Six Tips For Running In The Rain

Six Tips For Running In The Rain

Please note: due to local and state guidelines surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, some information below may not be accurate. Before you travel and plan your next adventure, make sure to check each business/park/campsite for any closures or guidelines and for the most up to date information.

We all know Alabama Spring means rain, and more rain. Do not let the weather keep you from reaching your goals! Here are 6 tips to keep you running and comfortable, even in the rain.


Don’t let precipitation ruin your perspiration. Use this advice to get the most from a rainy run

Finding the motivation to get out of the door and run can be hard at the best of times, and if it’s raining, sleeting, hailing or snowing then the strong temptation is to sack it off and wait for fairer weather.

Unfortunately, if you’re in the middle of a training plan ahead of a big event, sometimes you can’t postpone a run because it’s raining – especially if it looks like it’s going to rain for days on end. Plus there’s every chance the race itself will take place on a rainy day.

Graham Ferris, a strength and conditioning coach at Pure Sports Medicine, is well acquainted with running in the rain—he’s based in the UK. “If you’re training for a run in Britain then you have to be prepared for a rain-soaked race – 133 days a year receive rain or snow,” says Ferris.

Fortunately, Ferris didn’t just bring doom and gloom with his precipitation stats. He also gave us some great advice on how to make the best of a rainy run, whether that’s a training session or a race.

1. Pick Your Footwear Carefully

“The sole needs to have a good tread to avoid slippery surfaces, not just for safety but also for force application,” says Ferris. “How can you propel yourself forwards if your feet just slide backwards? When it comes to a race, warm up in another pair of shoes and socks, and keep a dry pair for the race. These small things will keep your feet in better health.”

2. Make Yourself Chafe-Proof

“Chafing is very common during wet runs,” says Ferris. “Apply a layer of Vaseline to areas that are prone to chafing – inner thighs, armpits, sports-bra lining, etc.”

3. Dress For The Temperature, Not The Rain

While a waterproof top can be a useful during wet runs, it’s easy to overdress in the rain and make yourself uncomfortably hot.

“Wear a wind- or water-resistant layer over the top of a layer that wicks sweat away, but dress more for the temperature,” says Ferris. “It’s raining – you’re going to get wet.”

4. Go For That Personal Best

“The rain can help stop your body temperature rising too high, which in turn promotes less thermic stress on the body, lower heart rate and perceived exertion,” say Ferris.

That’s right, the rain can be a good thing and can even help you chase down that elusive personal best time.

“Some studies have found almost 13 seconds knocked off 5km runs in recreational runners when using an effective cooling technique on the body,” says Ferris.

5. Embrace The Mental Challenge

“Some runners don’t mind the rain, because accomplishing something given the added challenge can be rewarding, but some dread it,” says Ferris. “Just keep reminding yourself that a warm shower is only moments away.”

Your rainy runs will build new confidence in your running, which can provide a welcome boost on race day.

“Changing your perception of the task in hand can be a huge factor in your success during arduous conditions,” says Ferris. “Is this race really as tough as that wet run you did a few weeks ago? Probably not. You’ve got this!

“Every time you successfully put your body outside of its comfort zone, your comfort zone increases. You become less nervous in these conditions and you psychologically feel steadier.”

6. Change, FAST

“Get out of your wet clothing as soon as you can after the run,” says Ferris. “Once you have stopped moving, your body is going to start cooling. You don’t want this to happen too rapidly in those cold and wet clothes or you might find yourself with early signs of hypothermia… get yourself changed.”



Looking to elevate your urban runs with more comfort? Check out the upgraded On Cloudswift 2.0! Complete the look and find the running gear you need at Alabama Outdoors.

We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors


Written by Nick Harris-Fry for Coach and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

Featured image provided by Coach

Restoration Academy: Maine Event

By: Clint Cvacho


The crew at the summit of Katahdin. Pictured (by trail name) Back row from left to right: Maverick, Silly Bear, Steam Roller, C-Train. Front row from left to right: Sole Man, Clutch, Goose, Primo, Night Hike

Maine Event: connecting students with nature

During my time teaching at Restoration Academy in Fairfield, recognizing the power of time spent in the outdoors to inspire and to develop relationships, I started an outdoor program to connect mainly African American students with nature.  The pinnacle of this program was something born out of a suggestion by one of the students who had gone on a few trips with me, who one day said we should hike the Appalachian Trail.  While hiking the entire trail was out of the question because of time constraints, it was amazing to have this African American young man suggesting such an ambitious outdoor goal, especially when it was not something we had ever talked about on a hunting or camping trip.  He was dreaming big, which caused me to dream big.  This comment set us on the path to endeavoring what is now known as the Fourteen State Challenge, but which we called the Maine Event.  We would take a group of young men and over the course of six trips in three years, we would hike a section of the Appalachian Trail in all fourteen states it runs through.


