The Art of Running in the Rain: Is It Safe To Run in the Rain?

Running in the rain: once your dreaded nightmare, now a refreshing challenge. 

After opening your front door and finding a steady drizzle outside, you may find yourself less than excited about your usual run.

Chafing. 

Damp clothes. 

Cold

Any one of these things could be enough to send you right back inside.

But not you, fearless runner. Training doesn’t have to stop altogether just because of a little rain. With a little preparation and the right gear, you can be just as comfortable running in the rain as on a clear day. 

Granted, there are some important things you should be aware of when considering how to run in the rain. You undoubtedly have questions. Don’t worry. We have your answers right here.

Let’s jump in!

running in the rain

Is It Safe To Run In The Rain? 

Generally, yes!

Water alone isn’t a dealbreaker.

Think about it – most marathons go on when the sky opens up. The trick is making sure you’re well protected.

While running in the rain is usually safe, it may be better to stay inside if:

  • There are thunderstorms or lightning,
  • The temperature drops below freezing during a downpour, or
  • Wind speeds are above 35-40 miles per hour.

Related: Running In The Wind Guide

You don’t want to put yourself at risk of an electric shock or hypothermia! Check the weather forecast before stepping outside. You’ll want to avoid any nasty surprises.

How To Run In The Rain (3) Running in the rain

What Should I Wear During My Run?

Remember that with running in the rain, you’re going to get at least a little wet. That much is unavoidable. But there are steps you can take to minimize that damp feeling and keep you protected so you can focus on your workout. 

  • Hat with a brim. This will keep the rain out of your vision and keep your head warm. Aim for a waterproof one. If it’s cold outside, this can be layered with a headband or beanie. 
  • Waterproof jacket. Pick a lightweight one; even if it’s cold you can layer clothing underneath it. If you’re not terribly worried about fashion or in a pinch, even a long oversized plastic bag can do the trick. Note that this won’t completely keep moisture out, but it can help!
  • Light-colored or clear glasses. If you still find rain in the eyes to be an issue, glasses will be a great all-around shield. Combat glasses fog by using an anti-fog lens cleaner.
  • Safety accessories. At the very least, your clothing should be brightly colored, to make sure any drivers or cyclists nearby can properly see you. If you want an easy way to make sure you’re visible in any outfit, pick up a reflective belt, vest, or clip-on that blinks or flashes. 
  • A decent pair of socks. Regular cotton socks will soak up water like a sponge, adding weight and squish to every step. Look for moisture-wicking socks to prevent blisters and keep your feet warm and dry.
  • Don’t wear your favorite road shoes. They will get the elements on them. Also, make sure they’re grippy enough to handle the extra slip hazard and breathe enough to drain well.
  • Even better, get a pair of robust trail running shoes. Trail running shoes tend to be made of tougher outer material and have thicker soles which keep the wet out for longer.
  • Layer up. If it’s cold outside, layers are going to be key. Keep them light and form-fitting to prevent chafing. As you don’t want to overheat, stick to two to three layers, and adjust depending on your needs. Make sure you know how to deal with cold weather if the temperature dips to the icy side.
  • Make sure your phone is protected. Have a waterproof pouch or store it in your waterproof jacket for safekeeping.

An extra-special tip: use petroleum jelly or an anti-chafe balm to guard against blisters and other annoyances. Put this anywhere you think you’ll need it, such as the feet, arms, legs, or seam lines of clothing. 

Related article: Running With A Cold

Is It Safe To Run In The Rain

What Safety Precautions Should I Take?

1. Keep an eye out for slip hazards

Is it safe to run in the rain?

Choose your location wisely. Roads will be extra slippery, so steep hills or smooth concrete will not be your friend in wet weather. 

Ashley Rademacher, a marathon coach and creator of Swift, cautions that paying attention to your footing is crucial. 

Many runners, specifically those who run solely on the road, tend to have weak ankles,” she states. “This comes from a lack of stabilization training and strengthening that is often gained through trail running or uneven terrain. As a result, these runners are far more prone to sprained ankles when they step on a slippery rock, curb, or area of slick sidewalk.” 

She advises being extra careful to avoid any standing water, as it may contain hidden potholes or uneven pavement.

Paul Ronto, CMO of RunRepeat and avid marathon runner, agrees. “The painted lines on asphalt can get really slippery when wet, so be careful when you are crossing streets. Be especially careful at crosswalks, where the wider white lines can be extra slick.”

is it safe to run in the rain?

2. Make sure you are seen

When considering if it is safe to run in the rain, visibility is a big one.

Ronto adds that visibility will actually be your biggest concern. “The most dangerous thing about running in the rain is not being seen by drivers. Just because you can see cars doesn’t mean they can see you.” Be proactive with your surroundings. 

He stresses the importance of running on the side of the road heading towards traffic. “You can see what’s coming towards you rather than having drivers approaching you from the rear.” 

3. Don’t aim for your best running time ever

Inclement weather is not the time to push yourself to break any speed records.

As Rademacher noted above, keep your strides short for greater stability. Running too quickly in the rain can cause you to easily lose control and get injured, or even worse, fall into traffic.

Only go as fast as you can safely handle.

running in the rain

What to Do if I’m Trail Running In the Rain? 

While running in the rain on a forest path can be muddy, messy fun, it also requires just a bit more consideration.

Runners on trails should be extra cautious of loose dirt, mud, wet rocks, and leaves while running in nature.

It’s very easy to slip on unstable surfaces. It can also be hard to tell what is hidden under a layer of twigs or pine needles. Keep an eye on where each of your steps land, since the terrain will vary more than a street or sidewalk.

Make sure your shoes are made for trail running and have a solid grip. Draining shoes prevent water from building up and sloshing around your toes. Water-resistant properties like shoes made with Gore-Tex are also a good bet. 

Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Rain and wind can bring down branches and even trees into your path. For this reason, avoid wearing headphones so you have advance warning if nature turns against you.

Related: 6 Benefits of Trail Running

What Should I Do After My Rainy Run?

Get right into a warm shower or change into some dry clothes.

Don’t wait! 

To help your shoes dry, take out the insoles and put some paper towels or newspaper into them. This will also absorb any bad smells. Avoid putting them in front of a heater or into a dryer, as this can shrink them and cause their shape to warp. 

is it safe to run in the rain

It’s too dangerous outside. What can I do?

Sometimes a good long run outdoors just isn’t in the cards. If the weather is truly being uncooperative and it just isn’t safe, don’t fret. Treadmills are a great alternative to keep up your marathon training. 

Rainy weather doesn’t have to keep you from reaching your goals. For those who live in rainy climates and are training for a spring marathon, you’ll have to get used to that rain and learn to love it! 

If you haven’t started a structured training plan for your marathon, download one of our free guides and set a schedule to optimize your runs.  

Mia Kercher

Mia Kercher

Mia Kercher is a hiker, cyclist, and runner. After finishing her first marathon in 2013, she continued the sport but found a new passion in trail running. She now explores the glorious mountains in Portland, Oregon where she works as co-founder of Evoke.

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