Can You Get Sick From Running in the Rain? How to Stay Safe Outdoors

Can You Get Sick From Running In The Rain?

No matter how experienced a runner you are, if you’re used to dry weather, the sight of people pounding the pavement in the rain may amaze you.

Still, if the forecast doesn’t show signs of letting up anytime soon, you may have thought about facing the wet weather yourself. Despite this, many runners avoid running in the rain to prevent getting sick.

Whether flu season is approaching, or you know that you’re particularly prone to coughs and colds, you may have wondered if running in wet weather can lead to sickness. 

So, can you get sick from running in the rain?

In short, the answer is no. The rain itself isn’t going to make you sick, but the exposure to the cold affects your immune system, making you more likely to pick up viruses

We’ll cover more about sickness and running in the rain in this post, including whether it’s safe to run in wet weather, as well as important tips to remain safe while doing so.

Will Running In The Rain Get You Sick?

If you’re worried about getting sick from running in the rain, you won’t have to worry about the water causing your illness. 

People get caught in unexpected showers every day, yet don’t become sick afterward. The common cold is caused by a virus that isn’t linked to getting wet. 

Despite this, there is still a slight link between rainy conditions and sickness. While the water itself won’t get you ill, you may become sick after exposure to cold conditions.

The rhinovirus, the leading cause of a cold, reproduces easier in cooler climates. 

The cold also makes people more likely to huddle indoors, but proximity to others means colds and flu have a greater chance of spreading to others. This is why people tend to get sick in colder months. 

Lower body temperature can also affect your immune system. If your antiviral immune reactions aren’t working properly, your body may struggle to fight off particular viruses.

So, while the rain itself won’t get you sick, colder temperatures from wet weather may lead to illness. 

Is It Safe To Run In The Rain?

Can You Get Sick From Running In The Rain?

The link between rain and sickness is related to cold instead of humidity, so you probably won’t get sick after running in warm and rainy summer conditions – unless you’re exposed to colder temperatures following your run. 

Rain is only an issue if you become cold, though this isn’t likely to happen if you’re running. 

However, if the rain soaks through your clothes and you don’t remove them for a while after your run, you may become more vulnerable to particular viruses.

These viruses are more widespread in the colder months, but they can occur at any time throughout the year. 

Here are some tips that can help you remain safe while running in the rain. 

  • Wear proper running clothes that repel rainwater and are moisture-wicking, preventing the sweat from remaining too close to your skin. Rainwater and sweat can make you colder, especially if the temperatures plummet. A waterproof jacket, lightweight layers, and a hat that keeps water off your face are sufficient.
  • It’s also important to remove your wet clothing and dry off immediately after you’re back home after your run. If you’re running on a trail, take a camping towel, store dry clothes in your car, and turn the heaters on once you’re back inside. 
  • Once you’ve removed your wet clothes, socks, and shoes, either take a warm shower or wrap inside a warm blanket. Have some hot tea or soup to hydrate you and warm you up.

Make sure your running shoes have decent traction. Extra treading or traction involves more contact points on your shoes that touch the ground. The extra grip will help prevent slips and falls while you run in the rain.  

  • Understand your route and running area. Keep an eye out for washed-out trails, flooded areas, and slippery roads, avoiding these locations as much as possible. 
  • Look at the weather forecast before you run. If there are predicted thunderstorms or lightning in your location, save the run for another day, run inside on the treadmill, or opt for a different workout. 

Advice For Running In The Rain

It can be an incredibly exhilarating experience to run in the rain. However, safety always comes first.

Here is some advice for running in the rain.

In our other article, you can find more tips on running in the rain and preparing for rainy runs.

Advice For Road Runs In The Rain

Here are some tips on road running in the rain. 

  • The rain can turn sidewalks and roads into slippery hazards. It’s a good idea to slow your running pace down a little to prevent falling over. 
  • Rainy conditions aren’t the best time to try speed exercises. Concentrate on total time or distance instead. Take shorter strides to prevent falls. If you do want to take a speed workout, move indoors and run on a treadmill. 
  • The rain may also affect other people’s visibility, so cars and drivers may struggle to see you. Always wear noticeable, bright gear, like neon garments. Reflector vests and lights are also useful. 
  • Light rainfall may not affect your workout much, but you should always avoid running in flooded areas. Be cautious before running in puddles, as some may be deeper than they look.

Advice For Trail Runs In The Rain

Here are some tips on trail running in the rain.

  • If you’re fond of trail runs, remain vigilant and watch your footing when doing so in the rain. Slippery surfaces, branches, and smooth leaves can all be hazardous.
  • Find a pair of running shoes that are designed for trail runs. These should repel water, have decent traction, and drain well. 
  • Don’t wear headphones on your trail run, as you should be able to hear what’s happening around you. 
  • Windy weather and heavy rainfall can lead to fallen branches, and in severe cases, trees. Always stay vigilant when running underneath trees and keep an eye out for any loose branches.
  • It’s a good idea to run with someone else, particularly in remote areas. If you or your partner gets injured, the other person can carry out first aid and seek additional help. 

The Bottom Line

If you run in the rain, the water from rainfall won’t get you sick, but exposure to colder temperatures and conditions may lead to illness.

Rain doesn’t have to stop you from getting your workout in, as long as you take the proper precautions! 

If you want to run in the rain, make sure you wear good waterproof clothing and change into dry clothes immediately after your workout.

Taking a hot shower, snuggling in a warm blanket, and sipping on hot drinks can also help keep you warm afterward, decreasing your likelihood of getting a cold.

Read More: How Cold Is Too Cold To Run Outside?

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