Tuesday, January 19, 2016

You don’t have to hate running in the rain

I’ve had several friends talk about how they hate running in the rain.  It doesn’t have to be that way though.  The most important thing to do is to prepare for the run and it isn’t all just what you wear either.  

If you are heading out in the rain, you will definitely need to have the right gear.  A light weight, breathable, waterproof jacket is crucial.    There are even some cheap lightweight jackets that are windproof and have some water resistance, but would not hold up during a really heavy rain.  The main idea is that you want to keep your core warm and dry.  I like jackets with a hood because I can wear a running hat and the jacket hood will cover everything but the visor of the hat.  The hats visor will keep the rain out of your eyes.

For pants or tights, I will usually wear normal running tights unless it is raining hard.  If you will be out for a while or it is raining hard, wear a thermal tight that will keep most of the moisture out.  Many of these pants have a fleece lining and are moisture wicking.  Even when they get really wet, they tend to keep you warm.  

You might also want to look into something to cover your hands.  I usually just pull my sleeves over my hands rather than wearing gloves though.  I will put my Garmin on outside of my sleeves so I can see what my pace is or stop my watch at intersections.

Wear shoes that have some sort of coverage on the top.  It is always nice to have breathable shoes, but shoes with a lot of mesh venting on top will only allow the water to penetrate the top of the shoe faster.  You can even find more of waterproof running shoe, it just depends on how often you would use them.  Shoes with more cushion or a higher lift, like the Hoka One One Clifton 2 will keep you above the puddles, just a little bit more.

You want to make sure you have moisture wicking socks.  The will most likely get soaked.  I like to run in thin wool merino socks, like the Swiftwick Pursuit socks.  If you have too much padding, it will feel like you are running on wet sponges and can lead to blisters.   

You can also use waterproof headphones, like the Bluetooth Backbeat Fit by Plantronics.  They work great in all weather conditions.  Running lights like the Apace Vision lights are great too.  You can clip them to your coat to remain visible, especially when driver’s visibility is hampered by rainy windshields.  I also put my phone in a small Ziploc bag and carry a wash cloth in another Ziploc bag so I can wipe off my face.  

Now that we have talked about the clothes and gear that you need, let’s look at the other piece of the puzzle; your outlook.

You have to mentally prepare yourself for running in the rain.  I know it sounds like it would be common sense, but you have to be okay with getting wet if you are heading out in the rain.  When I run in the rain, I assume that I will be drenched to the core, not a dry piece of clothing on me, by the time I get home.  My clothes typically gain about 7-10 pounds of water weight, which is a lot to deal with.

That brings us to my second outlook tip.  Because of the extra water weight, you have to be okay with running slower than normal.  You might not be slower, but I find that it is just good to be out there in the rain and any pace is better than no pace.  You will not have as clean of a gait because you typically dodge puddles and debris, so don’t try to PR your favorite route.  

Enjoy the run.  I have found that when it is raining hard, you hear more wildlife, hear less noise pollution, and are more aware of your surroundings.  I sometimes turn off my music and just listen to the rain hitting my jacket hood or listen to the frogs as I past ponds.  It is a great way to make the time fly by.

I love challenging myself.  My friends give me crap about running in the worst weather, but I look at it differently.  I feel that if I am able to run in terrible weather, it will better prepare me for running in better weather.  Also, if I get to a race and the weather is terrible, I am used to it.  Many people really struggle because they don’t prepare for all conditions.  Prepare yourself, get motivated, and don’t let that next rain storm keep you locked in the house or gym.

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