I struggle to make myself go outside and run when it’s raining. My last run was practically in a squall – okay, maybe not. But compared to how it has been lately, it was pretty bad.
So I compiled a list in my head. A list to keep me running. And look! I made it back. I succeeded. I won, against myself and the weather.
So, what are the benefits of running in the rain?
It was 17 degrees today, and with the constant rain on my skin, this was the first run in freakin’ ages where I felt my body reached and maintained a constant temperature. Sure, I was absolutely drenched, but I didn’t get hot. And perhaps more importantly, I didn’t get cold.
Compared to running in 25 degree heat with full sun, this was a dream.
I was drenched within about thirty seconds. I was fighting my leggings and dealing with a sticky vest the whole way. Having that added resistance felt like an extra challenge. So I’m telling myself it was.
On top of wet clothing, there was the change in terrain. I’ve mentioned this before, I run on trails, not track or roads. This means that the weather has a pretty major effect on the terrain I face each time I run. It took me a while to get used to the hard, parched earth I’ve been running on for the last two months. To go from a solid substrate with it’s own hazards to a slippery, mushy mess was tricky mentally and physically.
But the variety keeps things interesting. It was the same route, but it felt different.
You feel badass
It’s pretty much guaranteed that if you see anyone else while you’re out on your monsoon run, they will think you are crazy. They will be cosy in the car or living room or wherever, thinking you’re totally hardcore and committed to your sport.
And goddamn, they’re right – you are hardcore!
Bonus points if it’s so windy that it blows the headphones out of your ears. True story.
The superhero run
You know when you walk on a travelator thing and get to the end? That feeling where your feet are moving at double speed and the ground just can’t keep up with you. The same feeling happens when you are running into the rain and the wind and then reach a sheltered spot. Whether you turn a corner or just head into a dip, you get a speed boost like a super hero when the weather can’t fight you as much. You suddenly realise how hard you’ve been fighting the weather – that’s a pretty good feeling.
Now that you’re sold on the benefits of running in the rain, let’s look at some tips to make things a bit easier for you…
Don’t forget to wear a hat!
This is very important. If you’re going to run in the rain, you really need to wear a hat. This isn’t about keeping your hair dry, this is about being able to see where you’re going. Not completely guaranteed with your hat, but greatly improved compared to not having one.
Wear the right clothes
Think about the temperature rather than the weather before you decide what to wear. You might be tempted to wear an outer shell to keep as dry as possible. But, if it’s raining while remaining warm outside, you are going to cook inside that shell!
You are going to get wet. Don’t avoid it. Don’t kid yourself. So if it’s warm enough, don’t forget you’ll be moving and generating heat. So dress appropriately for that and only worry about the shell if you know you will need to preserve heat.
Make sure your electronics won’t get wet
The sensible option here is to leave them at home. That’s not really reasonable though, is it? If you normally run with music, heading out without that is going to be very confusing indeed I should think! I wouldn’t know, I would never consider doing that.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on waterproof covers and pouches. You can stuff everything in a sandwich bag if you don’t have a waterproof pocket in your clothes. Personally, I normally run with one of the tiny iPod shuffles, so wrapping it up in clingfilm and shoving it in my pocket works for me.
Prepare for your return
I always forget this one. You don’t want to walk through your home in all of your wet gear. You want to peel that all off at the door. You want to get warm and you don’t really want to make a mess. Unless you live by yourself or are just one of those naked people (you know the sort), you’ll want to have a towel or dressing gown ready for when you get in.
Take everything off, leave your hat and shoes to dry somewhere sensible – you don’t want too much heat on them – and then concentrate on getting clean and dry.
Don’t stop just because you want to
The only reason to stop is because you have to. Don’t give in to the wimp in your head telling you it’s wet and too difficult. That wimp doesn’t seem to understand that walking in the rain means spending more time wet (and cold, once you slow down). That wimp can be stupid.
Don’t let the wimp win.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t stop if the conditions require it, or if you are in pain, or any other valid reason like, I don’t know, passing a pub with a roaring fire and your favourite beer on tap. And free roast beef. Always stop for free roast beef. New rule.
So go have fun, running in the rain! You can always get warm and dry again.
For more motivation to keep running, check out these posts: