No sugar coating here: running in the rain blows. It’s not normally something I would do – on rainy days, if I’m due for a run, I hit my gym’s indoor track. But last weekend my husband and I were registered to run the Hot Chocolate 15k in Philadelphia and after training for a race, no one wants to give up running it just because of a little rain.

It was pretty miserable. I did take some precautions but wish I had taken more. Our finish time was a full minute plus slower per mile than we had been doing in training runs because I was so unhappy on the course. If you’re a runner, that time speaks volumes because you know how significant that is!

Could it have turned out better if I had followed some of the following advice? Probably. I will never concede that running in the rain is ideal but you can make it better when you plan ahead:

Wear a poncho or a garbage bag. We picked up ponchos at Kmart while back for $2 a piece. I hear you can find them at the Dollar Store too. Such a worthwhile investment to just always have some ponchos in your closet for something like this. We ran with these ponchos on the whole time and while we did end up drenched, we didn’t look anywhere near as water-logged as some of our fellow runners who didn’t have one.

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Wear a hat with a brim. I don’t know how I would have dealt without the brim of the hat keeping the pelting rain away from my face. The only way I could have improved this tip would have been to find a dri-fit hat or a cap made with some sort of wicking material. Do they even have that? Mine soaked ALL the rain in. Still, it was invaluable in that it protected my face and eyes.

Protect your phone. If you run with your phone or some other electronic, be sure to find a way to keep it covered. I run with my iPhone in an armband that is always open to the face of the iPhone. I wore my arm band undertwo layers of protection for this race (rain jacket and the poncho) and it still had some water on it when I got to the finish! In fact, Runkeeper & my music stopped around mile 6 and I was panicked that it had gotten wet and that it had fried… thankfully it was just the app that had crashed because the phone rang as I crossed the finish line so I knew it was okay. But I wish I had put a Ziplock around it too just to be extra safe.

Layer appropriately. This is where I went wrong. On the top alone, I had a sports bra, cotton tank top, cotton long sleeve shirt, rain jacket and poncho. Despite all my efforts to stay dry, it just wasn’t happening. When I stripped down later, I noted that the cotton long sleeve shirt and cotton tank were so incredibly drenched that they must have weighed a ton a piece. Adding heavy wet clothes to your body is enough to slow anybody down. Dri-fit is your friend and wearing the lightest possible clothing (without being cold) is ideal.

Wear clothing made out of wicking material. Expanding on the above, your best bet is clothing that is made to deal with the moisture and to wick it away. Random cotton clothes only soak all the rain in and weigh you down. Your local sports store has tons of wicking material clothes made for running, go check it out.

Prevent chafing with Body Glide or a similar product. My husband suffered with this one. He had the very slight beginning of a blister on one foot from an earlier training run. The blister went to town during this race. The water sloshing around in his shoe and the rubbing against his sock and the sneaker… ugh. Water and wetness makes chafing much worse so you can help prevent or combat it with Body Glide or a similar product.

Pack dry clothes for your trip home. I will forever be grateful for having read this tip before our run. Taking the layers off so you can be somewhat dry on the way home will be the best feeling you will have experienced all day.

Pack extra socks or flip flops. An experienced runner taught me the flip flop trick. Peeling off wet race socks and wet sneakers is just as nice as pulling off those wet layers I talked about above. Have a pair of extra socks and sneakers or flip flops to put on post-race. Your feet will thank you.

Good luck in your race and I hope the rain holds off for you!

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