Alabama Outdoors partnership

Something of this magnitude could not even be begun without the right equipment.  For that, I turned to Scott McCrory with Alabama Outdoors for assistance in acquiring the gear we would need for the group.  Not only did he provide the gear we needed through free rentals and outright donations, but he also wanted to come along with us and bring his son, who was only six years old when we started in the fall of 2014!  The journey over the next three years took us to some of the most scenic places on the entire Appalachian Trail and put our diverse group into contact with the amazing trail community of the AT. 


Diversity on the trails

We constantly had our minds blown by the people we met and we were constantly blowing the minds of others.  You could tell that it was unusual to see a group of African Americans on the trail, but in our experience, instead of meeting opposition, we found most people to be interested in hearing the story of the students and their journey up to that point.  We found that lack of ethnic diversity on the trail did not, necessarily, translate into lack of inclusion.  We also found that as we summited Mount Katahdin on July 7, 2017, we were different people than when we had spent our first night on the trail on November 7, 2014. 


We all belong in the outdoors

All of the nights spent eating the same noodles, pitching tents in the same windy and cold conditions, and, all of the same strained muscles. All of the night hiking, all of the same endless ups and downs, all of the times we cursed Benton MacKaye for his idea, and all of the laughter, forged us into a brotherhood that no book club or shared seminar ever could.  We found out that the outdoors really does belong to all of us and is there to bring us together if we would just take that risky first step.


Check out our original story from that unforgettable experience, Exploring the Outdoors with Restoration Academy.


Interested in getting out on the AT or another thru-hike yourself? Let us help you find the gear you need for your backpacking adventureVisit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time.  #BeOutdoors

The Greater Outdoors with Cahaba River Society

Watershed Moments

The Cahaba River Watershed isn’t just the longest free-flowing river in Alabama. It’s a treasure trove of biological diversity as well as the primary drinking water source for the Birmingham metro area – one-fifth of the state’s population.


For obvious reasons, protecting such a vital local resource is something the Cahaba River Society was created to do.


The relationship between Alabama Outdoors and the Cahaba River Society is one that goes back more than a decade to the inaugural Cahaba River Ramble in 2006. That 5k and 10k race through the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge laid the groundwork for a partnership that has only grown stronger through the years.


Party on the Porch at Alabama Outdoors Homewood (2019)

“For several years, Alabama Outdoors hosted a Party on the Porch on the Friday night before the Ramble,” said Cahaba River Society Director of Development, Casey Laycock. The neighborhood get together has been a staple in Alabama Outdoors’ community engagement, helping raise awareness for – and generate support of – local organizations. Casey continued, “That event helped raise money for our cause, but the exposure it provided was tremendous and had a positive long-term effect. Giving us the chance to tell our story in the community was invaluable.”


Then came the opportunity to be the presenting sponsor for the Big Cahaba Clean-up, the most ambitious Cahaba River clean-up ever attempted. “We had more than 200 volunteers agree to scour trash from the Cahaba River from Trussville to Helena,” Casey said. “That’s close to 50 miles of river.”


Although inclement weather caused the event to be shut down, it didn’t deter the team at Alabama Outdoors. Instead of accepting it as bad luck and simply moving on from the massive event-that-could-have-been, Alabama Outdoors instead organized several smaller clean-up efforts throughout the season, completing the undertaking with far fewer hands than originally planned.

CLEAN Environmental Education Program

But things didn’t stop there. With the active involvement and support of Alabama Outdoors, the Cahaba River Society has been able to reach more than 37,000 Alabama youth and teachers with the CLEAN Environmental Education Program. CLEAN is opening doors to new environmental careers that are historically underrepresented by a large percentage of the youth it reaches.


