I “dripped” into the store this morning after a 5 mile jog. If you were in Birmingham this morning, you totally understand my use of the word “dripped”! Tracy P says to me, “Did you enjoy your run this morning?” I respond, “I did!!! I love running in the rain! Did you enjoy your run this morning?” Tracy says, in his perfect Southern drawl with big grin on his face, “I ran in my house!” There was a moment of silence as my mind began to wonder! Here’s the deal, I’ve known Tracy P for a long time, I’ve been to his house on occasion, and I KNOW there’s no treadmill or running in place apparatus to be seen! “What the heck do you mean, you ran in your house?!” With the same “you know what” eating grin, and the same perfect Southern drawl, “I mean, I ran in my house. From here to there, around the counter, in the “keechen”!” The only response I could come up with was, “WOW!”, and will you please get this activity on camera next time?!
Now, I told that story, not to reveal the latest craze in training, but to talk about one of my favorite running conditions. I LOVE RUNNING IN THE RAIN!!! I think it started in high school as a sort of “badge of honor” thing. Everyone would always be amazed when I was out in a down pour running miles. It only got worse, or better depending upon your perspective, in college when there was no such thing as a day off. Add a psycho roommate who would wake me in the middle of the night to go run in a typhoon, and VOILA!! Also, a wise coach once said to me, “What if it rains on race day?”. Now that I’ve been in the running specialty biz for 15 years, I am always surprised by the number of people who come into the store asking advice about what to wear if rain is in the forecast on race day! “What did you wear while training?” would be the obvious question, but there’s a lot of us who just take the day off. Well, here’s a rain running enthusiast’s advice and suggestions on what to wear from toe to head.
Shoes: Buy two pairs! Why? Christmas is around the corner and we’ve got to buy some new toys for our 1 year old! Just kidding! When you do venture out in the rain, you’ll have a dry pair the next day. This also is a helpful tip for you heavy sweaters in the summer! If two pairs of shoes just isn’t in the budget, take the insoles out, and either stuff the shoes with newspaper to absorb the moisture or lay them in front of a fan, the fridge, or a vent to dry out. Personally, I prefer a light weight shoe on wet days. Make your second pair of shoes a performance trainer! If race day is a wet marathon, have someone meet you half way with the dry pair of shoes. Thirty seconds to change shoes in the middle of a rainy marathon is well worth it!!
Socks: Stealing an old golf phrase, Thin to Win! This one is pretty simple! Thick sock + Rain = Wet, Heavy Feet! Thin not only refers to the overall weight of the sock, but the thickness of the fibers. That means, NO COTTON!! Poly, Nylon, Acrylic, and Lycra fibers are all thinner than cotton and will hold less moisture.
Apparel: Dressing for a summer shower is easy! Wear as little as possible. In the fall and winter, it gets a little tricky! Obviously, rain only makes a cold day colder, and everybody is different. That is why training and experimenting with clothes is important. The same rule with socks applies to clothes. COTTON IS ROTTEN! Again, non cotton fibers are thinner and hold less moisture, which helps keep you warm. The biggest decision to make is jacket or vest. I prefer a vest. I’m hot natured and just get too warm in a jacket. Either will protect you from the moisture and the wind. Remember this: Start Cold, Finish Comfortable. Start Warm, Finish Miserable!
Accessories: I normally start with gloves, but if the temp is above 40, I normally shed them. I always wear a cap. The bill keeps the rain out of my eyes, and oh yeah, I’m bald! Finally, but maybe most importantly, don’t forget the lube!! Wet things have a tendency to become sticky and abrasive, which causes chaffing! Use plenty of Skin Sake or BodyGlide on your feet, legs, underarms, and chest!
Song of the Day: “There There” by Radiohead! Perfect timing on the playlist this morning! It came on as I was climbing the last hill to the store over Oxmoor Road. Say what you will about the freaky, elf looking lead singer, but I love their music, and this song is definitely one of their best!