I realize that I am only 27 years old, but this summer has been one of the wettest (if not THE wettest) I can remember. It seems like in June (and now in August), the weather app on my iPhone shows those little t-storms almost every single day. In fact, I vividly remember the back to back June flood days in Sioux Falls; partly because it flooded my grandparent's basement in the south part of town, but mostly because of the small little "pings" on my car left from the hail. That afternoon I tried to make my way through town down 41st street, with very little luck as the only non-flooded lane I could drive was in the center turn lane.
With these two rainy months in the summer, I've realized that my attitude about running has changed dramatically since I graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 2010. There was one time in college where we headed out to do a four mile tempo, but two miles in (at the turnaround point), the tornado sirens went off. No one had ever coached what to do in that situation, so we just kept going (not a smart thing to do). Then with one mile left in the workout, a huge lightning crash hit off to our left (again, not a smart thing to be running in that weather).
I've noticed now that my attitude has shifted from the "run at all costs" mentality to the other side of the spectrum. It's happened numerous times where I will be all ready to go out for a run, only to feel what I think might be rain and go back inside. After all, I don't want to get wet while I'm out getting sweaty (I realize that logic makes zero sense). With that being said, I wanted to write a few tips for dealing with non-snow, inclement weather:
1) If you hear tornado sirens, go to your basement, not out the front door for a run. If you are already out on your run, seek shelter immediately. Don't push your luck like I did.
2) If you see lightning/hear thunder, stay inside. Run on a treadmill, or get on a stationary bike for cross training. Again, don't put yourself in unnecessary danger. Another option is to wait until the storm passes to run. Same rules apply to hail.
3) If it's just raining out, feel free to go jumping in puddles; just be wary of #1 and #2. Running is a lot of fun when you realize that your shirt/shorts/socks/shoes will get soaked.
4) If you decide to run in the rain, make sure you use preventative Body Glide or vaseline or some kind of anti-chaffing mechanism. Apply liberally and thank me later.
5) Avoid cotton; cotton socks, cotton shirts, everything cotton. Not only does it soak up all the water and make for some incredibly heavy clothing, but it will inspire you to follow tip #4 going forward. Try picking up some Balega socks from the store instead. They are like walking on clouds.
6) When your shoes DO get soaked in the above mentioned ways, you need to take some immediate precautions. Remove your insoles and stuff the toe of your shoes with some moisture-wicking material, some of my favorites are newspaper, old rags or when necessary, paper towels. Doing this will keep the toe shape of your shoe intact and will speed up the drying process. Otherwise you'll be left running in cold, wet shoes for the next day or two.
7) As soon as you get done running, dry off. Take a shower, pop some vitamin c, eat a Clif Bar (or something equally good) and relax. This will help your body stay healthy at a vulnerable spot.
Happy running (unless it's storming all day long; in that case, enjoy a well-deserved day off)!