Natalie Ferguson (AO) and LaTanya Scott, Environmental Educator for Cahaba River Society. Location: Little Cahaba River

“The overall experience with Alabama Outdoors has been incredibly supportive, collaborative and impactful,” Casey said. “They are truly involved in the communities surrounding their stores and believe in taking care of the world around them for the betterment and enjoyment of generations to come. We have been fortunate and grateful to have had the opportunity to grow with them over the years. Alabama Outdoors is AMAZING!”


Cleaning our drinking water, protecting our natural habitat and inspiring others to get involved. They’re all examples of how a wellspring of inspiration can lead to the dedication that flows through everyone at Alabama Outdoors. Just like the mighty Cahaba.


We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors

7 Tips for Trail Running in the Winter


Trail run

Please note: due to local and state guidelines surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, some information below may not be accurate. Before you travel and plan your next adventure, make sure to check each business/park/campsite for any closures or guidelines and for the most up to date information. Enjoy your next winter trail running adventure in Alabama this season!

A cold weather run can be invigorating. During the summer, the heat and humidity can wear you down before you get started, but the cool, dry air of winter feels refreshing. Plus, familiar trails have a new look, as the bare trees expand your view of the wide-open forest.

But there are also different challenges that come with running in cold weather. If you’re new to trail running, or your dislike of the cold keeps you out of the winter woods, check out these seven tips to help you stay safe and comfortable as you tackle the trails this winter.

1. Dress in Layers

The advice passed down to you as a kid is still relevant—you should dress in layers—just don’t overdo it. It’s okay to be a little cold when you get started since you will heat up substantially after your first mile or two. A good general rule is to dress like it’s 15 to 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature.

Your base layer should be made of moisture-wicking materials. A pair of windproof tights for your legs and a long-sleeve top make a solid base to start. From there, add a middle layer that fits loosely over the base layer and has a zipper for ventilation if needed. You can go with running pants or shorts over the tights, depending on your comfort level and the temperature. Then, add a final outer layer that resists wind and moisture and can be removed easily if needed.

As much as you want to channel your inner Rocky Balboa, this is not the time to throw on an old pair of gray cotton sweats and hit the trail. Stay away from cotton clothing, because it absorbs and holds sweat, which will make your clothes heavy and pulls heat from your body. It’s best to stick with clothes made of synthetic fabrics, wool, or a mix of the two.

2. Gain Some Traction

Wear shoes made specifically for the terrain you’ll tackle while running in winter. Bruno Nascimento


The ground will be harder in winter, and you might run into patches of ice during early morning runs when temperatures are near or below freezing. You can get away with regular running shoes for some light trail runs in the summer, but winter calls for an investment in a pair of shoes made specifically for trail running.

For ice or snow conditions, there are devices you can pull over shoes, such as Yaktrax, that act like snow chains for tires and ensure you have a stable grip on slippery terrain.

3. Cover Your Extremities

Your head and hands will be the first things to lose heat on a run. On extremely cold days you’ll need a heavy beanie for your head, but a light hat or headband will do the trick most days. If your hands are fully exposed on a cold day, it will make your run uncomfortable and potentially dangerous if it’s below freezing. A pair of gloves and wind-resistant mittens will keep your hands safe and warm. For those windy days, a neck gaiter or mask will keep your face free from wind burn.

Also, don’t forget to take care of your feet. Proper socks are critical for keeping your toes and feet comfortable. Skip the cotton socks and wear a good pair of wool or synthetic socks to keep your feet warm and dry.

4. Light it Up

While many trails will close early in the winter before it gets dark, it’s still wise to wear a headlamp or at least have one handy—along with an extra set of batteries—on the trail. It will get darker earlier than expected, especially if you’re on the backside of a mountain. Also, bring a reflective vest or wear a jacket that has reflective properties.

5. Stay Hydrated

Often overlooked in winter, it is still important to drink water before and after your run. And bring a water bottle or energy gels if you plan on running for more than an hour. You will sweat and expend more energy in the cold than you think, and you don’t want to run into any issues on the trail.

Also, if temperatures are below freezing on an extended run, the water in your bottle could freeze. To avoid dealing with a block of ice instead of a refreshing sip of water, pick up an insulated bottle or vacuum bottle.

