Puddle Jumping: How to Run in The Rain - NBC Chicago
Tips, Tricks and Gear Recommendations for Chicago Runners

Puddle Jumping: How to Run in The Rain



    I’ve been puddle jumping for the past few days, and it’s not pretty.

    With the melted snow and spring’s coming rain, it seems like this trend of fjording the sewer river isn’t going to let up any time soon.

    I put together a list of tips and tricks for running through puddles and in the rain:

    • First and foremost, accept the fact that you are going to get wet. And once you’re wet, it can’t really get much more uncomfortable, so have fun and don’t focus on it. Remember that it’s mind over matter, and reframe your thinking to actually enjoy it.
    • When planning your route for a long run, you might want to consider a loop that takes you back to your house or car to swap out your soaked shirt or waterlogged sneakers. Soggy shoes become very heavy very quickly.
    • In temperatures under 50 degrees, rain will only make you colder. Gloves, a hat, and a windbreaker are all good ideas, but don’t overdress—you’ll overheat and sweat more. Stick to layers of lightweight wicking material, not cotton!
    • Wearing a bright colored shirt or even reflective gear will increase your visibility, which is particularly important rain obscures drivers’ vision. You might even want to check out LED lights at a specialty store for added visibility.
    • A hat or visor can help block wind and rain from your face, but pick technical material with a brim, rather than a cotton hat. Those will get soggy and heavy.
    • Wrap your phone in plastic wrap or a baggie to keep it from getting waterlogged, and you can still use the touch screen through plastic.
    • Your socks have never been more important. While I’m a fan of generic bulk socks, those cotton bad boys will not hold up in water and you’ll end up with blisters. Go for the technical, wicking socks to keep your feet dry.
    • Your risk of chafing can increase when running in the rain, so apply sports lube (Body Glide, Vaseline) in vulnerable places — even if you tend to not chafe.
    • Hey nipple chafers! Wet shirts of any kind become abrasive, so in the rain, use Breathe Right strips instead of the conventional bandaids. Bandages fall off when they're wet, but Breathe Right will stick to you.
    • A&D ointment is good to use on your feet, because it's thicker than Vaseline and lasts longer. Put a little on your toes and wherever you might be prone to blisters. It may stain your socks though!
    • Do your warm-up inside to get your body temperature up before leaving, and to prevent you from second thoughts once you hit the elements outside your door.
    • Pay attention to where you're going. Puddles may hide a pothole, and some surfaces (like painted road markings) may be more slick than others when wet. Slow your pace a bit to accommodate for missteps.
    • After your run, take the insoles out of your shoes and stuff them with newspaper to draw out the moisture and keep their shape. Don’t put them in the dryer or on a heater because that will ruin the glue and rubber holding your shoe together.
    • Stay hydrated! Running in the cold or the rain doesn’t make you quite as thirsty as a hot summer day, but extra layers do amp up your sweat, so drink up even if you aren’t parched.

    Keeping up with your training plan is important in the rain because you never know if it will rain on race day, and you have to be prepared! And once you’re done, give yourself a pat on the back for doing what so many others give up on. More room on the trail for you!