Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How to run in the rain (without wishing you were dead)

Occasionally, there's a point in my training regimen in which I come to a grim realization that my scheduled run will likely coincide with a torrential downpour.

Yesterday, it happened. I had a 4-mile run penciled in that was to do double-duty as both my workout and my evening commute, but Weather Channel was forecasting all manner of doom and gloom and high winds. A more sensible person might have taken their run indoors to a treadmill. I decided to tough it out.

The single worst aspect of a run in the rain is the anticipation. Drizzle, mist, or downpour? Lightning? Bottomless puddles? Is the temperature going to drop significantly? Will it be too humid? Can't it just hold off for an hour so I can get home?

But actually running in the rain? It's wonderful. Really! Even Runner's World recommends it, claiming that it will "make you feel alive" (see tip #31). Not to mention that the passersby who stare at you with horror and fascination will make you feel like the baddest badass around. Now, don't you want to try it? Sure you do! Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Remove any non-waterproof eye makeup. In a pinch, wear a hat; but that will only help somewhat. Otherwise, your run will be spent squinting and wiping away tears.

2. Wear close-fitting clothing in fabrics that don't absorb much water. Under Armour's Heat Gear and Nike's Pro Combat are two product lines I've tried that work pretty well for such occasions. Just don't wear white unless you've got adequate coverage something sassy underneath.

3. Wear an older, alternate pair of running sneakers. If you get caught in a downpour, or run through a puddle, your shoes will need some time to completely dry. If not allowed to dry, they'll smell like swamp and dead animals. With that in mind, try to:

4. Resist the temptation to splash into a huge puddle. It's only fun until cold, murky water seeps in around your toes.

Oh, and my 4-miler? Not one drop. Go figure.

Recommended reading: Expert Tips for Running in the Rain []