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Tips for training in the rain

Updated: Jul 22, 2020

Winter often means rainy weather. Last week, I couldn't motivate myself to drive an hour for a small race because the weather forecast was for wind and rain. I stayed close to home instead, doing our local parkrun, and got the wind but not the rain.

On Tuesday night, I coached a session and got the rain with a vengeance. Six runners showed up for the session, which was adjusted slightly to suit the conditions. We didn’t use the grass oval, which was soggy and dark, but improvised by using a nearby path.

It got me thinking about my top tips for training in the rain.

Embrace it – While it might not seem appealing when you are inside, the heater is on, and there is a good show on TV, getting out for a run when it’s raining can give you an extra sense of achievement, and definitely some hardcore points!

Consider safety – You can still do your run, but just need to take a few extra precautions. If the surface you are running on is wet, you might need to adjust your pace to suit the conditions. Watch out for cyclists, it can be harder to stop quickly when it’s wet. Make sure your shoes are not worn out (relevant for dry weather too) and grip well. Watch out for slippery sections like tiles, grates or leaves. Be careful when turning corners or going through puddles, it might be slippery (I can say from experience that falling in a puddle is cold, slightly embarrassing, and not fun!).

Don’t put it off – If you’re at home and have a run planned, and there is a break in the weather, go! It might be the only opportunity for the day, and it’s much easier to get wet en route than head out when it’s already raining.

Change your plans if necessary – If you can’t do the run you had planned because the ground is too wet, switch it up. Often we can’t use the grass if it has been really wet, but will do an alternative session on a nearby path or hill.

Dress appropriately – It might be tempting to layer up to avoid the cold when you are going out in rainy conditions, but you will warm up quickly when you get started. If it starts raining when you are running, your clothes will get heavy when they get wet, and might be uncomfortable. Your arms might be a little cold to begin with, but your extra top will be more beneficial as something dry to wear afterwards.

Bring a change of clothes – There is nothing worse than shivering in wet clothes after a run. If the conditions look iffy, make sure you have some spare clothes to wear afterwards. If you are starting and finishing at home, get changed quickly when you finish so you don’t get cold.

Leave a towel in your car – If you are driving to your session, having a towel handy for afterwards can be a big help to dry off a bit when you finish. It can also be good to sit on if you want to keep your seats dry.

Wear a hat or visor – If you want to keep the water out of your eyes, a hat or a visor could come in handy. This could be especially helpful if you wear glasses when you run.

If all else fails, head to the treadmill – This is a last resort for me, but if it’s been raining for a few days straight, and I really can’t face another day of it, I will make the trip to the gym for a treadmill run for the sake of staying dry!

For tips for training in winter, click here.

Image of me doing a race in the rain
Sydney Striders North Head 10km in the rain

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