Running In The Rain: Good or Bad?

Rain can derail your outdoor plans. Plan an outdoor event and you’ll be watching the forecast like a hawk and probably planning a backup indoor venue too. But what if instead of a fancy dinner party, you’ve scheduled a long run, something on the order of an hour or two of running, to prepare for an upcoming race, but now that you’ve cleared your calendar and gotten yourself mentally ready, the rain drops start? Do you go anyway? Or do you reschedule the run and head for an impromptu date with Netflix?

I’ve changed my run plans because of rain, and I’ve also cut a long run short because it started raining. But what if you decide to run through the puddles and keep going? Can you? Should you? What are the consequences? What are the benefits?

Can you run in the rain? Yes! That idea that we probably all grew up with that if we stayed outside in the rain, we would catch a cold, is probably just something our moms said because they knew we hated being sick just as much as punishment. The cold is spread by a virus, not exposure to water. If water caused colds, we would sneeze every time we took a shower.

Should you run in the rain? This is a matter of personal preference. If it’s a light rain, without the lighting and thunder, a little rain might be ok. But if it’s storming outside and you’re running in dangerous conditions, where trees might lose branches and visibility is low so drivers can’t see well, then doing anything on the street might be a bad idea.

What do I need to do differently? What are the consequences? If the rain starts when I am running, I take off my Nike Fitness watch and put it in my pocket or fuel belt. Not because anything has happened to it in the past, but I like to protect rather than repair my electronics. In the rain, I take my glasses off and stash them in my fuel belt because when they get wet, they fog up and objects are closer than they appear. If I know in advance that it might rain, I wear different running shoes. Most of my running shoes are light, fabric material on the front so as soon as a few raindrops hit, they get soaked inside. Instead, I wear my Nike shoes with the rubber fronts that give my feet better waterproofing,

What are the benefits? Some of my best mile runs have been done in the rain. That’s because there’s no dawdling, no stopping to see the sights. If I am running in the rain, I am just running, and running as fast as I can to get out of the rain. No GPS watch, no music, just the not so gentle sounds of running shoes splashing through the puddle at my feet.

If you’re training for a race, running in the rain is almost inevitable. Do you have a running-in-the-rain story?
Eat Right, Live Right, RUNWRIGHT.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Erik Conover says:

    Love it! Some of my best runs have been in the rain!


    1. runwright says:

      Yeah! That’s what I am talking about!


  2. lbrown246 says:

    Love running in the rain! One of my favorite runs with friends was in the rain!!


    1. runwright says:

      One of my fastest runs was in the rain – I was doing a running streak and I knew I had to run but it was raining so hard. I finished the mile faster than I had in a long time. Rain-ovation.


  3. I ran 18 miles in driving rain at the end of November when I was training for the Disney Marathon in 2013. It was probably in the 40’s and it rained the whole time (started off light, but got heavier as time went on). Funny thing was, it distracted me from the pain of running 18 miles. The run itself was pretty good- even though I was sore and tired, but I felt pretty strong at the end of it. The highlight was when my friend had to go tot the bathroom around mile 16.. we sloshed through a grocery store looking like drowned rats, our shoes squeaking all the way to the back corner where the restroom was.. people looked at us like we had a disease lol. One thing I remember well was that we were soaked to the bone, but after a while, you got used to it.. until you landed in an unexpected puddle and your feet got drenched all over again. It was a memorable event that was as liberating (“well, we’re already wet.. more rain won’t hurt us now”) as it was miserable. In the end, I learned that a little rain won’t hurt you.. though I hope not to repeat it any time soon :-p


    1. runwright says:

      Great story. Running 18 miles in the rain is a HARD THING. I can imagine people looking at you both and thinking you’re crazy for running around so wet. Normal people just don’t get runners and why we do the things we do 🙂


  4. I love running in light rain! It makes me feel like my mind has been cleansed and I finish feeling fresh. It is also good preparation in case it rains during a race you sign up for. I rain my first half marathon in the rain without a problem!


    1. runwright says:

      So true. You need to train for race in multiple weather conditions.


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