The pros and cons of running in the rain.

As someone who can overheat while running in 18 degrees of heat, I have to admit my bafflement at runners who describe heavy rain as ‘adverse conditions’ for racing in.

These really are the conditions I dream about running a marathon in – even if I’m resigned to the fact that any time I go for a marathon or half marathon, the sun will have his hat on and it will be at least 23 degrees.

With this in mind, I had meant to try and acclimatise myself to running in the heat this Summer.

Instead, I’ve been treated to day after day of torrential rain in which to enjoy my running. And while it has certainly helped me to keep cool, there have been quite a few occasions lately when the rain has been so heavy I was having trouble getting a breath.

Even so, I still can’t quite understand why rain seems to slow other people down. Measuring my average 10k times in the wet against average times in the dry shows that I always go around 5% faster in the cool of the rain, even though a bit of pseudo-scientific investigation revealed that I actually weigh nearly 2lbs more soaking wet than I do when I’m dry.

Another thing I’ve discovered over the recent monsoon season, albeit through incredibly nerdy experimentation, is that wearing my over-sized marathon shoes in heavy rain offers less risk of chafing than wearing the correctly-sized running shoes that I tend to wear for light training – presumably because my soaking wet Thorlos socks get to slide around a bit, rather than getting hitched up on the inside of my running shoes.

But perhaps most important of all, in this eloquent triumvirate of empirical discovery, is that there isn’t any point at all in wearing waterproof gear when the rain is really coming down. Because unless you’ve got it zipped up so far that you can’t breathe, you’re still going to arrive back home as wet as if you’d fallen into the sea rather than just run past it.

And how do I know this? Well, let’s just say that my Sunday off-road run now includes a three mile stretch of beach and leave it at that, OK? It probably happened to Red Rum when he used to run through the shallows at Southport too. And in the current climatic conditions, it makes absolutely no difference whatsoever to the state you’re in when you get home…

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