A 5-Step Guide to Rainy Runs: I’m Out the Door. Now What?

Mother Nature has been cruel this week, what with all the raining and thundering and fog. More often than not, I’ll run if it’s raining lightly, and if I don’t, chances are the sun will be shining the following morning, and so I can get away with strength training or even taking a day off altogether.

For those of you who don’t live in New York City, I’m not even kidding when I say that it’s been raining for 5 days straight now. And if you do live here, are you not incredibly sick of walking around with an umbrella and slicker?

Common Mother N. Throw us a freaking bone here.

Despite my “running slump” of earlier this week, when I took a rest day on Monday and spent Tuesday strength training, by Wednesday, I really, really wanted to run. Fortunately, the rain held off for the hour I was out there, and as it turned out, the sun was at least making an attempt to peek through the clouds. I’d take what I could get.

When I woke up on Thursday morning, the sun was gone yet again, only to be replaced by gross grayness and a lingering mist. I might have looked out my window and said screw it. I might have gotten back in bed. But instead, I pulled on my shorts, tossed on a loose, old white t-shirt—a super soft one at that—laced up and forced myself out the door 15 minutes before I normally would.

Step 1: Don’t think. Just do. Even if it’s early.

Had I thought about it, I’d have wandered around my apartment vacuuming up dust balls, watering the plants, or simply staring out the window trying to determine whether I could spot rain drops in the puddles on the roof of the building across the way. That’s the first important ingredient in the recipe for running success on a rainy day. Stop thinking. Get out the door. Even if you can’t see the tops of buildings, start running. You won’t melt.

(That’s where the Chrysler Building was.)

See, that wasn’t so bad, was it?

Step 2: Convince yourself it’s not so bad.

This is really only a problem during colder months of the year. Running in the rain during October or November can be as dooming as licking a Petri dish. In the late spring and summer though, the rain can actually feel like a treat, because even while you’re working up a sweat, you never actually overheat. A bonus? For Manhattanites, rain also helps to ease the misery of summer’s impending and unwavering humidity.

Step 3: Find your groove.

Now that you’re plugging along, you’ve likely gotten over the fact that your face, hair and t-shirt are moister than they were 10 minutes ago. Great. Now you can get on with your run, and do so like a champion.

By the time I got to Central Park on Thursday morning, I was soaked. It looked like I had jumped into a pool, then dumped a bucket of water over my head, then ran through sprinklers, and then slipped on my sneakers and kept running. My hair was tossed up on the top of my head like a doorknob; my mascara from the night before (I drank half a bottle of wine; ideal) was most definitely bleeding. In other words, I looked like a hot mess, with an emphasis on the latter.

The best part about running though? None of the former descriptors had any impact on the quality of my morning (save for the half bottle of wine, but whatever). Entering at the bottom of 59th Street and 5th, there was nothing that could stop me.

Step 4: Embrace the squish.

With Kaskade’s Coachella set blasting through my headphones and a light misty layer of rain on my skin, I started to feel surprisingly phenomenal—surprising because just a day earlier I suffered from a mysteriously numb and tingling foot that resulted in 3 stops to stretch.

Thursday’s 5-mile run was transcendent; I hadn’t felt like that in a long time—you know, like I was flying on top of the pavement. Maybe it was the previous night’s wine (no really, why are my best runs hungover?), maybe it was the fact that all rules were out the window.

Whatever it was, I felt like a child as I raced through the park and back down 5th Avenue toward my apartment. By the time I walked into the apartment, I looked like the world’s sweatiest person. Ever. I tried to tell Noah it was the rain; he wasn’t buying it.

Step 5: Give yourself a pat on the back. 

After you shower, of course. In all likelihood, you’re gross now. And you probably don’t smell very nice either.

Have a very, very happy Memorial Day weekend all! Enjoy the (hopefully?) nice weather, and don’t forget to get your run on between the boozin’ and fun.

  • What fun Memorial Day plans are you looking forward to?
  • What’s your running in the rain secret to success?
  • Would you rather lay in bed and say screw it on a drizzly morning? We’re about honesty here on WRFG, after all. Go on. Call me crazy. I can take it.

10 thoughts on “A 5-Step Guide to Rainy Runs: I’m Out the Door. Now What?

  1. I don’t let rain stop me, unless it’s REALLY storming–then I’ll hit the treadmill. My two secrets are: 1) a hat to keep the drops out of my eyes, and 2) a Ziploc bag for my iPhone so I can still listen to my audiobook.

    P.S. I love how you say your best runs are hungover–I’ve found that to be true for me, too! (Although I still generally avoid drinking TOO much the night before a longer run, when I’ve slipped up, I’ve been pleasantly surprised.)

    • I seriously need to get a hat! That’s like number 203489203489 that I need to purchase.

      Ha! I love that you used a Ziploc. I have a friend who coined that the “iBag” once, but I usually just stuff my phone into my pocket. I may need to try that!

      I seriously don’t get it! I try not to drink more than a glass of wine – if that – on most mornings, and then it’s the days I wake up and think “I shouldn’t have had that 4th glass of wine” when I feel the best. What’s up with that??

  2. Gosh, I wish we had some rain. There are forest fires up the wazoo and towns being evacuated here already. In May. And I’m in Canada. Rain please?

  3. Wow! well it just started raining in Guadalajara, México too!! It looks like I will have to go through these steps to put in the miles for the week…although I love it when it rains here…it’s usually at night, so we wake up to a clean city, fresh and wet still, maybe the streets are a little too wet than I’d like them to be at 6:00am…(meaning cars splashing…me!) oh well, hope you keep it up, and enjoy this weekend’s weather! 😉

  4. I used to be afraid to run in the rain, but now I look forward to it. One of my favorite runs ever was a rainy day through the park. I swear the raindrops on the leaves sounded like applause!

  5. Pingback: Will Run for Wednesdays: Sunshine in my Soul « Will Run For Glitter

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