News flash! It rains in the Pacific Northwest, a lot. If you wait to only run outside when it’s not raining, you may never get outside from November to February. The image to in this post is the weather forecast for the next 10 days in Bellevue as of 1/13/16 (just to make point).
I find running in the rain can be quite refreshing and it brings back all my child-like behavior. I have two kids, 4 and 8, and they love the rain. Stomping in puddles, looking for slugs and getting soaked was fun for us all at one point. At some point, we all became "grown-ups" and "grown-ups" don't play in the rain. "Grown-ups" are sensible people, and sensible people stay dry I suppose.
You have two choices: you can go inside to a sweaty, hot, overcrowded gym and wait for a treadmill to open up OR you can accept, nay embrace, the rain. There is a third option, is not exercising, but you may never exercise at all Nov-Feb. (Option #4 is to move to a desert somewhere, but this is not a Real Estate blog).
Here's four sensible tips that can help us grown-ups get back out in the rain:
1. Keep your core warm – If there is one piece of running apparel not to skimp on its your rain jacket. A good rain jacket will keep your upper body dry by both repelling the rain, but also being breathable enough to let your sweat escape. A cheap rain poncho may keep the water out, but keeping the sweat in is just as bad and defeats the purpose of trying to stay dry. Keeping your core dry and comfortable will help you keep the other parts of your body warm.
2. Wear less clothing – Yes, you need to wear enough to keep your core dry and warm. However, overdressing can be just as dangerous as underdressing. If you wear too much clothing, you will sweat and soak from the inside out, leaving you more vulnerable to getting chilled, or worse, hypothermic. Plus, the more you sweat, the more you’ll be in danger of being dehydrated. Finally, the more wet clothes you have on while running, the more likely you will get chafed from all the baggy wet clothes. I try to wear tighter fitting clothes in the rain to reduce the chafe. If you keep your core dry, you can wear shorts in much lower temperatures that you think.
3. Wear wool socks – Wool is the best performance fabric we have, and it comes from natural sources too! In rain, wool’s main benefit is that it maintains heat even when wet. Cotton and polyester don’t do that. Make sure to buy soft, high quality wool, like Marino wool or goat wool.
4. Wear ZERO cotton – Cotton absorbs water, and becomes heavy, cold and wet. I know the cotton industry has marketing “the look, the feel of cotton” well. It’s great for sleeping in, but a bad performance fabric.