When the clouds start to roll in, could you opt to stay home and not run outside that day? Of course. And sometimes that’s the best option. (You can file that under: Things I’ve Learned the Hard Way). If the conditions are thunder and lightning, heavy winds, or anything that falls under a weather advisory, there’s not enough gear to make that safe for you. It’s better to miss one run than putting yourself in an unsafe situation—things get slippery, and visibility really falters—and risk having to miss many future runs.
As for regular old rain, though, if you have the right gear, you don’t need to let the weather dictate your plans. (Just make sure you get out of your wet clothes as soon as you get home to guard against getting the chills!) I’ve run in tropical rain, cold rain, sorta rain, and oops-I-didn’t-know-it-was-going-to-rain rain. Here are some of the running rain gear pieces I swear by (plus some other similar products!) to help me get out and clear my head even when the weather is anything but.
I start with solid basics that work for most weather.
My closest-to-the-skin layers for when it rains aren’t actually different from my normal-running base gear. That’s because, well, for one, I sweat a lot so being drenched in my own sweat is not that different from being drenched in rain. I know, gross, but also just incredibly real!
I need all the wicking, whether it’s hot and humid or dreary and dewy. I also have a pretty low tolerance for cold (that’s the Cali girl showing out), so I also tend to have long sleeves and light jackets as part of my everyday wear, running or not. I start with super solid, quality basics as my first layer—and sometimes my second!—no matter what the weather, and then I build on those basics for rainy days. The advantage of this is that using what I already have keeps me from having to buy entirely different gear for every possible weather combination.
1. Nike Dri-FIT ADV Aura Tank
2. Lululemon Swiftly Tech Racerback Tank
3. Athleta Momentum Tank
4. Nike Epic Lux Legging
5. Athleta Ultra Light Run Cap 3.0
6. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38
7. Tavi Parker Thin Sport Socks Socks
Then I keep some key pieces at the ready for light rain, or when I’m not sure if it’s going to rain.
Watching the weather super closely is your first line of defense for any kind of rainy conditions. I keep my eye on my iPhone’s weather app leading up to my run, and will generally try to time it for the least rainy moments of the day if at all possible. That means that sometimes the weather on my run might be on the verge of raining, sprinkling a bit, or raining lightly. It might also be a mix of all of those. Plus, I often run in San Francisco where the fog can be so dense that it feels almost like light rain. So in these conditions, I look for some slightly more specialized gear from my norm.
8. Nike Dri-FIT ADV Running Hoodie
9. Brooks Run Visible Carbonite Long Sleeve T-Shirt
10. Athleta Momentum Half-Zip
11. Brooks Carbonite Jacket
I swear by these pieces for heavy or cold rain.
This is where the right gear is game-changing. For one, safety first. The skies are usually darker in these conditions and maintaining your visibility is incredibly important. I opt for reflectivity and brighter colors so cars can see me. Then, doing whatever you can to stay dry will allow you to feel more comfortable despite what’s happening around you. These rain-specific options help me make the most of my super-rainy runs.
12. Nike Dri-FIT Run Division Fast Leggings
13. Nike Gore-Tex Infinium Trail Running Jacket
14. Tavi Chase Sport Socks
15. Nike Pegasus Trail 3
So as I mentioned above, in some conditions—storming, downpouring, or any other weather advisories—shelving your run is going to be the best bet. But in less extreme rainy conditions, as long as there’s no safety threat to you, running in the rain really can be fun.
And if you’re not into running at all, in any kind of weather? Even just going for a walk in the rain can be enjoyable. Again, it’s all about preparation (you have the benefit of an umbrella if you’re walking) and mindset. There is something equally childlike and badass about being out in the rain if that’s your thing and that’s what you’re feeling for that particular situation—but also, no one will judge you if you just run to your couch and get under some blankets instead.
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