There’s a joke in my family.
If I sign up for a marathon, there’s a 99.9% chance it will rain.
I’ve run 3 marathons and they have all been in the rain.
There was the borderline snow/rain conditions for my first at Vermont City. There was the time of being soaked even before the start at the Honolulu Marathon. And then there was sideways blowing rain and chilly temps of Boston (although the 2018 race was way worse!).
Clearly, the odds are not in my favor. Maybe that’s why I have zero desire to run a road marathon anytime soon?
With my history of running long distance races in the rain, I always chuckle when others say they love running in the rain. I do too, just as long as it’s a warm, gentle mist.
The odds of it being a warm, gentle rain?
Not too good especially here in New England where fall, winter and spring rains usually are in colder temps of 30s and 40s.
It’s also not too fun to be running in the rain for a good length of time. Believe me, there’s nothing peaceful and uplifting about running in the rain for hours. Even if it is a warm rain, you are going to get cold at some point. Slopping in soaked shoes that weight 10,000 pounds is not pretty and definitely not peaceful!
That being said, I’m still going to run in the rain. As the saying goes, there’s no bad weather conditions, there’s only bad gear. So here’s what to wear when Mother Nature opens the skies on your next run.
There’s nothing worse than having rain pellets sting you in the face and eyes. Having a wide brim hat will help protect your face and you’ll be able to see better so maybe you can avoid some of the puddles. I usually wear whatever baseball style hat I have around.
If it’s a colder run (30s or so), I’ll add a headband to give my ears some warmth.
Or you can toss a shower cap over your hat as we saw so many do in Boston 2018. I’ve heard it works really well!
I’ve tried many different jackets and haven’t really found an absolutely perfect running jacket for the rain. Jackets that are water proof work well in keeping you dry from the rain (although not completely dry) but don’t breathe at all. I find I sweat more than ever which still makes for a soaked shirt. The jacket is still a good idea to keep your core temp up to hold in body heat.
I tend to reach for my Ultimate Direction Ultra Jacket (affiliate link)for wet runs. The hood is awesome and there are built in flip mitts for keeping hands dry, one place that tends to get really cold on me.
If you are running a race, a trash bag or emergency poncho works well too. Just ask Laura from Mommy, Run Fast. She’s run Boston twice in a poncho!
No matter how much you try to avoid puddles, your feet are going to get wet so it’s best to wear socks that will at least keep your feet a little warm. I reach for wool which is great for keeping some warmth in. And they don’t weigh a thousand pounds when wet.
My eyes can’t un-see the bloody shirts of men or the gnarly open wounds on women’s legs running in my rainy first marathon. It looked like a battlefield! When things get wet, things rub. Rubbing leads to chafing. Chafing leads to pain. Pain is not good. Lube up generously with Vaseline or Aquaphor beforehand on your legs, sports bra straps, armpits and every other place that can get rubbed raw.
If I’m running an hour or less in the rain, I won’t lube up. Anything more, the lube is coming out.
A Good Attitude
I don’t enjoy running in the rain but going into a race or run with a horrible attitude does not help the situation. Rain isn’t going to stop me from heading out for a run or running a race. Focusing on what I can control swings the pendulum from Negative Nancy to Positive Polly. I can’t change the weather but I can change my attitude. It’s best to embrace it and just have fun with it.
Running in the rain – love it, hate it, tolerate it?
What’s your essential running in the rain piece?