Blog · Fitness

Preparing to run in the rain

img_20161101_124300.jpgI went for a run a couple days ago. Actually it was a slow jog with a couple of walk breaks in the beginning. At first, this baby wasn’t sure she wanted me to jog at all. I’m very cautious whenever I exercise because I don’t want to push too hard or do anything that would cause me to go on bed rest or even worse – trigger early labor! A strong, healthy pregnancy is also a full term pregnancy, and after Eve and Vera were born at 32 weeks, I’m ever mindful of doing whatever it takes to help this baby bake a little longer.

But enough of that…

Exercising when pregnant can be challenging. Not only because you need to be more careful but also because everything is just a little bit harder. I’m fairly certain that running three miles while pregnant is the equivalent to running five miles, on hills, when you’re not. Someday there will be a research paper to prove my pregnant vs. non-pregnant miles theory. 😉

There’s been a big mental adjustment to running while pregnant as well. Instead of pushing through discomfort, I am more tuned into it. And instead of seeing my speed and distance improve over time, I’m getting slower and going shorter distances. All natural changes that any athlete, recreational or professional, has to understand and accept when their body is changing so much.

And that’s OK. Though I’m usually competitive with myself and want to see improvements, or at least no regression, I’m proud of my longer times because it means I haven’t quit. I’m still out there doing as much as I can whenever I can.

I was thinking about this the other day as I slowly moved one foot in front of the other. And then it dawned on me.

The mental adjustments made when running during a pregnancy are similar to those made when running outside in bad weather. With the change of seasons upon us, there will be many days that the weather will tempt us to stay inside, to keep comfortable. I beg you, do not give in.

If you saw my post the other week, you know that I don’t particularly enjoy running in the rain. If it’s a super-hot day in the summer then it’s not so bad because you temporarily get cooled down, until the humidity jumps up, that is. In the spring and fall though – no thank you. I once ran five miles in the rain on a 46° day. Let me tell you, it was mind over matter. However, I would still choose to run five miles in the rain on a cold day than to not run at all.

By now you all know that I try not to find excuses to spend money. In fact, I’m developing habits that will make it harder for me to part with my hard-earned cash. That’s why I wanted to share the few things I find essential for running in the rain. If they’re not items you already have on hand, they are ones that you can probably buy at a bargain price.

4 Things You Need to Run in the Rain (or Snow)

Old Running Shoes

One of the best parts about running is how little it costs. All you really need is a pair of running shoes. That’s probably why I am so protective of mine. I only wear them when I run and I’m careful not to ruin them when I’m out in undesirable conditions. Which is why I never wear my newest pair of running shoes if it’s raining.

I always have two pairs of running shoes: my “new” pair for most runs, and my “newly retired” pair for the rest of the runs. If it’s raining or the roads are covered in slush, I wear the old shoes. This way my new pair of shoes are still dry and ready for me to kill the next run. And I’ll get even more miles out of them.

To save your feet from blisters, it helps to wear a good pair of moisture wicking socks as well. And if the soles of your shoes are really worn down so you don’t get a lot of traction, consider buying a cheap pair of sneakers for your rain runs instead of using an old pair. Running in the rain with sneakers that have no grip is not a good idea, so you may have to compromise on your budget for this one.

Total cost: $0 – $40

Windbreaker / Raincoat

If it’s 80°F outside, then running in the rain feels good. On these fall days, it does not. To prevent yourself from getting soaked and chilled to the bone, wear a windbreaker that repels moisture. Anything made of nylon will work. You will stay relatively dry but you will also trap in your body heat so you don’t get too cold.

If you do a Google search, you’ll find all kinds of jackets designed for running in the rain and at all different prices. Most are expensive enough that I would never consider buying one. But if running in the rain is something you are forced to do regularly, it may be worth buying something of quality. A good jacket will last you years. However, it does not have to be a jacket designed for running. It has to work, it doesn’t have to be fancy.

If you already have some type of windbreaker or water resistant jacket, give it a try!

Total cost: $0 – $200

Hat

The only hat I like to wear when running in the rain is a ball cap. Sure, there are fancy running hats out there, but just an average ball cap will do.

When I need to keep the rain out of my eyes, I wear a hat I bought a few years ago on a ski trip to Utah. It’s not waterproof or fancy, but it works just fine.

Total cost: $0 – $25

Mental Grit

This is the most important thing you can carry with you on any run. When you run in the rain, your feet will get wet. Your everything will get wet. You will get cold. The roads will be slick. You’ll have to slow down. You’ll have to choose your steps carefully.

But you don’t have to quit.

Running requires a certain amount of mental toughness. If you’re already a runner, then you’re used to pushing through discomfort. So whether you run because you love it or you run because you love to eat, quitting is not an option for you. And it doesn’t have to be.

Total cost: $0

To sum it all up…

As the fall rain and winter snow come down, remember to slow down and be careful. But don’t quit.

For a safe run, wear bright colors to make sure you’re visible to traffic. If it’s cold, dress in layers and choose material that will keep you dry and help prevent chaffing.

I am posting the progression of my “pregnant runs” on Instagram (as FitGrape). You’ll see how I’m slowing down but I hope you’ll help cheer me on until the end!

If you’re pushing through a workout when circumstances give you an excuse to quit, share it with us using #fitgrape.

Let’s help keep each other moving!

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