10 Reasons Why Running in the Rain is Awesome

Full disclosure: I don't run much because it usually doesn't end well when I do. I started training for a marathon a few years ago,  but developed such severe ITBS that I had to quit. I signed up for what could have been an awesome 5k race this spring, but due to unforeseen circumstances, I didn't end up doing it. I generally only go for a run when I don't have another exercise option and it's in the woods, when it's part of my daily CrossFit workouts, or when I'm chased.

Despite the severe rainstorm in the forecast, I showed up at CrossFit Love one night last month knowing our workout of the day was a 10k run. My three teammates and I took off under angry skies, in high winds, and with no idea whether we'd need to turn back due to lightening strikes or not. About two miles miles in, the skies opened up. It rained hard enough that I had to wipe water out of my eyes. We kept going, agreeing to turn back if we saw lightening or heard thunder. The rain slowed just after we'd reached the halfway point, and less than an hour after starting, we were all back at the gym completely soaked, but feeling accomplished.

It occurred to me that the few times I've run in the rain, it's been significantly more fun than the same route would be if the skies were clear, and here's why.

1. Rain cools you off. During my rain run, it was still summer and we had two days above 90ºF that week here in Philadelphia. There's not much better than running through a downpour when you're seconds away from completely overheating. Of course, this only applies if the temperature's warm enough to make the rain feel refreshing and not chill you to the bone. Details. 

2. It's different from not running in the rain. Variety is the spice of life, right? How boring would running be if we always did it on perfect, beautiful, sunny days? It's nice to change things up once in a while.

3. Rain is a distraction. If you run twice a month like me, and without music, it's nice to have something other than how hard running is to think about while you're out. When the skies opened up during our 10k, I found myself shaking my head and smiling.

4. Jumping in puddles is fun. If I'm in a situation where being wet isn't ideal, e.g. walking to work, the last thing I want to do is jump in a puddle. Puddles are inconvenient, as is being wet and dirty. But when you're out for a run in the rain, who cares if you're wet and dirty? Jump in all of the puddles. If you're a pro, you can send a solid wave of water toward your running buddies, too.

5. Running in the rain is equivalent to taking a shower. So when you get home from your run, you've saved both time and water by rinsing off in a downpour. (Okay, maybe it's not exactly the same, but it's close enough for us outdoors-folk, right?)

6. Other people think running in the rain is awesome too. Misery might love company, but based on the number of folks on twitter who agreed running in the rain is more fun than not, and the number of people I saw sprinting through the downpour during our 10k, I'm not the only weirdo who thinks it's fun.

7. Or, other people think running in the rain is hardcore. And we all want to be hardcore, right?

8. It makes you feel like a kid again. See #4. 

9. A cup of hot tea or cocoa tastes better than it ever would otherwise. And I love me a good cup of hot cocoa. If you've ever backpacked in the rain, you know how amazing it feels to drink something warm and sweet when you finally get your tent up and get dinner going at the end of the day. Even though it was warm during our run, I still had mug of hot cocoa at home and couldn't wipe the smile off my face.

10. Running in the rain is great mental training. In outdoor pursuits like backpacking, hiking and mountaineering, you're always at the mercy of the weather. In most cases, the right equipment and preparation makes it possible to deal with different weather situations, but that doesn't mean it's going to be enjoyable. Pushing yourself out the door and on a run when it's raining is a great way to mentally prepare for similar situations on the trail, like this one. Embrace it.

Of course, if you're planning to run in the rain, make sure there's no lightening or thunder. If you're on or near roads, make sure you're as visible as possible by wearing bight clothing. Leave your electronics at home, or carry them in a plastic bag. Use Body Glide and the like to prevent chafing. Don't wear cotton as your next-to-skin layer, especially if it's chilly out, and if it's really chilly, don't risk hypothermia. Postpone the run to another day. Also, don't layer up too much; extra layers won't keep you dry and wet clothes are heavy. Dress how you normally would.

Runners, any other tips for running in the rain? Do you enjoy it or hate it?


Heather Balogh said…
I feel like I barely get to do it since it hardly ever rains out here (Until recently, that is). But, it's always nice when I do get the chance!
Rob James said…
Totally agree, love running in the rain - So how combines, being hardcore, and being a kid - Total Win!
Katie said…
Awesome way to look at it, Rob :)
Ellen said…
Thanks for the inspiration to get out there and run in the rain! I live in a very rainy place on the northwest coast of Canada, so I was looking for some tips on staying dry while out there running. But enjoying getting wet might work for me too! Cocoa? Yes!
Katie L said…
Glad you found inspiration in the post, Ellen! Just make sure you stay warm, I can imagine it gets chilly up where you are!