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Running During a Thunderstorm: Running Safety

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

Safety Guide for Runners Running During a Thunderstorm

For some, the pitter-patter of rain on the pavement is an invitation to hit the ground running. The coolness of the air, the cleansing power of the water, and the rhythmic drumming on the earth can create a truly invigorating experience. But what about thunderstorms? Those crackling bolts of lightning and booming thunderclaps can send shivers down even the bravest runner's spine.


Fear not, fellow adventurers! While caution is always crucial, running in the rain and even thunderstorms can still be a safe and enjoyable experience. All it takes is a little preparation and awareness.

Avoiding Danger Zones:

Before we dive into the exhilarating world of running through the elements, let's address the elephant in the room: safety. While a drizzle might be refreshing, thunderstorms demand a healthy dose of respect.

Here are some areas to avoid when the heavens open up with a vengeance:

  • Open fields, hills, and other exposed areas: These locations offer little to no protection from lightning strikes.

  • Tall trees, power lines, and anything else that could conduct electricity: Lightning seeks the shortest path to the ground, and these objects become prime targets.

  • Rivers, lakes, and ponds: Water conducts electricity, making these bodies of water potential hazards.

  • Bridges, tunnels, and other structures that can conduct electricity: Once again, lightning seeks the easiest route, and these structures can offer it.

Preparing for the Storm:

Now, let's shift our focus to preparation. By being proactive, you can minimize risks and maximize your enjoyment.

Here are some key tips:

  • Plan: Check the weather forecast before you head out. If a thunderstorm is brewing, consider rescheduling your run or choosing a safer route.

  • Escape route: Have a plan in mind for seeking shelter if you get caught in a storm. This could be a nearby building, a park pavilion, or even a sturdy bus stop.

  • Visibility: Wear bright, reflective clothing to increase your visibility to motorists and others.

  • Attire: Choose quick-drying fabrics that will wick away moisture. Avoid cotton, as it absorbs water and can make you feel heavy and cold.

  • Protection: Wear a hat with a brim to shield your face from the rain and a waterproof watch to keep track of time.

  • Warm-up: Even though it's raining, it's important to warm up your muscles to prevent injuries. Do some light jogging or dynamic stretches before you pick up the pace.

Safety Tips for Running During a Thunderstorm:

If you're already out running when a storm hits, don't panic.

Stay calm and follow these guidelines:

  • Seek shelter immediately: If you can, find a safe place to stay dry until the storm passes. The best options are buildings with lightning protection, such as houses, libraries, or gyms.

  • If no shelter is available: If you're caught out in the open, find the lowest possible ground and crouch down. Avoid huddling under trees or standing near metal objects.

  • Don't touch anything metal: This includes jewelry, watchbands, and even your shoelace tips. Metal conducts electricity, so keep your distance.

  • Stay away from water: Avoid puddles, streams, and other bodies of water. Water conducts electricity, and you don't want to become a conductor yourself.

  • Spread out: If you're running with a group, spread out as much as possible to minimize the risk of multiple people being struck by lightning.

  • Listen to your body: If you start to feel any discomfort, such as tingling or numbness, stop running and seek shelter immediately.

Running in the Rain: A Sensory Experience:

With the safety tips in mind, let's delve into the pure joy of running in the rain. The sound of the raindrops hitting the pavement, the cool air on your face, and the feeling of the water washing away your worries can create a truly immersive and invigorating experience.

Running in Thunderstorms: A Dose of Exhilaration:

For those who seek a little more adventure, running in a thunderstorm can be an exhilarating and unforgettable experience. The raw power of nature combined with the physical exertion of running can create a feeling of being truly alive.


Running in the rain and thunderstorms can be a safe and enjoyable experience with proper preparation and awareness. So, next time you see a storm brewing, don't let fear hold you back. Embrace the elements, stay safe, and enjoy the run! Remember, the greatest adventure is often just a raindrop away.

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