Pros and Cons of Running in the Rain

With the way rain comes as a persistent deluge in the beautiful tropical Philippines, not all runners here will come out as fans of La Nina. With streets that easily flood rendering them impassable, germ-ridden sludge puddles to trudge on, and the hard-beating winds and raindrops smacking you on the face, it doesn’t really make the idea of running in the rain sound like a good way to spend a weekend. And that is without even mentioning the added temptation of cozying up under a blanket in bed, a mug of hot cocoa in hand, and Netflix to drown out the sound of the droplets pat, pat, pattering on the tin roof (if you ask me, I’d go for the comfier option).

Although on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are also among us, individuals who absolutely revel in the downpour. These are our cold-blooded (figuratively speaking) brethren who find comfort in the gloom of nimbus clouds, as they drape the city in a melancholic chill. The booming thunderclaps and the chaotic glimmer of lightning-strikes are calming for them. And if given a choice of running under the sun, or a steady downpour of rain, they would go for the latter.

But we’re not here with the goal of pitting the rain lovers and rain resenters against each other. No. We are here to share with you both pros and cons of running in the rain, so that for those who are considering trying it out—and especially since it’s been raining non-stop in the Metro for days, now—you are fully aware of both risks and payoffs of doing so. Alright! So, first things, first:

CONS:

1. You’re more likely to chafe.

Ah, yes… The dread of all runners. Running in the rain makes it more likely for you to chafe because your clothes get soaked. And when they get soaked, they adhere to your skin.

To manage:
• Apply petroleum jelly or baby oil in areas that are prone to chaffing.
• Wear flat-seamed or seamless, form-fitting apparel.

2. You’ll wear out your shoes faster.

Splurged on a new pair of running shoes last payday? You might want to keep them tucked away in your cabinet first, instead of using them in the current weather conditions, else throw all that hard-earned money away.

Your shoes suffer enough wear-and-tear from dry, daily, and long runs. When your shoes get wet, adhesives in that keep your outsoles connected to your uppers might tend to dissolve.

To manage:
• Use an older pair of shoes if you really want, and it’s unavoidable for you to train in the rain.
• To prolong the lifespan of your running shoes, allow them to air dry and not put them in the dryer (the heat from the dryer will melt the adhesives even faster).

3. There’s a risk of catching a cold.

No, rain doesn’t technically make you sick. But keeping your cold, wet clothes on, way beyond the time you’ve already finished running isn’t a good idea either, because it makes you more susceptible to catching a virus.

To manage:
• Change out of wet clothes as quick as possible and shower.

4. You’re more likely to get dehydrated.

Ironic, I know. But the thing is, you’re more likely to get dehydrated during a rainy run, because we already have this preconception of rain making it cooler, therefore you lose less sweat, hence you tend to leave your trusty water bottle behind at home and neglect drinking water.

In reality, the humidity makes you perspire less, leading to poor body temperature regulation. And take note: your body doesn’t just lose water through urination and/or sweating (sensible water loss). You also lose water through other means of output in the body and hence called “insensible” water loss (water loss through rapid respiration, or through evaporation from the skin).

To manage:
• Always bring your hydration bottle with you and don’t forget to hydrate

5. Roads are more accident-prone.

Aside from lack of visibility for motorists, roads also become more accident-prone for runners due. You could either slip and sprain an ankle or fall into a deep excavation concealed by a puddle.

To manage:
• Wear bright, reflective clothing so that motorists can see you from far off, especially if it’s dark.
• Run against the flow of traffic so you can very well see the cars coming and duly avoid them.
• Avoid running into questionable puddles—you’re never sure how deep they can be.
• Take more care into monitoring your form and footfalls.

Given that, I hope you all take note of the precautions so that you can still run in the rain to your heart’s content. Keep in mind that a happy run is an injury-free and safe one! Now, on to the brighter side of things.

PROS:

1. It’s less exhausting.

Not like running in a 33-degree summer heat, a little rain (and by that, we refer to a drizzle) is actually quite refreshing!

2. You don’t feel too hot and sticky with sweat.

Some people like the feel of sweat dripping down their foreheads when they workout, and some people don’t. Simple. And if you’re the latter, then you’d definitely enjoy the feel of the rain immediately washing away the sweat from your body as you run.

3. You get to have your running route (almost) all to yourself.

If you’re the solitary runner type, then you’ll be glad to know that you get to enjoy nearly deserted running routes, because again; not all runners particularly enjoy running in the rain, and would all be holed up either at home, sitting out the rain, or in gyms burning rubber on a treadmill.

4. You get to feel like a kid, again!

Okay, that sounds immature, and not totally beneficial to you. But admit it: when you were a kid, you lived for rainy days because you had the best fun running around in the rain and jumping into puddles with your friends. Running in the rain now that you’re older, I understand, is done more on a serious note.

You train, mind your form, note your performance and work bit by bit towards your goals. But sometimes, I hope you take these small opportunities to just let the act of running in the rain throw you back to the days when you just ran in the rain for the sole purpose of having fun. You’d be surprised how much it feels good.

5. It teaches you a lot about mental toughness.

Running on its own is already an arduous task that tests the strength of your will. And if you’re running against the elements—in this case, rain—it is even more so. Hence, being able to do it consistently (as needed, of course) gives you that sense of satisfaction you get when you overcome something you first thought you couldn’t do.

When you train both body and mind, it is always important to challenge yourself to go further than you used to, or try out different fields of training, because at the end of that run—be it sunshine or gloomy skies greeting you-you feel elated with an accomplishment of another hurdle surpassed. Walking back and packing it up for the day, knowing that you’re not just a runner for the good days, but for the not-so-good days, as well.

Which kind of weather do you prefer running in? Let us know in the comments!

2 COMMENTS

  1. I love running in the rain, you are right on all points above. What I would probably add based from recent experience, is that, if possible and as the circumstances allow it (i.e. safe place to do it, as say in a track oval or at areas that one is quite familiar with), to do some barefoot running or at most with some sandals on, preferably those previously popular running (minimalist) sandals. I recently did this on a short run one rainy morning (from the resort we were staying – located further inland – away from the beach – to the beach – about 6 km going to and back) – and with some portions of the road, I wore a pair of old sandals (plain Sandugo sandals), but about a kilometer from the beach, it was dirt road, stony and muddy, and I simply removed the sandals and ran barefoot up to the beach – too bad the waves were so high that time – habagat was in full swing – it was more of a surfers kind of beach – and after a short breather went back to the resort, initially on barefoot – and once reaching paved road, wore the sandals again – and then upon coming back to the resort where we were staying, swam in the pool to cool down (just to get my swim fix for the day) – what a morning – was glad I did it (by the way, I just wore a pair of jammers, a swim cap, and goggles, and the sandals – that morning – some locals who saw me – had smiles on, perhaps thinking who is this crazy dude running bare torso on a rainy morning – as I greeted them “good morning”, including those folks gathering bangus fry/fingerlings along the shore – as I got curious enough to approach them and ask what they were doing).

  2. When I run, I do get chaffed skin especially under the arms and on my nipples! My solution? Scotch tape! Thank you for sharing this! I was smiling from ear to ear when I came to the Pros part especially about “feeling like a kid again”! Yey! I’m a 50-year-old kid!

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