run rain

Living in the Pacific Northwest, you often hear runners reassuring each other, “It’s not like you’ll melt!” So true: Humans are not the Wicked Witch of the West; we don’t melt when we get wet. It only sometimes feels that way! 

In a recent report, one stat jumped out at me: “1 in 3 [people] will run outside even when it’s raining.” As if running outside in wet weather is some Herculean accomplishment. It’s not: Just follow these pointers, courtesy of our Train Like a Mother Club coaches, to stay as comfortable and safe as possible.

run rain

1. Follow my lead and wear a “portable porch,” a.k.a. a brimmed running hat, because if your face (and possibly glasses) isn’t getting pelted, rain always seems less intense. Let this same theory guide you to a shaded path: The tree canopy will shield you from raindrops. Evergreen trees work especially well, regardless of season, if you can find them. 

2. Watch your footing. Oil, grease, and tar build up on roadways if there’s not frequent rain, so when precipitation first falls, this residue makes pavement slick. Coach Jen Harrison recommends wearing “a shoe with a great gripping bottom,” while Coach Jen Steele suggests slowing down as “things will be slippery, especially with leaves and debris.” 

3. Chafing can be a beast in the best of times, and it can get even worse in wet conditions. Apply extra lube to help keep your sensitive areas friction free. Remember your feet, points out Coach Harrison. Wear a fitted top and leggings or shorts as having wet, flapping fabric is annoying and another chafe-maker. Opt for a vest instead of a jacket, which usually makes me feel like I’m trapped in a terrarium. And in wet weather, no matter the temperature, wool is a champ! 

4. Be badass…within limits. Respect any safety concerns, especially if flooding, high winds, lightning, or severe weather are risks, cautions Coach Liz Waterstraat. And, “if it’s 40° and pouring rain, and you’re trying to do a challenging workout, the stress you place your body under being wet and cold is probably not advisable in the spirit of staying healthy.” 

For more Back to Basics, head here.

Have more tips for rainy runs?
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