Most runners know the feeling: you’ve just laced up your running shoes and are ready to hit the road when the first drops of rain begin to fall on the ground. Running in the rain may seem like self-imposed torture, but it can actually be a smart training strategy. Although it’s often hard to make the first move in less than perfect weather conditions , jogging in the rain can be quite rewarding and even beneficial. To reap the mental and physical benefits of running in bad weather – and make it as enjoyable as possible – there are a few rules you should follow.
Table of Contents
- Does jogging in the rain make you sick?
- Here’s why jogging in the rain is healthy
- Jogging despite the rain: Here are the best tips
Does jogging in the rain make you sick?
When it comes to viruses and colds, you contract them when you touch something that has a virus on it and then touch your nose, mouth or eyes . You can also catch it if you breathe in the virus through the air. During the rainy months of the year, you are more likely to stay indoors, which increases the likelihood of coming into contact with viruses.
Studies have shown that lowering a person’s body temperature can make them more susceptible to contracting viruses through the above transmission routes. In other words, it’s the cold, not the wet, that makes you more susceptible to succumbing to a virus or worse, hypothermia, says the University of Wisconsin.
In some areas, rain can be caused by excessive air pollution – which could lead to upper respiratory illness or asthma attacks. Rain also means wetness, which increases the risk of slips and falls. In addition, drivers are also less able to see in a rainstorm, so the risk of being hit by a car also increases. This won’t make you sick, but an injury could keep you from jogging.
So, running in the rain by itself can’t make you sick. However, lowering your body temperature by running in the cold rain can make you more likely to catch a virus. There are also some other risks, but with the right precautions, you can have a safe and comfortable run.
Here’s why jogging in the rain is healthy
Jogging in the rain could help you run faster.
Did you know that your performance can suffer when temperatures are even a few degrees higher? That’s because your body temperature rises when you run. The warmer it is, the more you have to sweat to cool down. Add humidity to the mix, and cooling down becomes even more of a challenge. But rain acts like a natural air conditioner, keeping your body temperature down so you can maintain your performance.
Running in the rain helps you deal with adversity.
While it may feel ideal to run on a beautiful sunny day, the challenge of running in adverse conditions like rain will help free you from factors you can’t control. Not only will this help you successfully complete training sessions and achieve your goals in races, but it will also help you deal with adversity in the rest of your life. After all, daily life is rarely a perfect, cloudless day. Plus, most runs aren’t canceled because of rain.
Running in the rain helps relieve stress.
Water has a cleansing effect, and the sound of rain is relaxing… as long as you’re not running in a near-freezing downpour. If you can let go of your rainy day anxiety, you may finish a wet summer run in a more mindful state than when you started.
Running in the rain can boost your confidence.
Have you ever noticed how the whole world becomes deserted during a rainstorm (unless you live in the Pacific Northwest)? Instead of caving in to the weather, get up and go. We guarantee you’ll feel much braver as you struggle through a few miles.
Running in the rain could help you burn more fat.
If the rain is cool enough that your body has to work to stay warm, after a period of adjustment you will increase your metabolic rate and therefore burn more fat during your running workout .
Jogging despite the rain: Here are the best tips
Watch out for lightning, high winds or flood warnings.
It may seem obvious, but it’s definitely worth emphasizing: Avoid running in any type of severe weather. If you run in these conditions, your safety is at risk. It’s not worth getting struck by lightning.
A little rain won’t hurt you, but ultimately running in more extreme conditions puts you at unnecessary risk. Training in the rain is only worthwhile if you don’t cross the line between risk and benefit.
So always use common sense and your best judgment. Do you really need to run the already muddy course in the rain? Probably not.
Have a backup plan
Even if the weather forecast doesn’t announce anything unpredictable, you should stay close to home (or the gym) and choose a route where you can get to safety in case of a storm. You can start your run outside and stow dry clothes and shoes in your car. If the weather turns stormy, you can change and finish your run inside the gym.
Consider the temperature
Overdressing is one of the biggest mistakes runners make when it comes to jogging in the rain. Dress for the temperature as if it were a dry day. Wearing more layers will not keep you dry. No running clothes will keep you completely dry in the rain, so you should expect to get wet. Wearing many layers will only make you wear more wet, heavy clothes.
