Run in the Rain

Running in the Rain

(by Kristin Armstrong (Mile Markers, The Runner's World)

When I was in high school in Atlanta, we had a friend with a mild speech impediment, pwoblems with the awrs. We, in good fun - seriously, would crack up together and make tongue twisters. I remember one of them, "Twy saying this: Wunning Wapidly Down Woswell Woad in the Wain."

I wasn't even a wunner at that time.

In my early years of running, I love-hated the rain. If I heard it on my window, I turned off my alarm and went back to sleep. It was my excuse for a lazy day, and my lack of run combined with gray, sullen clouds, and a propensity for the munchies would inevitably lead to a bad case of the blahs. Over time, as I started running with other people instead of only solo, this became an issue as I would send an early morning message to my friends, "Raining. Back to bed. Catcha later." Later I would be surprised and mildly disappointed to learn that they had all gone running anyway, seemingly undisturbed by the weather. I can remember one gray, misty morning when we took off for a long run, only to be caught in a rain shower far from home. Nothing to do but run home, right? I laugh now, but that was a big deal to me. Perhaps that was one of many lines I drew between real runners and regular runners. (Silly wabbit, all runners are real.) My mentality was, "Why go out in that stuff if you don't have to?" Meanwhile, Paige loves running in the rain, absolutely loves it, and will in fact try to time it on purpose so she catches sprinkles. On our way home that day, her sunny nature shined through the storm, and penetrated the gloom of my mood. In spite of myself, I was having fun. It felt good, actually. That was the beginning.

Over time I have trained in the rain, on roads, dirt and the track. I have raced on trails and roads in the rain. I have headed to start lines armed with the full knowledge that rain was imminent. My whole attitude about it has shifted. Previously I felt a need to seek shelter and hunker down or hide. Now I hunker down if I feel like enjoying the rain by being cozy, or I go out and play if I feel like enjoying the rain by being active and feeling it on my skin. To date, I have never melted.

In fact, I can say that running in the rain is special. It has a redemptive quality to it, a washing clean of sorts, clearing my head and removing a layer of emotional or spiritual dust. If anything is bothering me when I begin a rain run, I actively imagine it washing off me before I return home. I love feeling the drops fall off the tip of my nose, my anemic, pruny looking fingertips, and my snarled, incorrigible mass of ponytail. I love pulling out of my squeaky shoes on entry rug, stripping off soaking socks, and padding to the shower in bare feet, peeling off soggy clothing and leaving it (splat!) in a dollop on the shower floor.

Best of all, if the rain decides to stay all day, I am peaceful and content to stay at home. My edge, my selfishness, my restlessness have all been quieted and lie panting on the floor, like a contented dog after a long walk. We have had a rainy week in Austin. After 62 consecutive days of 100 degree temperatures (for most of which, I was blessedly gone),water rationing and sprinkler schedules, brown grass, and lakes that resemble puddles with boat docks on cracked dry land - this rain is such a blessing.

It's supposed to rain, hard, all day tomorrow. We are already making plans.

Rainy weather doesn't mean you have to take your runs inside. Follow these tips to be prepared for running in the rain:

Dress in Layers

If it's cold and rainy, you may need to wear a couple of layers. The most important layer is the one closest to your body. Make sure it's a technical fabric such as polypropylene or CoolMax, which wick water and sweat away from your skin. Your outer layer should be a wind- and water-resistant jacket or vest. Don't wear a waterproof rain slicker because it will trap moisture and heat.

Wear a Hat

A hat with a brim can be your best friend during a rainy run. It will keep the rain off your face.

Don't Overdress

This is one the biggest mistakes runners make when heading out for a rainy run. Wearing more layers will not keep you dry. Unless you're running with an umbrella over your head, you will definitely get wet. If you have tons of layers on, you will just be wearing more wet, heavy clothes. Dress for the temperature, as if it were a dry day.

Be Visible

Select an outer layer that's light-colored or has reflective strips, since running in the rain often means poor visibility.

Use a Garbage Bag

If you have to wait outside in the rain before the start of a race, a big trash bag with armholes and a neck hole cut out can help you stay dry. You can take it off and throw it to the side once you get moving.

Wear Old Running Shoes at the Start

If you're running a race, keep your race shoes and socks in a plastic bag while waiting at the start. You can check your old shoes in your gear check bag, and put on your race shoes and socks right before you head to the starting line. If it has stopped raining by then, you'll be able to run the race in dry shoes and socks.

Prevent Chafing

Spread Body Glide or Vaseline on parts of your body where you would normally chafe or get blisters -- such as your feet, inner thighs, underarms, sports bra lines (women), and nipples (men).

Just Run!

The hardest part of running in the rain is often just getting started. Once you begin running and warm up, you may find that you actually enjoy it! And it's good preparation in case you ever have to run a race in the rain.

Dry Out Your Shoes

When you get back from a wet run, take off your running shoes and stuff them with crumpled balls of newspaper. This helps the shoes keep their shape, and the paper draws moisture away from the shoes.

p.s. : OK, now is to rock n' roll!


Anonymous said…
All hail rain runners!!

[sorry I got no life but stalk your blog, hehe]
amsyah said…
hear hear...

(takpa Haza - all aren't we all?)
doris 桃利思 said…
There was one time I experienced heavy down pour at the last 2km of double hills route... actually quite like it :P
amsyah said…
give me running in the rain any day instead of scorching heat.. hhahahaha

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