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5 Reasons You Should Run in the Rain

A woman running on a road in the rain

Did you know running in the rain is good for you?

Ever fall victim to the “dreadmill” on rainy days? If so, you’re not alone. While it’s often hard to take the first step in less-than-perfect weather conditions, as long as you’re not facing a dangerous thunderstorm or tornado, running in adverse weather can be quite rewarding, even beneficial. Here are five reasons to splash through puddles on a rainy-day run:

Running in the rain could help you run faster. Did you know that when temps are even just a couple of degrees warmer your performance can suffer?

That’s because you’re body temperature rises as you run. The warmer it is, the more you have to sweat to cool off. Throw humidity into the mix, and you’re up against an even greater cool-down challenge. However, when the sky opens up, rain acts as a natural air conditioner to keep your body temperature down so you can keep your effort up.

Running in the rain will help you deal with adversity.

While it may feel ideal to run on a beautiful sunny day, challenging yourself to run in adverse conditions like rain help you let go of factors you can’t control. This will help you not only successfully complete workouts and reach your goals in races but also deal with adversity in the rest of life. After all, daily life is rarely a perfect, cloudless day. (Safety note: Refrain from running in dangerous conditions like thunderstorms or hail storms.)

Running in the rain helps to relieve stress.

Water is cleansing, 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 dread, you might just finish a wet spring run in a more mindful state than you started.

Running in the rain can boost your confidence.

Ever notice how the whole world grows deserted during a rain shower (unless you live in the Pacific Northwest)? Rather than folding from the weather, get up and go. We guarantee you’ll feel all the more gritty for splashing through some rainy solo 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, you end up increasing your metabolic rate after a period of adaptation, and therefore burning more fat during exercise.

Runners wear the Brooks Canopy Jacket in the rain

How to Dress to Run in the Rain

No running clothes are going to keep you completely dry in the rain, so you should expect to get wet. But one of the most important pieces of gear for running in a downpour is a simple hat with a bill.

Any running hat or baseball cap will work, but make sure it has a bill that extends out over your face. The bill will shield your eyes from the rain so you don’t have to constantly wipe water out of your face.

If you’re heading out in a shower, you should also think about the fabric you’re wearing. Try to avoid cotton T-shirts and socks because they act like sponges in the rain, soaking up water and sticking to your skin. Even in sunny weather, cotton doesn’t dry out as fast as synthetic fibers, and wet cotton can lead to chafing.

Another tip to run in the rain is to choose form-fitting clothes. Baggy T-shirts and shorts will cling to your skin when they get wet, which can quickly become annoying. Form-fitting tops, though, are already closer to your skin, so they don’t feel as clingy. Many runners layer a water-resistant running jacket on top of their shirt to shed the rain. If you use a jacket, look for a running-specific jacket that’s breathable, like the Brooks Canopy jacket or the Craft Repel jacket. Jackets that don’t breathe well might keep you dry from the rain, but they will bottle up sweat and leave you feeling clammy. If it’s warm enough outside, consider embracing the rain and going without a jacket at all.

A person wearing the waterproof On Cloudflyer running shoes while standing in a puddle

Your choice of running shoes is just as important as the clothes you wear. Here are our tips for wearing running shoes in the rain:

  • Don’t wear your favorite shoes. Your running shoes are going to get soaked. If you can avoid it, swap out your favorite pair for a secondary set to avoid saturating the ones you run in most days.
  • Dry wet shoes thoroughly. It’s important to dry your running shoes completely after they get wet. Letting your shoes stay wet will shorten their lifespan and cause them to stink.
  • Stuff ‘em with newspaper. A pro tip for wet shoes. Crumple up some newspaper or other light paper and stuff it into your wet shoes. The paper will absorb the excess water in your shoes, shortening the drying time and keeping them funk-free.

Some brands make your favorite shoe in a waterproof version for your rainy workouts. The shoes include a breathable, waterproof membrane that keeps water out but lets water vapor from sweat escape. Shoes like the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Shield or the On Cloudflyer Waterproof can help keep your feet dry, while some trail running shoes have a tighter mesh that repels rain and grippier outsole to give you better traction on wet surfaces.

By Ashley Arnold. Ashley is a storyteller, ultrarunner and cat person. As Fleet Feet’s content marketing manager, she manages the Fleet Feet blog and its roster of writers.

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