Long Run in the Rain

Rain has been the theme of the weather for the last couple of weeks.

Thankfully, this past weekend, it didn’t rain and I was able to get my long run in amidst clouds and only minor sprinkles. Two weeks ago, however, I did my 16 mile long run in the rain. While it’s one thing to do a quick 3-6 miles in the rain, it’s another thing to drag my butt out the door when I know I’m going to be out there for hours, it’s cozy inside, and things like hot chocolate exist.

It’s one thing to go out for a race in the rain – when I’ve paid money, I’ve been looking forward to it, and I might have friend running with me. It’s another thing when nothing but my training schedule and my determination is making me get out.

But you know what? I actually loved the run. Not at the beginning, mind you. Not when I hadn’t warmed up and the rain was cold and all I could think about was how miserable I was. But I kid you not: somewhere around 8 miles, I had the thought, “It’s a glorious day, why isn’t anyone else out here??” (I’ll admit it took me another mile before I figured out why). The trees were lush. The flowers were trumpeting their colors. Birds were singing and the red of swooping cardinals slashed the trail. Also, I had my trail – what is normally pretty busy on the weekends – to myself.

And I got to thinking. Running is a lot about learning what we can control and what we can’t. It’s letting go of what we can’t control and choosing our responses to what we can. I couldn’t control the fact that it was raining. But I did decide to get out there. I could decide whether or not to have a good time, or be miserable and grumbling the whole way. We don’t pick injuries, but we can pick our responses to them – healthy scaling back or bull-headed pushing through.

We don’t pick these less-than-ideal circumstances, but we do pick how we approach them.

I ended up really liking my run. And now, if it does rain for my marathons, I’m not as worried. When training for a marathon, we train our bodies, our nutrition, our minds… everything. Now that I’ve also got training in the rain, I feel more prepared.

Plus, this image summed up a lot of my feelings…..

Here are some tips for running in the rain:

1. Dress in warmer clothes. If it’s summer, this doesn’t really apply. But for cooler temperatures, the rain is going to be cold, and it’s going to have a cooling effect. It’s one thing to be wet. It’s another to be wet and cold and risking your health.

2. Leave the tech at home. You’re already running in the rain. You don’t need to come home soggy…. and with a malfunctioning phone/iPod.

3. Be careful of wet leaves. Those nice leaves that crunch when it’s not raining and make you think of all things fall…. well, they might lead to a different kind of fall when wet.

4. Don’t forget to hydrate. It can be really easy to forget take in water when you’re surrounded by it. Your throat won’t feel dry. You won’t feel yourself sweating. But you still need water. I made the mistake of under-hydrating on my 16-miler, and that led headache for the next 24 hours. Not fun. Not worth it.

5. When you’re done, put newspaper in your shoes. This helps them dry faster. And maybe have a hot drink lined up. I swear it will make you run faster, knowing that Pumpkin Spice Latte or hot chocolate or spiced apple cider is waiting for you.

6. And for the things you can’t control…. let it go : )

Sorry, I couldn’t resist : )
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