So, you had a plan to go for a run. But it’s raining. Well, not raining– pouring. And windy. Upon checking the weather and observing such a rain storm out the window, many runners immediately shy away to the treadmill. The treadmill is climate-controlled, safe, and predictable. Besides, heading out for a run is courageous enough on its own. Add rain? Now that’s a whole new kind of willpower. We’re talking deep puddles, soggy socks and sloshy shoes, body soaked to the bone, and potentially blurry vision. Pretty? No. Adventurous? Heck yes.
I am not one to back down from the weather. You can catch me running with ski goggles in a blizzard on a snow day, or wearing a sports bra on the hottest day of August. There is typically one or two days a year when I surrender to the treadmill, if, for example, black ice covers the roads or the temperature is below negative 10 degrees. In these situations, it’s clear that the discomforts caused by the harsh conditions would diminish the runner’s high and would not be beneficial to my training. These two days aside, I believe that weather adds an entirely new element to running. The varying conditions force you to react and adapt while staying focused in the present as you overcome whatever threat the weather may pose. Now, I would love to step outside to a beautiful, breezy, sunny day every single time I run. But I also could not be more certain that running in gritty conditions improves mental toughness. That’s why, when I woke up this morning to a squall, I immediately put on my baseball hat (to shield the rain) and headed out the door. When I returned from my exhilarating rain run, my runner’s high raging, the time on my watch proved that the rain had indeed fueled my performance. Therefore, for those of you who prefer the comfort of the treadmill, I encourage you to think again next time the weather looks iffy. Give it a try. Feel the rain on your skin. Splash through those puddles like a badass. Grit your teeth against the wind. And when you’re home again, check that watch. You’ll be surprised.