Monday, October 4, 2010

Running in the Rain

There’s something magical about running in the rain. It’s oddly peaceful – the sound of the raindrops muffles the street noise and the general wetness disallows an ipod. Trails and roads are less crowded since only the super-dedicated or the supremely unfortunate are out on a day like today.

Some of my best running experiences have been in the rain.

I remember one run specifically in high school. It was absolutely pouring, which is rare for Northern California. In a frenzy of excitement my teammates and I ran around Petaluma like a pack of crazies, splashing through puddles and making general mayhem. We ended our run by sprinting around the corner, screaming like soaking wet banshees and cannon-balling into the high school pool, running shoes and all.

In college, my first run with the Cross Country team was a drenching day along the Charles – across the BU Bridge, up through Cambridge, and back along the bike path. That run’s degree of exhaustion and good-workout-achyness set the tone for most of my college running career.

Running in the rain, like running in the dark, somehow feels faster. And I certainly feel more hard-core when I’m the only one running in an all-out downpour. 

My first summer in DC was a particularly rainy one. I ran every evening after work, and sometimes the rain was so heavy I couldn’t open my eyes. I ran along the Mall, watching the lightening strike the Washington Monument and Smithsonian Tower, and wondering if it was unsafe to be out (but obviously not really caring either way).

I’m not a big gear person, but after that eyes-closed run I hit up CVS to get a visor. Visors/hats are absolutely necessary for rainy runs! The brim is like an umbrella for your face, saving you from squinting and keeping your hair from tying itself in wet tangly knots.   

I can only think of one really bad rain-run experience: Cross Country Regionals at Van Cortlandt Park my senior year. It poured all night and all morning, through our warm-up and as we lined up for the gun. The race started with two tight laps around a baseball field that was more of a foot-deep swamp, churned beyond recognition by a couple hundred of the East Coast’s most competitive distance runners. We were so muddy afterwards that a teammate and I took over a gas station bathroom to attempt to wash ourselves for the long ride back to Boston. I don’t think the station manager was too pleased…

Are you a rainy-run fan? Or more of a tentative treadmiller when it gets too wet outside?

PS – I promise you an AMAZING Weekend Report once I get pictures. It involves a wedding in Vail…In the mean time, enjoy the rain!


  1. YES!!! I live in Seattle and L-O-V-E running in the rain. I have many friends who don't understand it, but I agree with everything you said. It's why I love fall so much - many opportunities to run in the rain :)

  2. Running in the rain can be beaten only by running in the snow. I just love running when snow is falling, the more snow, the better the run. I think I need to relocate. We don't get much snow in San Jose.

  3. I ran yesterday unintentionally in the rain so I had my ipod with me and had to stick it in my jacket during the run. Besides that, the run felt really good and the rain actually cooled me down a lot! Next time I would definitely do it again but wear my crappier sneakers so I didn't ruin my good ones!

  4. It hardly rains in CO and I miss it. I love the sound of the rain on the roof. I started running a couple of years ago and really haven't had much of a chance to do rainy runs. I would though. Snow??? Done tons of those.

  5. My first day of practice in college cross country took place during a humid August downpour. My roommate was also on the team, both of us had neglected to bring to school a drying rack, so we ended up with all of our wet clothes draped over moving boxes in our tiny dorm room. We still reminisce about that day.

    There was also a day during outdoor track when the rain was being blown horizontal by 40 mph winds and it was like 45 degrees. We were all crying but so wet it was impossible to tell. Another great memory.

  6. "magical". no better way to describe it. my absolute favorite time to run...

  7. I absolutely agree. There is nothing better than a good run in crazy hard rain. Loved this post!

  8. I'm so glad we're all on the same page!

    Oh, and they best way to dry wet running shoes is to take out the soles, stuff them with newspaper, and leave them overnight.