Learning to Love Running in the Rain

I didn’t used to be a big fan of running in the rain unless it was summer time. Warm rain doesn’t bother me nearly as much as cold rain. In fact, I’ve always enjoyed the feeling of running in the rain on a hot summer day, feeling the rain drops wash away the sweat, jumping through puddles like a kid, and finding that rainbow when the rain stops. While I’m still not a huge fan of running in the rain during the spring or fall, I’ve found myself more likely to do so as I’ve gotten older.

Inevitably, it rains quite a bit where I live in the spring. I used to run on the treadmill if it was raining, particularly if it was raining hard. This spring, I’ve run in the rain so much I’ve strung a line in my backyard so I can hang my soaked running clothes to dry afterwards (assuming it’s stopped raining). They just don’t seem to dry out that quickly if I hang them over the bathroom shower, so outside they go now.

April showers bring May flowers!

Recently, my daughter and I were running together and we were supposed to go for 7 miles. It was sprinkling but wasn’t coming down that hard when we were leaving the house. I put on a hat, my Aftershokz headphones, put my phone in my armband, and off we went. After about 3 miles, it started to downpour. Hard. So hard I was seriously concerned about my phone getting ruined and my headphones as well. I put the headphones under my hat, on top of my head, to give them a little more protection, but there was nothing I could do about my phone except hope it would stay dry in the zippered compartment it was in on my armband.

We were doing some speed work that day, which was comprised of five one-mile repeats after a warm-up and before a cool-down. There were deep puddles all over the sidewalk, road, and grass; literally everywhere we were stepping, there was no avoiding these puddles so we didn’t even try after a while. Our feet were long-ago soaked anyway so what did it matter at that point.

I had one of the best speed work sessions I’ve had in a long time on that day. Never would I have thought that pouring rain would be so conducive to a speedy run. It’s not like I was only out for a mile and sprinted home. This was also the type of rain where I had to look a few times to make sure my shorts hadn’t gotten pushed down (or up) from the sheer force of the rain since it was raining that hard.

My daughter has always enjoyed the rain, whether it’s been to walk in the rain with an umbrella, jump in puddles when she was younger, or to watch the dark storm clouds roll in. Since she’s become a regular runner, I’ve never once seen her shy away from a run in the rain, unless it’s a thunderstorm. So she certainly wasn’t going to say no to our recent run together in the rain. Running in the rain is probably one of her favorite running conditions. I was thinking about all of that when we were out running because I saw her mood change from cranky and irritable at the beginning to calm and happy after a couple of miles.

Soaking wet after a run in the rain!

While I was running I was also thinking about how just going out and embracing the weather conditions helps with races. I don’t remember that many races where it was raining but there were a couple. One of the worst for me, the Run the Reagan Half Marathon just outside Atlanta, Georgia was absolutely miserable because it was a cold rain on top of the boring course. In fact, the only other race I can think of where it rained during the race was theΒ Newport Half Marathon in Rhode Island but I actually liked that race, unlike the one in Georgia. The scenic course, filled with mansions, water views, and historic sites in Newport made all the difference. Plus I wasn’t freezing cold during the race in Rhode Island like I was in Georgia.

Back to my point about just sucking it up and running in poor weather conditions. If you never run in the rain and it rains on race day, you’ll be far less capable mentally of dealing with that than if you would have run in the rain while training for the race. Likewise with snow, heat, humidity, and windy days. If you don’t ever plan on running a race during the winter months, running in the snow shouldn’t be a concern, or if you don’t ever race during summer months, you don’t need to be concerned about running in hot, humid conditions. But if you have races planned for upcoming years during the summer or winter months, it’s best to mentally prepare yourself by running in those conditions beforehand.

You might find you enjoy running in conditions you thought you hated. Or you might find it’s not as bad as you thought it would be. The latter is the case for me when it comes to running in the rain and I’m even finding myself starting to enjoy it although I wouldn’t say I’m quite there yet.

What about you? Do you enjoy running in the rain or do you hate it? Have your feelings changed over the years when it comes to running in the rain?

Happy running!



Author: runningtotravel

I'm a long distance runner with a goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states in the US. I also love to travel so I travel to other places when I'm not running races. Half the fun is planning where I'm going to go next!

17 thoughts on “Learning to Love Running in the Rain”

  1. I don’t usually run in the rain, but one time we got caught in a rainstorm while cycling a circular road in the Colorado mountains. I’ve never been so cold in my life. We just had to push through to get back to the campsite. Fortunately, our campground had great, free showers. I took the longest, hottest shower of my life. In fact, the only reason I got out was because I figured the husband would be starting to worry about where I was. I’m guessing that’s one of the great things after a rain-run, too . . . a long, hot shower.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Warm summer rain isn’t bad. About five years ago it poured before the BAA 10K and then stopped just before the race started. But we were all totally soaked by then. But it was 80-something degrees.
    Then there is the famous Boston Marathon on 2018? I can never remember the exact year. I think I’m trying to repress that memory.
    That was the most miserable race I’ve ever run. And I flamed out on the Eastern States 20 Miler before.
    The rain was so bad during the Boston Marathon, that my clothes didn’t stink when I went to wash them the next day. I tossed them in any way but that’s just an indication of how bad that rain was.
    And it was windy and cold.
    We often hear that we use too much detergent? During one race in the rain my quads had soap suds on them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the infamous cold, rainy, miserable Boston Marathon that Desi Lindon won. That race won’t be forgotten anytime soon. I’ve never seen soap suds on my skin from my running clothes during a rain storm. That’s crazy!


  3. I’ve run many times in the rain, including a 50-miler where it rained the entire ten hours. Enjoyed it, actually. But I’m an ultrarunner, so don’t expect anything rational from me. πŸ™‚

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  4. I’m definitely not a rain runner. I find I can mentally tough it out better if the rain starts after I’m already running. If I have to start a race out in the rain I’m not a happy camper mostly because I hate the feeling of heavy shoes squishing. If it weren’t for the heavy shoes I could probably tolerate rainy runs better.

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    1. It seems like rain and water from puddles drains out of my running shoes pretty fast so my shoes don’t feel heavy. I think it would be different if I ran in waterproof shoes but my running shoes are so lightweight, they don’t hold that much water. I agree completely about it being easier if it starts raining when you’re already out. Then it’s like, well, I’m already out, I might as well keep going!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Not a fan of cold rain. Although I ran a half in a literal Nor’easter a couple of years ago. Most of my halfs have been more about heat & humidity, which is kind of odd, with so many in the Northeast.

    I’ve run in enough bad weather conditions to know I can do it on race day, but if I can run on a day without cold rain, I’ll do it. I don’t mind warm rain — it’s actually nice — but it seems like when I want it to rain, it doesn’t!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like getting wet in the rain, maybe because it’s not cold here in Singapore. Yesterday, my family went jogging in a slight drizzle. It was fun and cooling but I realised that I was getting worried about slipping. πŸ™‚ — amor

    Liked by 1 person

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