Tips for surviving and embracing rainy runs
Who doesn’t love a rainy run every once in a while, right? Nothing beats splashing through and leaping over muddy puddles like a kid, and then returning home basking in your own ability to overcome the elements. But having to deal with rain on most or all of your runs is a totally different ball game. Childlike glee can quickly get replaced by frustration, which might even lead to reluctance to get out there and run.
So what are you to do? Is there a way to not only survive, but embrace rainy runs? Can frequently running in the rain actually be enjoyable? The good news is that it is indeed possible. With a little bit of planning, and a whole lot of mental reprogramming, rainy runs can become the least of your training worries. In fact, it might even become one of the highlights of your running regime. Here’s how to survive and embrace rainy runs.
Keep an eye on the weather forecast
Being well prepared for a rainy run is much better than getting caught off guard by a rainy run. So keep an eye on the weather forecast. The weatherman is obviously not always spot on with his predictions, but having just a vague idea of when to expect rain can be very helpful when planning a run. Get into the habit of checking the weather forecast at the beginning of each week, and before going to bed each night. And then plan and set out the right running gear accordingly.
Be flexible with your running routine
Try not to cast your training schedule in stone. If Saturdays call for a long run, but nothing but doom and gloom is forecast weather-wise, then rather switch things up and run on a Sunday instead. Make it your goal to complete x amount of workouts during the week, and y amount over weekends, no matter on which day they fall. Days with pouring rain are perfect for rest and recovery, or perhaps even some indoor foam rolling and strength training. So keep an eye on the weather forecast and try to loosely plan accordingly.
If you live in a high rainfall area, it might be worth your while to invest in a few pieces of waterproof running gear. A light, waterproof outer shell with a hood, that you can easily stash away when not needed, is a good place to start. They might be pricey, but investing in a good quality outer shell will keep you relatively comfortable and dry on your runs for years to come. And why not consider getting a brightly colored one to double up as a piece of high vis safety gear?
And should you ever find yourself on a running holiday or work trip without your waterproof outer shell, don’t fret. A clean garbage bag with holes cut out for your head and arms work very well as a short-term solution.
Another vital piece of running gear for rainy conditions is a cap or visor that can keep the water out of your eyes. Try to find one made of a water repelling fabric, and remember that the longer the peak, the less water will get into your eyes.
And then last, but not least, try to limit your wet weather running outfit to quick-drying, lightweight items. Nothing is quite as frustrating as being bogged down by a waterlogged cotton t-shirt or sweatpants or thick, chunky socks. And, who knows, the sun might just surprise you with an appearance sometime during your run. You’ll definitely want to dry out as quick as possible if and when that happens.
Waterproof your gear
Although investing in some good quality, waterproof gear is the basis for an enjoyable rainy run, you can go one step further by applying a waterproofing spray to your gear. A variety of multi-purpose waterproofing sprays are currently available on the market. And, in addition to keeping your gear dry and dirt-free, some spray manufacturers even claim that regular use of their product may increase the durability of your shoes and gear. And that sounds like a pretty good deal to us.
Don’t forget to lube!
Wet running shoes and gear tend to cause a lot more chafing than dry gear, so don’t skimp on the lube. Slather some petroleum jelly or anti-chafe balm on all areas prone to chafing before your run. Pay particular attention to your feet, nipples, the areas under your bra seam, upper arms and thighs. You definitely don’t want to spoil your much awaited post-run shower with that excruciating freshly chafed feeling!
Phone a friend
If you find that you battle to brave the elements on your own, enlist the help of a running buddy. Just like pre-dawn running appointments are so much easier to keep when there’s a friend waiting for you, rainy runs are easier to conquer with company.
If it literally rains for weeks on end, why not consider doing one or two of your weekly running workouts indoors? The options are endless. What about a hill or interval workout on the treadmill? Or fartleks on an indoor running track? Or how about giving your joints a break and doing some deep water running in an indoor pool? Yes, treadmills and tracks can be boring and yes, doing all of your training indoors isn’t ideal. But scheduling one or two indoor workouts a week is sure to give you a bit of a mental break from facing the elements when the weather is really relentless.
Change your mindset
Running in the rain can be emotionally cleansing and extremely therapeutic – if you let it. So, if Mother Nature decides to bless your long-awaited running vacation (or permanent living conditions) with an abundance of rain, try to change your attitude towards it. Instead of dreading heading out the door, pat yourself on the back for having the discipline to stick to your running routine despite the rain. Besides, very few things in life make you feel quite as hard-core as conquering the elements!