I was able to avoid running in the rain for the first 18 months of my life as a runner. With a 15 mile training run on the schedule and ten weeks until the Rochester Marathon, postponing for a week was not an option. So I stalked the Weather Channel radar until the thunderstorms had (mostly) cleared and set out.
Top 5 (+1) things I learned running in the rain:
5. Don’t venture too far away.
Thunderstorms had just rolled through, and there was a chance for more, so I stuck close to home. Running 15 miles on the high school track about a half-mile from my house wasn’t the most scenic long run I’ve had, but it afforded me the opportunity to bail if severe weather rolled in.
4. Double-baggies are your friend.
I nearly always run with my iPhone. For long runs I like to listen to podcasts (Mickey Miles Podcast and Disney Hipsters Podcast are two of my favorites). I run with a Fitletic neoprene belt, which is water resistant, but not waterproof. So I put my iPhone in a zip top sandwich baggie, and then in a second one (with the opening of the first baggie pointing down to the bottom of the second baggie). That way, any rain that got into my belt’s pouch would have a nearly impossible time getting to my phone. And the touchscreen still works through two bags, by the way!
3. Leave some towels by the door for when you return.
I failed to do this, but luckily my daughter was able to run upstairs and bring me one.
2. A hat is a must, but don’t overlook a visor
I switched from wearing a baseball cap to a visor earlier this year. I always thought visors looked nerdy and were more appropriate for the LPGA. But I found that, even with a Nike Dri-Fit vented lightweight cap, I was overheating. I’d end up ditching the hat after 2-3 miles and squinting in the sun the rest of the run.
I switched to a visor a couple of months ago and wish I had done so sooner. However, I didn’t think overheating in the summer rain would be an issue, and I was worried the visor wouldn’t keep the rain off my head as effectively as a cap. I was wrong. After a few minutes my cap was soaked and I ended up getting too hot with it on, so I alternated wearing it and ditching it. Next time, I’ll wear the visor the whole time.
1. Once you’re wet, you’re wet.
Seems obvious, right? But I had planned on ducking for cover during heavier rain, and coming out for light rain. But I quickly discovered that once I was wet, I couldn’t really get any wetter. When the rain picked up, I just pulled my hat down a little lower and kept moving forward.
+1: You will feel totally bad ass!
New runners display a long-standing pattern of insecurity as to whether or not they are “real” runners. But nothing will make you feel more hardcore than running in the rain. The bewildered stares from onlookers only increased my sense of pride as I pounded out mile after mile.
Those are my Top 5 (+1) lessons learned from running in the rain. Having done it, I hope I don’t really have to for another 18 months, but at least I know it’s not only no big deal, it’s actually a little bit fun.