I love running in the rain. It takes the usual endorphin rush from exercise and adds some kick, like hot sauce on chicken wings, icing on a cake, or beer on a patio.
I wasn't planning on running today, but then I saw it was pouring and pouring, so I couldn't resist popping out for 5K! It was wet and wonderful.
Of course it has the potential to be really miserable... so here's what you need to do.
Step 1: Ditch the cotton
Cotton absorbs water and makes life in the rain really wet... stick with thin synthetic fibers.
Step 2: Keep the feet from sloshing
Nobody wants sloshy wet feet. It feels nasty, you'll be prone to blistering, and your feet will be heavier.
Socks - I go with the thinnest dual-layer socks I can find. This helps guard against blisters while keeping the feet from being drenched. You can't avoid wet - but frankly if you sweat like I do, you're always wet, so that shouldn't bother you! But you want to avoid soaking wet.
Shoes - any decent shoe should shed water with ease. I have ASICS Kayano 13's, and I can step right in a 6 inch deep puddle... and within a couple of steps it feels like it never happened. Good shoes are designed to get rid of moisture, not absorb it, so as long as you're not running with the $49 Payless special, you'll be fine.
Step 3: Fight chafing
Getting wet makes for more friction on anything that's rubbing. A rub you might not notice in the dry becomes raw or blistered when things get wet. Body glide anything that might rub... I'm afraid I'm about to wade into the "too much information" category, but for me that means nipples and inner thighs...
(A brief but necessary diversion: why do men have nipples!? I don't use them, they add nothing but aesthetic value... and they cause me so much grief! Proof we're not Intelligently Designed if I ever saw it.)
Step 4: RUN!
It's a rush for me to get out there and fight the elements, whether it's cold, snow, rain, or searing heat. It just brings out those very primal senses that I think we all have.
But when it's warm, rain is the most refreshing and exhilarating of them all... It cools you off just the right amount, while presenting enough of a challenge to be more interesting than a normal run. Passing motorists turn their heads to see the idiot who got caught in the rain, not knowing you're out there on purpose...
And of course you never know when an event you signed up for will have bad weather. I'm not going to spend a year preparing for Ironman only to bow out after 10 hours because it's raining during the run... so it's best to get used to it, understand it, and get some experience in it before you face it in more important circumstances.