5 Tips for Running in the Rain

It's already Wednesday? I find that hard to believe, but my phone and computer both seem to think it's right, so I'll go with it. It rained hard my entire way into work today, which can only mean one thing: The Portland Rainy Season has officially begun. 

I would put money on Saturday and Monday's forecast changing sometime in the near future. Either way, if you are a runner living in the Pacific Northwest, there is a good chance you are going to have some rainy runs in your near future. 

Running in the rain can actually be kind of fun (puddles!) and it helps keep you cool. There can also be some safety issues involved. Here are my tips for having a safe, fun run in the rain. 

1. Reflective Gear

Yes, even if it is noon. Rain messes with visibility. A lot. It makes it a lot harder for drivers and bikers to see you. Make sure you are wearing reflective gear and maybe even some sort of light. Double check before you cross a street and stay extra alert. Most of the running companies make several brightly colored reflective vests and jackets, many of which are at least water resistant (good enough most of the time). 

2. No Cotton

While I normally prefer running in synthetics anyway, it is never a good idea to choose your cotton workout clothes in the rain. They will soak up all the water and become heavy and gross very quickly. If it stops raining while you're out, they won't even come close to starting to dry. If you are wearing cotton, at least make sure the layer closest to your body is made of a tech fabric intended to keep you nice and dry. 

3. Wear a Hat

I'm not a big hat person, but I've found that it is much easier to keep running in the rain when I wear one. The water will run off the bill, instead of into your eyes. It's hard to figure out where you're going, let alone focus on running, when you can't see. It'll also shade your eyes if you happen to be out in a lovely sunshower. 

4. Don't Overdress

I have a huge problem with this one. I assume that if it is rainy, it is colder. Check out the weather forecast above. While it is going to be rainy, it won't actually be that cold. Dress appropriately for the weather. When you are adding a rain jacket, make sure it is appropriate to the conditions. A light shell might be enough. In the summer, I don't both with anything water resistant. It's too nice to pass up the refreshing rain when it is 88F out. 

5. Adjust your Route

I love running by the river in Portland. Unfortunately, in wet weather, the wood path that lines a lot of it gets extremely slick. Other parts of some of my routes are known for getting muddy (only a good thing if you are trail running). If I know it is going to be wet, I try to pick a route that has fewer traps and is less likely to lead to injury. You know where those places are on your runs, so try and avoid them. 

Do you have any tips for running in the rain? Share them in the comments.