Some people run in the rain, others just get wet! Top Tips for Running in the Rain

Yesterday it was warm – as in about 50 degrees in Central Ohio at the beginning of March warm – and rainy, today cold, windy, snowy and icy. So it goes in this great state.

Actually, yesterday was more like a monsoon storm. I think it rained all day long, including every mile of our 8 mile run (and my 10 mile run). Hard rain, cold rain, sometimes slanted rain. It reminded me of that line in Forrest Gump, when Forrest says, “One day it started raining, and it didn’t quit for four months. We been through every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stingin’ rain… and big ol’ fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath. Shoot, it even rained at night….”

Okay so maybe the rain wasn’t completely up to our chests and we weren’t carrying machine guns, but we did run through icy ankle-deep water and lots of mud. To me, it was exhilarating, I love running in the rain:

Why? Because it’s something different, it’s fun, it’s refreshing, and you feel hard-core! I know, I know, I might be weird and definitely not everyone looks forward to a rainy run. In fact, for many of my Half-runners yesterday was not only the first time they ran 8 miles, but the first time they ran in a downpour! During the first mile, we heard runners mumbling and grumbling over splashing through a puddle, but by midway through the run they were tearing through ankle-deep ponds like it was nothing! Eight miles in a heavy rain making for less-than ideal conditions? Way to go MIT Lucky 13’s! You all make me smile!

I think some of the hesitation about running in the rain comes from not knowing what to wear. Should you wear something different? Should you dress the same as always? What it you’re colder or warmer than usual? What if you get too wet?

Yet, dressing for rain is not that hard. Here are the basics to make sure you’re prepared:

  • Don’t forget what you have learned this winter about layering. Wear thin, moisture wicking base layers and a breathable, wind & water resistant outer jacket. This way, you can peel off layers if you want to and add them back on if you get cold or the winds pick up. Yesterday, I wore thin, base-layer moisture-wicking leggings, a long sleeve technical shirt, and my MIT windbreaker. I was dressed just right for the weather!
  • If you are racing during the rain, head to the start line with a plastic garbage bag (arms and head holes cut out) or cheap, disposable poncho over your outer layer. When the gun goes off, shed your bag and get to running – you’ll be dry!
  • Wear a hat or a visor! I am usually not one for running in a hat, but I always do in the rain! It keeps the water our of your eyes and keeps your face dry. Yesterday, I opted for a summer cap with a visor and ventilation throughout. You can also get caps made of wicking material to help keep you dry.
  • You want to keep your feet somewhat dry. Wearing moisture wicking socks will help keep your feet as dry as possible! I personally run in the Balega Merino Enduro in the winter (you can find them at Fleet Feet). Balega’s premier quarter length running sock with premium Merino Wool. They feature Balega’s PWT System (Performance Wool Technology). PWT allows rapid movement of moisture away from the skin allowing it to evaporate.  By providing natural temperature regulation, you stay warm in winter and cool in summer.
Merino Enduro

If it rains in the summer, I switch to the Merino Runner, which is lighter than Enduro for those who want the wicking performance of wool in a thinner style. Balega socks range in price from about $9 – $15 and while at first I thought that was expensive, I went back to buy more because I was so happy with how great my feet felt in them! I don’t wear cotton socks when I run anymore.

Merino Runner
  • Don’t forget the Bodyglide! Prevent chaffing by using Bodyglide on any parts of your body that have to potential for rubbing, blistering or chaffing – any discomfort associated with friction! I put it anywhere I even think I might rub – right down to where the top of my socks rest against my ankle. A lot of runners tend to chafe more in the rain so use freely! It easily glides on like a solid deodorant so there’s no mess or hand washing necessary after applying.
Your new best friend.
  • Some runners prefer to run in shorts/skirt to minimize chafing and bunching. Compression shorts are particularly useful in rainy conditions because they generally stay put! I tend to run in pants/capris because I get cold in the rain.

Another important point? If you’ve already run in the rain during your training, you are prepared for possible rainy conditions on race day (it is Ohio, anything can happen). Rain, wind, snow, ice, pondage, cold? You’ve conquered it all already!

Gear Tip :

Dry out your shoes! Take the in-soles out and set them aside to dry. Stuff your shoes with newspapers (or paper towels) and let them sit for awhile. If the shoe is still wet when you remove the paper, stuff more in and let them continue drying. If your shoes are really dirty and muddy, you can put them in the washer – on the gentle cycle only – and follow the same drying procedures. Don’t put your shoes in the dryer and I wouldn’t recommend washing them more than once or twice over the life of your shoe. I have only washed my shoes when they are extremely soaked with mud – a lot of the dirt will fall off after they dry and you head out for your next run.

Inspirational Quote :

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, and snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” – John Ruskin

Until the next mile marker,


  1. Great job running through the rain! I wimped out yesterday (a mix of never having done it before and not being dressed appropriately for rain). Great tips!

  2. Way to go! I remember feeling that way once upon a time. Now, I’m worried about catching a cold and have a gym membership. I look forward to spring weather.

  3. Cotton socks are the devil’s creation!

    I use Body Glide to keep my HRM strap from rubbing too much. I’ve gone to using Aquaphor on my feet, between the toes, to keep the blisters away.

    What doesn’t kill you makes you a bad @$$ mofo!

  4. Great tips, Sara, thanks for sharing! It was fun out there yesterday. Now we’re back to snow… ick!

  5. You’ve got to check out this poem
    “Song of the Ungirt Runners” by Charles Sorley about running in the rain. love it!

  6. Cotton socks are the devil’s creation!

    I use Body Glide to keep my HRM strap from rubbing too much. I’ve gone to using Aquaphor on my feet, between the toes, to keep the blisters away.

    What doesn’t kill you makes you a bad @$$ mofo!

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