When it’s hot and humid outside, you shouldn’t worry too much about your jogging outfit. You should just make sure to choose water-resistant clothing and wear multiple layers.
Keep your core warm
When choosing clothing, make sure to keep your core warm. Protecting your core is critical to maintaining your body temperature. (As explained earlier, lowering your core body temperature can make you more susceptible to viruses.) In cool but not freezing temperatures, a waterproof vest or lightweight waterproof jacket may be sufficient. The colder it gets, the more layers your torso needs.
The most important layer is the one closest to your body. Make sure it’s a technical fabric like polypropylene or CoolMax that wicks water and sweat away from your skin.
Your outer layer should be a wind- and water-resistant jacket or vest. Don’t wear a waterproof rain jacket because it traps moisture and heat.
Don’t wear cotton. Cotton T-shirts and socks act like sponges in the rain, soaking up water and sticking to your skin. Cotton doesn’t dry as quickly as synthetic fibers, even in sunny weather, and wet cotton can cause chafing.
Wear a hood or cap.
Luckily, many water-resistant running tops and jackets also have hoods that you can pull quite tightly. If that’s not enough, a cap will keep the water out of your eyes so you can still see and watch your feet in a downpour.
Pay attention to the temperature and other conditions when choosing your headgear. If it’s warm and rainy, wear a breathable cap with adequate ventilation so you don’t overheat.
If it’s cold, rainy and windy, choose a thicker cap and wear a fleece headband over it to protect your ears. A headband can also keep your hat from blowing off in a gust of wind.
Choose the right shoes
Both brand new and heavily worn shoes can finish you off on a run in the rain. While older, worn shoes may not have enough grip to keep you safe on slippery, wet surfaces, brand new shoes can also be a little slippery on your first few runs. Running shoes are often made of a breathable material to allow for good air circulation – but these aren’t ideal for sloshing through puddles. Instead, consider a pair of trail running shoes, which usually feature a water-resistant upper.
Prepare for potential friction
Friction – every runner’s worst nightmare – is almost inevitable in wet conditions. That’s why it’s a good idea to use a skin protectant like Body Glide or Vaseline on sensitive areas, such as the inner thighs, armpits and nipples. If you’re worried about blisters, you can also use it between your toes and on your heels.
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 some time changing them, but a dry pair of socks will feel much more comfortable and hopefully prevent blisters. This is especially helpful if it is raining and your socks get wet at the beginning of the run, but then the rain stops during the run.
Reflectors are a must
When you go jogging in heavy rain, it’s important to be visible to avoid accidents. Reflective clothing – like a jacket or vest – will help other people (especially motorists) see you. It’s a good idea during the day, but an absolute must at night.
Protect your electronics
Keep electronics, such as your smartphone and iPod, in a ziplock bag or waterproof case. Or just leave them at home. Most running watches and smartwatches are waterproof, but not all are. So if you wear a watch while running in the rain, check its specs to make sure it continues to work well.
Many also wonder if you can jog in the rain with Airpods. Apple’s wireless headphones aren’t officially waterproof, but can easily withstand sweat and raindrops in a drizzle, according to user reports. However, you must not drop them into a puddle. So in heavy showers, you should either take the delicate earbuds out of your ear or wear them under your hood. The charging case is also not waterproof.
Watch where you step
You should always be alert, but when walking in the rain, you need to be extra careful because the road or path is slippery. The most important thing is to take small steps and really watch your feet, similar to running on trails where there are lots of roots, rocks, or branches that you could trip over. With a little extra caution and a moderate pace, you’ll be fine.
Try to avoid stepping in puddles as much as possible. Your running shoes and feet may get wet from the rain, but they will get completely soaked if you step in a large puddle.
Shorten your stride
For added stability in the rain, running experts recommend shortening your stride length. Ideally, you should keep your shoulders over your feet. This will help you keep your balance, especially if you hit a slippery patch. A long stride makes you more unstable and makes you slip easily.
The hardest part about jogging in the rain is often getting started. Once you warm up and start running, you’ll 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 real badass. As the rain pelts your face, you build your mental strength and realize that you can overcome any challenge that comes your way.