Last Saturday, I stood on my porch, hit the button on my GPS watch to tell it to locate a satellite, and sighed. It was not a glorious spring day. No, I stared at a street soaked by a downpour.
These are not ideal conditions in which to run, and I could have retreated to a treadmill. But my sister was running her first marathon that day in the rain, and was glad to have trained in the rain. It helps you prepare for any races on days when water dumps out of the sky.
I've been there before - in training runs and in races. Here's what you can do to make rainy runs less painful, and safer too.
1. Wear bright colors. Yes, this seems obvious, but I passed runners dressed in all black or gray in the rain. My experience has been that drivers are less likely to look for you in bad weather because they don't expect you to be out in bad weather, so wear something flashy - if not an actual light, but something in a different color than your surroundings. I also stick to paved trails to cut down on being missed by a driver.
2. Don't overdress. The temperature hit 50 degrees which is why I didn't bother with a rain jacket. It would have formed an envelope around me and trapped in heat on a relatively warm day. Take the forecast temperature into account when choosing layers, not precipitation. If you don't want to get soaked, a good go-between is a reflective running vest. It'll provide the flash for drivers to see you, and also keep your core at least somewhat dry.
3. Slow your expectations. I set out to do a tempo run, and just missed my marks - but I told myself that's okay since I had to side step mud slicks, and at times, was running through ankle-deep water. I gave that workout an A+ based on effort, not by what my watch said.
4. Getting soaked. The worst part is getting to the point of being soaked. Those first few strides when you're still dry can be misery. Once you're soaked, it can't get much worse.
5. Bundle up when you're done. Even if you're doing a relatively warm rain run, get out of your wet clothes as soon as possible or you'll chill and immediately start shaking. I take off my wet running clothes and put them right into the washer, opting for warm sweatpants and sweatshirt while I have my post-run meal.
5. Dry your shoes. After the workout, you can dry your shoes faster by taking out the bottom lining (they come out and go back in easily) and stuffing those shoes with newspaper, replacing every two hours if your shoes are particularly drenched. I put mine in the dining room so that they're not trying to dry on a damp front porch.