12 Expert Tips for Running in the Rain

Female adaptive athlete training for competition at a university athletics stadium

Trevor Williams / Getty Images

Rainy weather doesn't mean you have to take your runs inside. If you're preparing for a race, running in the rain is good because most aren't canceled due to rain. So, it helps you feel more mentally and physically prepared should this occur. Here are a few tips to make your rainy day runs safer and more comfortable.

Don't Run During Thunderstorms

While running in the rain is perfectly safe, keep your run indoors if there are thunderstorms in the area. Getting your run done is not worth the risk of getting struck by lightning.

Wear a Hat With a Brim

Man jogging in rain
Chase Jarvis/Digital Vision/Getty Images

A hat with a brim can be your best friend during a rainy run. It will keep the rain off your face so you can see, even in a downpour. Make sure you consider the temperature and other conditions when you choose your brimmed hat. If it's warm and rainy, wear a breathable one with plenty of venting so you don't overheat.

If it's cold, rainy, and windy, choose a thicker hat and wear a fleece headband over it to protect your ears. A headband can also help keep it from blowing off in a gust of wind.

Dress in Layers If It's Cold

If it's very cold and rainy, you may need to wear a couple of layers. The most important layer is the one closest to your body. Make sure it's a technical fabric such as polypropylene or CoolMax, which wick water and sweat away from your skin.

Your outer layer should be wind- and water-resistant jacket or vest. Don't wear waterproof rain slicker because it will trap moisture and heat. Also, stay away from cotton (including your socks) because it tends to absorb water.

You can make a rain poncho out of a big trash bag by cutting armholes and a neck hole. Once you get moving and start to warm up, it's easy to rip it off and discard it. Be sure you put it somewhere safe so it doesn't trip up the other racers or become litter.

Don't Overdress

Overdressing is one of the biggest mistakes runners make when heading out for a rainy run. Dress for the temperature, as if it were a dry day. Wearing more layers will not keep you dry. Unless you're running with an umbrella over your head, you will definitely get wet. If you have tons of layers on, you will just be wearing more wet, heavy clothing.

Be Visible

Select outer layers that are very bright or light-colored and have reflective strips. Running in the rain often means drivers have poor visibility and they may be less likely to expect that runners are also out on the road.

Wear the Right Shoes

Keep your favorite shoes for dry days, relying on old shoes for running in the rain. The best shoes for running in the rain depends, in part, on what type of running you'll do. For instance, waterproof shoes may be better if you plan to run on the road, yet they're not so good if you do trail running and will likely be going through creeks and puddles.

If it is raining before the start of a race, wear a pair of older shoes and socks and keep your race shoes and socks in a plastic bag. Right before race time, change into your race set and check these older items with your gear check bag or discard them near the starting line as many racers do with warmup gear. Some races collect these items for charity.

Prevent Chafing

Chafing can happen during any run, but it can be much worse if you're wet from the rain. If you're running long, spread Body Glide or Vaseline on parts of your body where you would normally chafe or get blisters, such as your feet, inner thighs, underarms, sports bra lines (women), and nipples (men), to help prevent the chafing.

Protect Your Electronics

Store electronics, such as your cell phone and iPod, in a ziplock bag or a waterproof carrier. Or, just leave them at home. Most running watches are water resistant, but not all. So, if you do wear a watch while running in rain, check the watch's specs so you know its limitations and to keep it functioning well.

Watch Your Step

You should always be paying attention, but running the rain means you need to be extra careful since the road or path is slippery. The key is to take small steps and really pay attention to your footing, similar to how you would run on trails, knowing that there may be lots of roots, rocks, or branches you could trip over.

Try to avoid stepping in puddles as much as you can. Your running shoes and feet will get wet from the rain, but they'll get absolutely soaked if you step in a big puddle.

Carry Extra Socks

If you have some room in your running belt or fanny pack, stash an extra pair of socks in a plastic bag. You'll lose a little time stopping to change them, but a dry pair of socks will feel a lot more comfortable, and hopefully prevent blisters. This is especially helpful if it's raining and your socks get wet when you start running, but then the rain stops during your race or run.

Change Out of Wet Clothes

You may feel warm when you first cross the finish line or finish your run, but make sure you change out of your wet clothes quickly. When you're wet, you're at an increased risk for hypothermia, a lowering of your body temperature.

If you're racing, bring an extra set of clothes to put in a checked bag (or in your car if it's easy to get to post-race) so you can change out of your wet race outfit into dry clothes soon after you cross the finish line. Your checked bag should be waterproof as it may not be stored in a sheltered area.

Dry Your Shoes

When you get back from a wet run or race, take off your running shoes and stuff them with crumpled balls of newspaper. This helps the shoes keep their shape, and the paper draws moisture away from the shoes. Don't put them in the clothes dryer or in front of a heater—that can shrink them or warp their shape so they won't fit you properly.

A Word From Verywell

The hardest part of running in the rain is often just getting started. Once you begin running and warm up, you may find that you actually enjoy it. It's also a great way to get in touch with your inner child as you splash through the puddles.

At the same time, running in the rain will make you feel like a hard-core badass. As the rain is hitting your face, you're building your mental toughness and realizing that you can handle any challenge that comes your way.

7 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Boston Marathon History: Weather Conditions. Boston Athletic Association.

  2. Motlogelwa S. Comfort and durability in high-performance clothing in High-Performance Apparel: Materials, Development and Applications. Woodhead Publishing Series in Textiles. 2018.

  3. Konstantopoulos P, Chapman P, Crundall D. Driver's visual attention as a function of driving experience and visibility. Using a driving simulator to explore drivers' eye movements in day, night and rain driving. Accid Anal Prev. 2010;42(3):827-34.  doi:10.1016/j.aap.2009.09.022

  4. Goodwill NYNJ collects 91,000+ lbs of textiles at 2018 NYC Marathon. Goodwill of New York. 2018.

  5. Hicks M, Powell B. Where the road ends: A guide to trail running. Human Kinetics. 2016.

  6. Choosing the right running shoe. University of California San Francisco Health.

  7. Hypothermia and Cold Temperature Exposure. Michigan Medecine. University of Michigan. 2018.

By Christine Luff, ACE-CPT
Christine Many Luff is a personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, and Road Runners Club of America Certified Coach.