Tropical storm Lee passed through the area this memorial day weekend. I have been asked several times, “How do you run your long run if it rains?” Well, you can run in the rain, run inside or reschedule.
I actually do not mind running in the rain. I do not like starting a run in a downpour but if it happens during the run you just have to take it in stride. I will run in the rain. And I will run in the cold. But I draw the line at running in the cold rain. Fortunately, living in South Mississippi – cold and rain are a rarity.
If fact, some of my very best runs have been in the rain. It can feel like you are running between the rain drops. You are not much wetter than running in the humid south anyway and the rain is cooler than your sweat. Furthermore, you almost always have the running paths to yourself. When you do come across someone you generally give each other a look like – damn right, I’m a real runner – bring it on Mother Nature.
Here are some tips to make your rainy runs successful:
1. Nipple chaffing – you have to minimize the chaffing. A lot of people do this with liberal use of body glide or Vaseline. I prefer tight clothing. Guys are susceptible to raw nipples – you know, you have seen the guy at the end of a marathon with the bloody spots on his chest. That guy had no fun what so ever. They make products to help with this (nip guards) or you can use band aides. But once again, I prefer tight clothing. A compression shirt will do wonders. The tighter the better. I was talking with a local athlete recently and they told me a story of a girl putting a water bottle in their sports bar (in their cleavage) and they started to get some chaffing. So girls, this applies to you as well – wear a tight sports bar. When your soaking wet you must prevent chaffing.
2. Thigh chaffing – this is also a problem when you are completely soaked. Nothing can ruin a run faster than a painful rash developing with every step. You can use the body guides and stuff but once again, compression clothing comes into play. I wear a pair of compression shorts under my running shorts in the rain (I actually wear them on all of my runs – like a sports bra for men).
3. Shoes – You are going to get wet and those high mileage trainers are going to soak up all of that water. I prefer to wear a light weight trainer or racing flat. The lighter the shoes the better. If you have triathlon shoes with drain holes, even better. As you run your shoes are going to get heavier and heavier. The less of a shoe you wear, the less weight it will gain. After a couple of miles you will notice the added weight of the shoes. Not only are they squishy but the added weight can change you running mechanics.
light weight shoes
4. Socks – Forget the cushioned cotton socks. Wear the thinnest, lightest, most plastic socks you can find. You know, the 100% polyester socks that you never wear. These are the best for the rain. They don’t soak up any water.
5. Hat – You have to wear a hat or visor to keep the rain off of your face.
6. Glasses – I wear glasses all of the time. If I am doing sport then I wear contacts and wear sunglasses. But I don’t wear glasses in the rain. They will just get covered in water droplets and obscure your vision.
7. GPS – I wear my Garmin 305 even though it is only water resistant. If you have had one of these for a while you know that the beep gets duller and duller. This is due to water and sweat entering through the speaker. Oh well, I still wear my Garmin.
8. MP3 – I listen to music at a low volume. I have an old mp3 player that has weathered dozens of storms and keeps on kicking. I have heard many stores of iPods not faring as well. If you can’t replace it today then leave it at home.
DISCLAIMER – It is okay to run in the rain but be careful. Don’t run in thunderstorms. Lightening will kill you. It is dark and cars can’t see you as well. Don’t take unnecessary risks. Live to run another day.