Running in the rain: Splish. Splash. Splosh. Smile
Running in the rain beats any indoor exercise, once you close the front door behind you
The first rule of committed running is to run whatever the weather conditions. Photograph: Getty Images
Dear Grit Doctor, it’s raining pretty much all day every day, and I never seem to have an opportunity to run. The only time it’s not raining is when I can’t run; it’s school run time or it’s too late. There is just no way I can get out there in the rain and cold, and run. Is there something else I can do inside till the weather improves? Sharon
You are absolutely right. For the past three days – or maybe even a fortnight – it’s been drizzling all day and if the forecasts, and history, are anything to go by, we are in for a lot of rain, with a smattering of gusty winds, sleet, snow and icy temperatures, most probably until next spring, and beyond.
If, like me, you really only have one window in which to run each day – mine is after I drop the boys off at nursery in the morning – and are skipping it to wait for brighter climes, you are going to be waiting a very long time.
Is there an alternative that you can do inside till the weather improves? Sure there is: dust off one of those exercise DVDs; if you are a member, go to the gym and use the treadmill instead, or take advantage of any free classes they have going on; or swim. Whatever floats your boat.
The trouble with most of these alternatives is that often when faced with such an array of choice together with all the faffing involved in getting your stuff together, your exercise window has vanished, along with your mojo. So, back to your best option: run in the rain.
Frankly, you are better off having a break from running in the summer when so many other outdoorsy sporting options are available, and when you are not quite so dependent on those running endorphins to offset the lack of warmth and sunlight.
A run in the rain, once you get over the initial gritty shock to the system, is a real bonus feature of every grey rainy day, transforming it from a potentially miserable experience into a pleasure.
When running in awful conditions, propel yourself forward with the thought that you are going to feel even more amazing afterwards. Poor weather conditions act as a potent aphrodisiac to your regular runner’s high. The only difficult part is opening the front door, facing the elements and starting off. There is no getting round this bit, which is always awful. Every. Single. Time.
Acknowledge it, accept it and then, run through it until you come out the other side, which is 10 minutes into your run, and the weather will no longer bother you.
I ran this morning; it was absolutely the last thing I felt like doing, but I went because I knew how positively it would affect the rest of my day. And the day passed by so effortlessly – despite having to stay indoors with builders in the attic, dust everywhere and drilling loud enough to wake the dead. All because of that early run in the rain.
Fail to run, however, and I feel lethargic; I’m grumpy with my kids, irritated by the builders and antsy about being stuck indoors, and blaming the cold and wet weather for keeping us trapped while scoffing muffins all day to cheer myself up.
When I choose that run in the face of any weather, the rest of the day looks a whole lot better – for me and those I care for.
Choose to skive and the opposite applies. And I find that I just don’t get the same result from any other activity, be it the gym, a Pilates class or a swim. I do enjoy them, but they don’t have such a direct and measurable impact on my capabilities and mood.
Everything in our lives that seems worse because of the cold and rain is improved immeasurably by sticking two proverbial fingers up at it.
Once you start to run, some waterproof kit, particularly a jacket with hood, will make this an infinitely more palatable prospect. At the moment I am running kitted out in Sweaty Betty togs (see sweatybetty.com: it delivers all over Ireland). And all the things that irk about autumn and winter, will irk you no more. Focus on looking uber hot at the Christmas party, if it helps galvanise you to get out of doors and into action.
The Grit Doctor remembershoping
Ruth Field is author of Run, Fat B!tch, Run and Get Your Sh!t Together.