Anyone who runs regularly in the Pacific Northwest knows that unless you plan on taking a running hiatus nine months out of the year, rain is simply part of the equation. You might as well make the most of the situation and learn how to be totally prepared to run in wet weather conditions. Here are some tips that will help you tackle downpours and drizzles like a pro.
Check the hourly forecast
On most drizzly days, there is a small window of opportunity to squeeze in a semi-dry run. If your schedule is flexible, check your local weather forecast the day before you’re supposed to run (or the morning of) and try to plan accordingly. Clearly there are no guarantees. If there’s a slight chance you could have a dry run at 5 p.m., rather than a pouring one at 6 a.m., it might be worth mapping out your day differently.
Wear seamless tops and bottoms
The more seams in your running outfit, the more opportunities there are for water to seep through. Ultimately, the less seams, the better. The same goes for fabric. More surface area means more chances for you to become weighted down and waterlogged. Your best bet is to wear super-light, sweat-wicking tops and bottoms when it’s wet outside.
Invest in a water-resistant jacket
In order for a jacket to be 100 percent waterproof, it has to be seam-sealed, which means that it will not be very breathable. However, most water-resistant jackets will not start leaking until after 30 to 45 minutes in the rain. Unless you’re planning on doing a longer run, or it’s really pouring out, you’re probably better off wearing a lightweight, breathable outer layer with a DWR (Durable Water Repellency) finish rather than something that’s fully waterproof.
Put a lid on it
Not only will a sweat-wicking hat help keep your head dry in a drizzle, it will also keep water out of your eyes and face while you run.
Just Say No to Cotton
Cotton is a hydrophilic fiber, meaning that any socks, shirts or shorts you wear that are made of the stuff will actually absorb water. To avoid weighing yourself down, choose clothing made of synthetic, hydrophobic fibers (like polyester).
With rain often comes darkness, and it becomes difficult for drivers to spot you on the road. Make yourself more visible by wearing brightly colored clothes, a headlamp or reflective gear.
Dry off properly
Post-run, fill your wet shoes with newspaper, which will help soak up the water, and let them dry overnight. As for your clothes, do not stick your water-resistant clothing in the dryer! Follow specific care instructions on the labels, but most DWR finishes will get stripped or deactivated in the dryer.