little taller the rest of the day. Take a few of the correct precautions, wear the right gear and you might even look forward to rainy runs, or at the very least, you won’t dread them.