How to Run a Race When It Rains: 5 Things to Remember

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Though some races are cancelled or delayed due to thunder and lightening, all runners should be prepared to handle racing in the rain.

It is inevitable that regular racers will face the additional challenge of running in the rain and being prepared with gear and practice is the only way to combat it.


Depending on where you live, rain can be a regular occurrence or a rarity. Runners in the Pacific Northwest are likely more aptly prepared for rainy conditions than a runner in Las Vegas.

If you travelling to a region for a race that is apt to rainfall, make sure you at least have the correct gear packed if you cannot get practice.

What are the best ways to prepare for racing in the rain?

1) Practice

Seems like a no-brainer to practice running in all conditions when possible, but many runners shy away from too hot, too cold, too wet, or too windy. You cannot choose the weather so it is best to practice in a multitude of conditions that might be possible for a race.

2) Wear a hat

You won’t need a hat for a little mist, but when it pours, a hat is the closest thing to running with an umbrella. Choose one made of a quick-drying material so it doesn’t feel like a weight on your head and always opt for one with a large bill.

3) Wear a waterproof jacket

Temperature has a huge impact on jacket choice. If it is warm outside, a jacket is likely completely unnecessary. In warmer weather, it will just be annoying as any protection from outside moisture will be offset by the sweat collecting on the inside.

If it is cool or cold rain, choose a running jacket that has breathe-ability and dress in layers.

4) Anti-chafing supplies

Wet clothing coupled with the friction of running is a recipe for chafe. Keep in mind that areas of clothing that normally are not wet from sweat might be when it rains. It is always better to go a little overboard with the anti-chafe cream/balm when rain is in the forecast.

5) Have a post-race plan

Getting into something dry as quickly as possible is the goal after racing in the rain. Use a waterproof drop bag and have a plan to get to your gear post-race. A microfiber towel is a great to pack along with your clothes so that you have something to dry off with.

To stay comfortable before the start, you might consider a disposable poncho or garbage bag. However, make sure that you are able to dispose of it quickly before the race.

Plastic has zero breathe-ability and is awkward to run in. Plus, you will likely instigate a few dirty looks from nearby runners as you swish-swish-swish next to them.

Carissa Liebowitz has run the Boston Marathon as well as dozens of marathons and half marathons. You can follow her running adventures on StravaInstagram and her blog.

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