Waterproofs for runners #2

Running waterproofs: when and what to wear while running in the rain

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You’re about to go for a run when suddenly, the heavens open and it starts to rain. Should you throw caution to the wind and head out in your t-shirt and shorts, or is it better to wrap up in waterproofs? Here are five of the best rain-resistant pieces of kit for runners who aren’t put off by the odd splash.

Few things can put you off running like rain. Whether it’s mild drizzle or proper downpour, getting wet is just another barrier to lacing up for a jog. But it really is worth pushing through the wet if you can, because running almost always feels great afterward, says Steve Paterson, runner and Head of People Development at Runners Need. “However bad at the time, everything ends and you know that you’ll feel great after. Remember the last time that you ran it didn’t feel great when you were doing it? When you finished, you felt awesome.”

If you do push ahead for a rainy run, however, you’ll need to decide whether to wear running waterproofs or not. 

Running waterproofs aren’t always necessary

When we run, our bodies sweat to keep us cool. It’s that self-cooling mechanism that allows humans to run for hours and hours. Many waterproofs are made from materials that stop moisture from being absorbed, allowing rain to run off. While that might be awesome if you’re walking, it might not be that comfortable if you’re working up a sweat because you’ll start to feel clammy underneath… and wet on top. If you can release the moisture that’s building up on your skin, you may start to feel a bit like a running “boil in the bag” – not ideal.

It’s also worth pointing out the fact that rain isn’t harmful; in fact, feeling drops of rain on your skin can be grounding, peaceful and calming – especially if it’s still quite warm. You don’t have to turn up your music to compete with the swoosh of waterproofed arms moving against your torso, or have to worry about jackets reaching saturation point either.

Steve  says that “having the right kit can have a massive impact on how you feel when you run,” from “looking the part” to “feeling good.” A large part of that is temperature control. When it’s cooler, “a pair of thin gloves can make a real difference,” but when it rains, “there’s no point in wearing raincoats.” 

If anything, it’s after the run that you want to be concerned about being dry. If you can, take a shower or bath when you get home or at the very least, have a change of dry clothes that you can dress in ASAP. You won’t get sick from running in the rain but you may well develop a cold if you stay in wet clothes.

Here are 5 of the best waterproofs that will make your run drier

That’s not to say that you absolutely shouldn’t wear waterproof outer layers or invest in waterproof products to maximize the comfort of your runs. If you’re running to the shops, for example, going in something that’ll keep the worse excesses off you might not be a bad idea (no one wants to be the person dripping water all the way around Tesco). Shoes that don’t get soaked and backpacks that’ll keep your phone dry are worth their weight in gold – whether you choose to wear rain-resistant jackets or not.

Look out for items that are breathable and lightweight so that they can be packed away if the rainclouds vanish or the heat gets too much for you.

  • Sweaty Betty - Fast Track Running Jacket

    Sweaty Betty waterproof running jacket
    Sweaty Betty's waterproof running jacket is bright enough to ensure that you're seen on the dullest of days.

    Sweat-wicking, breathable, ultra-lightweight and water-resistant, this double-layered running jacket has a pack-away hood and a drop back hem for keeping you as dry as possible. The reflective straps on the wrists will ensure that you’re seen in the dark, while the colour is bright enough to make sure that you stand out on even the dullest of days.

    Price: £100

  • Asics – Unisex 5L Running Back Pack

    asics waterproof running backpack
    Having a waterproof backpack can be a lifesaver for keeping your phone/food/maps/clothes dry during your run

    It’s no good being dry if everything’s getting soggy on your back. This backpack from Asics has zipped pockets and compartments, is moisture wicking to keep your back dry and comfortable and is made with waterproof polyester to ensure that your running essentials are kept dry and protected, whatever the weather.

    Price: £23.99

  • Adidas - Fast Primeblue 1/2 Zip Jacket

    Adidas waterproof jacket
    This 360 reflective Adidas jacket is made from recycled materials.

    For anyone concerned with the carbon footprint of their layers, this jacket is is made with Primeblue – a high-performance recycled material made in part with Parley Ocean Plastic. It’s bright, packs away into nothing and has 360 reflectivity to keep you safe on the roads, trails and track. 

    Price: £63

  • Nike - Legend React 2 Shield

    Nike waterproof shoes
    There's nothing worse than having soggy shoes. These Nikes are waterproof and fitted with tougher grip for slippery surfaces

    Jackets might be the most obvious piece of waterproof kit but there’s nothing like soggy trainers to make a run miserable. These Nike Legends, however, are puddle-proof, with more cushioning and tough traction for a smoother ride. Given the British weather, these trainers are real running investment; you never know when it’s going to be wet underfoot!

    Price: £92.95

  • LuluLemon - Hood Lite Jacket

    Lululemon waterproof jacket
    The perfect jacket for light drizzle, this Lululemon number folds into a bag belt for when the clouds finally clear.

    This lightweight jacket packs down into a belt bag, so there’s no need to bring a rucksack with you in case the weather changes. You can cinch the hem around the waist, while a back vent provides airflow to keep you cool. A hidden phone sleeve in the front stash pockets means that you can still listen to your favourite podcast without getting your phone wet.

    Price: £118 

Ready to take your running up a notch? Join our Strength Training for Runners four week plan to run faster, longer and stronger.

Images: retailers’ own.

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Miranda Larbi

Miranda Larbi is the editor of Strong Women and Strong Women Training Club. A qualified personal trainer and vegan runner, she can usually be found training for the next marathon, seeking out vegan treats or cycling across London on a pond-green Tokyo bike.

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