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How Does Rain Affect Running Pace?

Does running in the rain affect pace? You may be surprised to learn that running in cold, wet weather can do wonders for your performance. While it might take a little more motivation to get out there when it’s raining, the results will be more than worthwhile.

Running in the rain can potentially help you to run faster than you would in sunny weather. As you run, your body temperature increases, causing the body to sweat more. The rain helps to cool the body down, enabling you to put more effort into your workout.

This isn’t to say that running in the rain will always improve your performance. Heavy rain can have the opposite effect, causing painful blisters to develop. You’ll also run a lot more cautiously in heavier rain, slowing down your pace.

Running in the rain can help your pace if in cooler weather, but hurt your pace if it’s pouring.

Does Rain Affect Running Pace?

Yes, rain does affect your pace when running. However, the way that it impacts your pace will ultimately depend upon how heavy the rain is. Lighter rain can increase the speed that you run due thanks to its temperature cooling effects, while heavier rain will typically cause you to run slower.

Running in Light vs Heavy Rain

Do you run faster in the rain? Surprisingly, running in light rain can cause you to run faster than you would on a clear, sunny day. This is down to the temperature regulating effects that take place. Compared to running in heavier rain, the body stays much cooler, making it easier to run faster for a longer period of time.

Long Distance vs Sprinting

According to one study, running in the cold burns off more energy. Sprinters will therefore find it easier to run in the rain than long distance runners. Again, this depends upon how heavy the rain is, with heavier rain more likely to harm performance.

Is It Harder to Run When It’s Raining?

It is harder to run in heavier rain, but easier to run in lighter rain. Heavy rain causes issues with visibility, while also making you run more cautiously. Lighter rain on the other hand helps to regulate your body’s temperature as you run, making it easier than if you were running on a warm, sunny day.

There are safety considerations to take into account when you are running in the rain. For example, under no circumstances should you run in a thunderstorm. You should also make sure you are wearing shoes with plenty of grip. The risk of slips and falls increases in wet weather, particularly if the rain is heavy.

One thing that will make it harder to run in the rain is strong winds. You will find it much harder to run against the wind, causing it to ultimately hinder your performance. High winds can also make it more difficult to breathe as you run, which could impact how far you can comfortably go.  

Research into how the cold impacts exercise has shown that while it isn’t a barrier, cold can influence performance. This means running in cold rain will impact your performance in a different way to running in warm rain. Many people dislike running in the cold, but with proper gear some people find they enjoy it.

Can You Get Sick from Running in The Rain?

Running in the rain by itself won’t cause you to get sick. However, you will need to take adequate precautions. Running in cold rain can lower your temperature, putting you at an increased risk of picking up a virus by reducing your immune system’s ability to fight it off.

If you get cold when running in the rain, you could pick up a virus more easily, and potentially even develop hypothermia. This means that it is the cold, rather than the wet, that causes problems for the body. To prevent getting sick while you run in the rain, ensure you are wearing warm, protective clothing.

Another consideration is whether the rain is likely caused by air pollution. High levels of pollution can trigger rain to fall, leading to an increased risk of developing upper respiratory distress. If the rain is caused by excess pollution levels, it could also trigger an asthma attack.

4 Tips for Running in The Rain

There are some great tips you can follow to reap the benefits of running in the rain. Making sure you wear the right clothing, using Vaseline to prevent chafing, and paying attention to your footing are just some of the things you can do to improve your performance.

1/ Wearing the Right Clothing

As well as making sure you are wearing the correct running shoes, you’ll also want to wear layers, alongside a hat with a brim. The right hat will help to keep the rain out of your eyes, making it much easier to see where you are going. Just make sure the hat is breathable if you are running on a warm, rainy day.

2/ Prevent Chafing

When you run in the rain, you are at an increased risk of developing blisters and chafing. Vaseline is a cheap, convenient way to prevent painful chafing and blisters. Simply rub it on the areas prone to chafing before you run such as the feet, inner thighs, nipples, and underarms. The right shorts can help with this as well.

3/ Footing Considerations

Running in the rain does pose a higher risk of slips and falls. For this reason, you will want to pay close attention to your footing. Try and take smaller steps and slow down your pace, especially in heavier rain. It’s a good idea to invest in a good pair of running shoes.

4/ Avoid Running in A Thunderstorm

Under no circumstances should you attempt to run in a thunderstorm. This can pose a danger to life, and you will find it much more difficult to run in extreme weather conditions.

So, does rain affect running pace? The simple answer is yes. If you are running in lighter rain, you’ll typically notice your pace quickens. However, if you are running in heavier rain, it will slow you down.

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About the author

Jasper loves to write about fitness, running, and anything else that gets him moving outdoors. He's an avid hiker, backpacker, and climber who loves to stay fit so he can make sure he's healthy enough to enjoy his favorite hobbies. He also spends time writing about his true passions in life.