8 Rules for Running in the Rain

By November 12, 2015 Articles
cc photo by Neil Williamson on Flickr

Running in the rain is one of those messy, wonderful adventures that only the brave souls who dive into it will ever quite appreciate. If you’ve never felt that satisfaction that comes with mud-spattered ankles, or finished a run and stood stretching in the porch light, then realized you can see tendrils of steam rolling off your skin, you have to give it a try!

But before you burst out your front door to show Mother Nature your tough face, know the rules to make sure your run in the rain goes swimmingly:

Cotton Bad.

For the love of Pete, don’t wear anything cotton. From your hat to your socks (and, yes, your undies), it all needs to be synthetic. NO cotton! If you’ve ever had to wear wet jeans, think about how quickly that can chafe your skin. Polyester is your friend.  Spandex is your friend. But you already knew this.

Bag your phone.

This is mandatory if you love your cell. Whether carrying your phone in a pocket or in your hand, just slip it into a Ziploc baggie and seal it up to keep it dry. The touch screen still works normally, and you can even poke your headphone plug right through the plastic to plug in.

Plus, any photos you snap will take on a surreal, soft-focus quality.

heyrunnermama running in the rain

Photo taken through a baggie: One of my favorite rain runs took place on this power-line road on Mt. Hood. (We were supposed to be having a relaxing getaway weekend, but I had new trail shoes to try out!)


Wear visible gear.

YOU MUST boost your visibility to drivers however you can, because when it’s raining, drivers’ ability to see pedestrians dips to a dismal low. Check out our picks for amazing reflective and high-visibility gear to cut through the gloom and be seen.

Jacket Up.

This rule applies if it’s raining AND windy or cold. Throw on a jacket – but pick the right one. You want a balance of breathability and protection from the elements. DO NOT just run in an old rain slicker like you’re the Gorton’s Fisherman in a hurry. If you do, it’s gonna feel like it’s raining inside the gear too. DO check out our favorite running jackets.

Put a cap on it.

A hat with a bill is gonna keep the rain out of your eyes.  (My favorite is this super lightweight adidas hat.) When running, the hat’s job is not to keep your head dry, but to keep your eyesight clear. Otherwise how will you know when you’re about to step on a manhole cover? Which brings us to. . .

Watch out for manhole covers and grates.

Anything metal in your path can be slippery. (As can logs, and those greasy old wooden railroad ties that parks sometimes use for landscaping).  Doesn’t mean you always have to dodge it to avoid stepping on it, just keep an eye out, and be aware how your foot is going to land.

Cover your seat.

If you gotta drive home, you gotta throw a towel in the car. You’ll be soaked when you’re done, and the driver’s seat doesn’t need to share in the excitement. Better yet, grab one of these handy  Orange Mud Seat Wraps. It’s a washable car seat cover, that doubles as a wrap you can use to change out of your wet clothes!

Enjoy the shower.

Way back when I was getting ready for my first rain run (the first of many), I put the question to my friends: What do I need to know about running in the rain? I got lots of great, practical advice, and among them was one from my most accomplished runner friend: Enjoy the shower afterward; it will feel amazing! And she was right. That’s a damn good shower.

Bonus Tip! Wet Shoes:

Now that you’re the proud owner of a pair of gnarly running shoes that have to be stripped off before you can set foot anyplace so civilized as a carpet, you’ve gotta care for them the right way! Don’t put them on a boot dryer, or in front of a heater. High heat can shorten the life of your shoes. Instead, loosen the laces. Pull out the insoles to dry separately. Then stuff some newspaper inside the shoes to help absorb moisture, and let them dry at room temperature. If you’re gonna be running in the rain every day, it helps to have two pairs of shoes, so you can alternate.


How do YOU feel about running in the rain? Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments!

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  • Darcy November 13, 2015 at 2:00 am

    I have a love hate with rain runs. I don’t mind the rain, however I do need to invest in a good running rain jacket, but I don’t like the cold rain.

    Summer rain running is a joy. I’m trying to embrace the winter wet. Perhaps that will change with the right jacket.

    • Amanda November 14, 2015 at 5:44 pm

      I hope you find a jacket you love, Darcy! The right gear can make all the difference.