8 TIPS TO RUN IN THE RAIN
The rainy season is arriving and you cannot cope with the idea of becoming a victim of the treadmill? Although it is hard to take the first step in what is far from being the perfect weather conditions for training or racing, running in the rain can be rewarding and beneficial.
Your body temperature rises while you are exercising and the warmer you get the more you have to sweat to maintain your body functioning well. Even an increase of a couple of degrees in climate conditions can compromise your performance. Rain can be effective in cooling as it promotes less thermal stress on the body, lower heart rate and perceived exertion.
Unless you are running in freezing cold rain or during a thunderstorm (I truly suggest not to), running in the rain can help you relieve stress. Rainwater has a cleansing effect and the sound of the rain is relaxing which can bring your mind to a more calm and balanced state.
If the rain is chilly, your body has to work more to keep it warm which increases your metabolic rate and therefore makes you burn more calories.
Although running on sunny days is much more appealing, running in the rain can help you to challenge yourself by dealing with adverse conditions, especially if you are in a race. Dealing with adversity is a great opportunity to learn more about yourself and how to react in such situations when things get out of your control. Moreover, you can improve your self-awareness, staying present and focused and that will ensure you take control of your mental and emotional state, crucial factors for best performance.
If skipping running is not a valid option on rainy days, here are some tips that may help you to make it enjoyable whether during a training session or a race.
1.Choose your clothes carefully
No matter how good is your rain jacket, you have to embrace the idea that you are going to get wet when you go running in the rain. Try to avoid cotton t-shirts and socks because this type of fabric soaks up water and sticks to your skin. This causes more chafing and creates problems with temperature regulation. Synthetic fabrics specifically designed for running have thermal properties even when wet, making them a better choice to run in the rain.
Baggy t-shirts and shorts will give you that annoying sensation of having something heavy and wet swinging around your body. Form-fitting clothes are closer to your body and will provide more comfort during running, saving you from feeling heavy.
If you are using a jacket, make sure that it’s specifically designed for running and it is breathable. Waterproof jackets that are not breathable might keep you dry, however, it is easy to overdress and get uncomfortably hot. Dress more for temperature, not for rain. You will get wet anyway.
2. Use the right shoes
Your shoes are going to be completely soaked, so you have to pick the right one for rainy conditions. Make sure your shoes are made from breathable fabrics with mesh vents on the upper to allow any moisture to escape, reducing the risk of blisters as well as soggy feet.
The slippery conditions can slow you down whether you are running on trails or roads. The soles need to have a good grip to fit the slippery surface not just for safety, but also for better force application.
If it is raining before the race, use a pair of socks and shoes to warm up and change into your race kit right before the race time, so you can start dry.
3. Wear a brimmed-hat
Wearing a brimmed-hat will keep water out of your face and help you focus on the road or trail. It is important especially if you are running on trails to avoid roots, rocks or branches you could trip over.
When it is warm and rainy, wear a breathable hat, so you don’t get your head overheated. If it is rainy, cold and windy, choose a thicker one and consider using a headband under it to protect your ears.
4. Be visible
Rainy conditions offer poor visibility not only for runners, but also for drivers. Make sure to wear very bright or light-coloured layers with reflective strips to make yourself visible especially if you choose to run in heavy traffic places
5. Avoid chafing
Chafing can be much worse if you are wet from the rain during running. You can use a body glide on parts of your body where you tend to suffer from chafing or get blisters, such as your feet, thighs, underarms, underwear lines, sports bra lines in women and nipples in men
6. Change clothes
Once you have stopped running, your body will start cooling down and it will happen too rapidly when you are still in wet clothes. Take your clothes off as soon as you get home to avoid the risk of hypothermia. If you are racing, bring an extra set of clothes so you can change right after crossing the finish line.
7. Take care of your shoes
It is important to clean your running shoes properly so they don't get that unpleasant mouldy smell from being wet and dirty for several days. Remove the insoles and laces from your shoes, use a mild soap and a soft brush to wash them. Remove excess water before stuffing your shoes with newspaper to soak up the remaining moisture. You can also place the shoes and insoles in front of a fan to dry them faste.r
We often see a rainy day as a big obstacle to a training session or a big race. There is nothing you can do about the weather. Instead of complaining about it and compromising the best moment of your day, shift to a positive mindset, thinking of running in the rain as a unique and enjoyable experience. It can be an adventure and a new way to explore your regular routes. You will find yourself jumping and splashing through puddles like a kid and, once you have finished your workout, you will have a feeling of satisfaction knowing that you overcame a challenge.
Next time you see the rain through the window, put your running shoes on, dress properly and prepare to enjoy getting wet more than ever. After all, you are not made of sugar.