Struggling to lace up your running shoes and get those miles in during some less-than-ideal conditions? Is the forecast calling for some rain during your scheduled long run this weekend? Sometimes things really can look worse through your window. If you are dressed appropriately, staying safe and maintain a positive mindset, running in the rain doesn't have to be all that bad. And actually, it can kind of be refreshing. You may even feel a real sense of accomplishment. I find running in light rain to often be a "cleansing" experience and often finish with a smile on my face.

Here are some of my top tips staying off that treadmill or skipping that run all together, and instead embracing the raindrops.

What to wear:

  • Wear a hat with a brim to keep the rain and wind out of your eyes. If you don't normally wear a hat when you workout, make sure that the hat isn't too tight and is soft and adjustable.
  • Stay away from cotton. Old race t-shirts and cotton shorts will just hold water, weigh you down and cause chaffing. You will also stay colder longer. Instead, opt for fabrics that wick sweat away from the body, dry faster and keep you drier and more comfortable.
  • Wear an outer layer that is water resistant. Waterproof options may trap in the heat and make you uncomfortable in other ways.
  • If you aren't running an incredible amount of miles, consider wearing an old pair of running shoes that still have some life in them (and aren't going to cause injury). I often keep two pairs of older shoes: one for running in rain and the other for logging miles in the snow. This way your newer pair of shoes will stay in good shape for your other long runs and treadmill sessions.
  • Wear an anti-chaffing balm in those areas that you often rub. The wetter you get, the more likely you are to chaffe. Try something like BodyGlide or Vaseline on your underarms, bra line or feet.
  • If you are wearing makeup or coming from another activity, make sure that you're wearing waterproof mascara. You can thank me later!
  • If you are running with your phone or an electronic device, make sure that it's being stored safely in a waterproof case or location.

Planning your rainy run:

  • If you are running from a remote location, make sure that you have a towel handy for after your run to dry off and sit on during your drive home. Also keep a change of dry, warm clothes in your car - including socks and a sports bra.
  • Run on paved trails, sidewalks or roads and avoid muddy trails and grassy areas.
  • Try running your first mile out-and-back or a quick loop from your starting point. See how much your body warms up, how wet you get and your comfort level with the conditions. This way, you can remove items or grab more of something from your starting location.
  • Be especially cautious if you are running on the road and careful when crossing at intersections. Remember that you may not be as visible to drivers on the road. Give yourself plenty of time to cross the street and for vehicles to slow to a stop at controlled intersections. Roads may also be slippery for yourself on foot as well as the drivers.
  • Choose your mindset. And keep adjusting. Just like treadmill running, running in the rain has its ups and downs. Choose to adjust your mindset and remember how accomplished you are going to feel when you are done with your rainy run. Use this as an opportunity to find your mental toughness and push yourself in a new way. Many of us get down with rainy, dreary days -- running will almost certainly turn your attitude around and brighten your day!

Tips for Running in the Rain (PDF)