Two days ago I went for an early morning run to try to beat the heat. I finished soaking wet because it was such a hot and humid day.
Today I finished my lunch time run soaking wet again. But this time it was due to the steady rain that fell from the first step to the last.
Which do you prefer – running in the heat or the rain?
If you’re planning to run in a race and you expect to put a lot of effort into the training, it makes sense to do some of that training in the rain. I mean, what happens if you wake up on race morning and it’s raining? Surely you’re not going to bail!
Just as you need to prepare for the mileage you’re planning on running, you should also prepare just in case it rains and there’s no better preparation than to get out and get wet.
Admittedly, it’s summertime here in Sydney and running on a rainy day is more a blessing than a curse. The temperature was perfect or our wet weather run, the steady drizzly rain was just enough to keep us cool and refreshed.
Here are my handy-dandy…
Tips for Running in the Summer Rain
Embrace the wet weather. Look at it this way – it could be a stinking 35 degree day instead! The temperature is (usually) mild and the rain is little more than a natural refreshing shower.
Enjoy being the crazy guy running in the rain. You get the looks from underneath umbrellas. Enjoy it. I figure, I’m getting fit doing something I enjoy while everyone else feels miserable and resents getting wet.
Wear A Cap. This is a no-brainer for me because I wear a running cap to protect my hair challenged head anyway. But in wet weather it can be very useful to use a cap to keep the water out of the eyes.
Be Careful Cornering! Turning sharp corners or stopping suddenly in the wet can be a recipe for disaster. This is particularly the case if you happen to step on a manhole cover which turns into a deadly slippery spot on the ground.
Wear Older Running Shoes. This is really only possible if you’ve still got an old pair lying around. And the reason isn’t for fear that your new shoes might get dirty (who cares). I find that the soles of new shoes get great traction in the dry but perform particularly poorly when it’s wet. They obviously need to be scuffed to gain better traction.
Splash Your Running Partners. Call me immature if you like but I like to run straight through puddles when it’s raining. I figure I’m going to get wet anyway, might as well go the whole hog. No care or responsibility is taken if my running partners happen to get splashed as a stomp my way through these puddles.
Remove the insoles from your shoes after your run. I run at work during my lunch hour and tend to leave my shoes under my desk when they are not in use. This isn’t normally a problem. That is until it rains and I forget to remove the insoles from my shoes. Not only do the shoes fail to dry but they also reek the next day.
Have a second pair of shoes on standby. You really should be rotating your shoes anyway but you really do need a second pair of shoes ready to use the day after you’ve run in the rain just in case they are still damp. Why run in wet shoes on a dry day if you don’t have to?
Be Extra Careful of Traffic. We’re talking about cars and trucks as well as other pedestrians here. The risk of an accident is far more likely in the wet than in the dry. Running on or near roads is extremely dangerous with the stopping ability of cars greatly hampered. This is just the same when trying to dodge pedestrians. They’re under umbrellas and they just want to get out of the rain. They’re not going to be thinking about those annoying running creatures too.
There is a (sort of) agreed etiquette when running in traffic, both motorised and pedestrian. The folk at RunBritain have put together a simple guide to Road Running and Traffic.
Make Sure You’re Visible. A wet and rainy day means that the light is going to be dull and it’s going to be more difficult to spot the crazy runner. Wear your brightest clothes, preferably something with neon yellow, green or pink if you have it.
Layer Your Clothes to Avoid Chafing. With wet weather comes the almost impossible to avoid problem of chafing. A simple way to avoid chafing no matter whether it’s on the legs or the upper body is to layer your clothing. This may be uncomfortable in the summer because wet weather can still mean warm conditions but there are a few tricks that work. Put a pair of compression shorts on under your running shorts and you will completely avoid chafing in the delicate groin region.
Chafed nipples are a definite result of any length run in the wet and can be avoided by adding a singlet over the top of a t-shirt. Final protection can be achieved with a healthy smear of Vaseline or the application of Body Glide.
More Clothes Will Not Keep You Dry. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can beat the wet by putting extra clothes on. All that will happen is that more of your clothes are going to get wet, you’re potentially going to get too hot and have to carry the extra clothes for the back half of the run.
Wear A Running Rain Jacket. I know, it sounds as though I am contradicting myself having made the point that you are going to get wet no matter what you wear, but there is some merit in putting a lightweight running rain jacket on. These jackets will help repel a good proportion of the water for the early stages of the run. If it is a windy day, the jacket will also help protect you from the wind, which can actually make you quite cold if you are also soaked through.
Protect Your Electronics. Let’s face it, we can’t go for a run these days without our electrical equipment. Mobile phones, i-Pods, heart rate monitors. If the skies look threatening it would be a good idea to grab a small zip-loc bag to seal your electronic equipment in. They may as well stay dry even if you don’t.
Avoid Stormy Weather. One of the only times when I will absolutely not go out for a run when it is raining is when it is a stormy day and there is an electrical storm close by. This is just flat out dangerous and I will not take the risk.
The key is to enjoy your running no matter what the weather conditions. Certainly, the last thing you need to do is dread the fact that there is a little rain falling.