Use shorter strides and a slower pace to avoid slipping while running in the snow. Shannon McGee

6. Be Prepared

Cold weather running poses unique risks, especially long-distance runs in temperatures below freezing. Two of the most dangerous risks are frostbite and hypothermia, but you can avoid them easily by taking certain precautions.

If your skin and extremities are exposed to the cold too long, your skin can freeze, which is known as frostbite. Frostbite doesn’t hurt at first, but the area will turn red and then white before it goes numb. If you suspect an area is becoming frostbitten, get indoors quickly and wrap the affected area or use a blow dryer to warm it up. Do not use hot water to warm the area. Begin with lukewarm or cool water and slowly advance to warmer water.

When your body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, you will enter hypothermia. A major symptom is uncontrollable shivering, followed by slowed reaction time and slurring of speech. If any of these symptoms appear, get inside immediately. And, if you can’t get indoors, put on as many layers of clothing as you have, get off the ground and move your body in any way possible to generate heat.

7. Let it Snow

Everything is more fun in the snow, including a trail run. While it doesn’t snow too much in Alabama, don’t pass up the few opportunities we get each year. When you do decide to lay tracks in the snow, it’s important to stay focused. Shorter strides and a slower pace must be maintained to avoid slipping, especially if you’re the first person on the snow and there’s the potential to hit some ice. This engages your core more than a regular pace, making even a short run worthwhile.


Find the best running gear  at Alabama Outdoors. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors


Written by Hap Pruitt for Matcha in partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of AL and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

Featured image provided by Rock/Creek

Store Spotlight: Homewood


Even though this last year was well, different; we are so thankful to all of our team members and customers who helped us make it through to 2021! To kick off the start of a new year we want to highlight our wonderful stores and communities who help keep us doing what we love!

This week we are headed to our Homewood store to chat with our store manager, Grace Willis! Our Homewood store is our flagship store and we have been so grateful to be a part of the community since 1975! Let’s check it out!


How long have you worked at AO and what interested you about working here?

I have worked with AO for 7 years. I originally began working at the Mobile store out of college. After a while, I became the Manager for over 3 years. After moving to Birmingham, I eventually came back to manage Inverness and now Homewood! I’ve been at Homewood for over 2 years now. -Grace


What we love about Homewood

I love what Homewood has to offer! Not only is it beautiful and quaint, but there is literally something around every corner and a shop or business for almost anything you can think of! It’s amazing how local-focused it is and how much that is supported! It really brings everyone together. -Grace


Which Alabama Outdoors core value resonates with you the most?

Our purpose – Influencing people to get outside in Alabama and beyond while building one connection at a time! The biggest “day maker” to myself and our team members is having the opportunity to not only get people excited about their next adventure and finding the right gear for those excursions but also hearing the incredible stories our customers have to tell us about the places they are going or have gone! I love living vicariously through others’ experiences. Plus, our customers can teach us a few things too! -Grace


Our favorite places to explore near Homewood

I know this is no “hidden gem” but honestly, I love Oak Mountain! There is so much to do there! It’s a great place for families, beginners or advanced hikers and campers, plus activities for everyone outside beyond just that. It truly will fill your day with plenty to do – or even a weekend if you choose to stay longer (I recommend it!). -Grace

Did you know?

Oak Mountain State Park has a demonstration farm that is a great activity for families! This Fall we partnered with Oak Mountain State Park to photograph our Fall product lines and we had so much fun with the staff there. The goats were so fun to feed and the peacocks are beautiful! The park is breathtaking and there is adventure around every corner!



What is your favorite brand right now and why?

Arc’teryx for sure. Some are intimidated by it, but it truly is a brand that anyone can enjoy. They are classic yet so advanced when it comes to technicality and detail. They put so much extra work and time into their pieces that they are meant to last you a lifetime. -Grace


What is your favorite way to enjoy the outdoors?

Being from the Gulf, I definitely love any and all things water-related, whether that be snorkeling hidden natural springs, paddle boarding in the Gulf, or hammocking near a river! However, now that I live in Birmingham and have more access to great hiking and camping spots, I really enjoy it when I have the opportunity to go! You can’t beat the great weather we have in the Fall and early winter for camping! -Grace



Interested in adding hammocking to your Spring adventures this year? Pick out your favorite hammock and check out our video on How To Hammock!



We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors