Staff Blog: Running in Bad Weather

My muddy, cold, wet shoes and socks don't show how cold I really am in this post-run picture.

It’s that time of the year—at least where I live—the time when inclement whether rears its ugly head and potentially puts a crimp in my running schedule. Depending on where you live, this might or might not be a seasonal challenge. For me, living in Colorado, the weather is usually perfect for running most of the time. But on occasion between October and March, the chance of snow, sleet, cold rain and sub-freezing temperatures are only a day away.

Such was the case this weekend, when summer was finally whisked away and the first burst of cold, wet weather swept in for a few days. Given my busy day on Friday, I had planned all along to run 6 miles that evening. But when I got home from work, a light, cold mist had turned into a consistent cold rain. (And by cold, I mean 34 degrees and dropping.) I was dressed to run at 6:30 p.m. but didn’t actually head out the door until almost 10 p.m., gingerly logging about 50 minutes in a drizzle that was intermittently laced with frozen rain drops.

On Saturday, I had planned to run 10-12 miles on trails, but again I was faced with a steady stream of semi-freezing precipitation. (It wasn’t snow and it wasn’t rain, but it was sure cold and wet.) I never considered not going, well, not until at about mile 7 when I tripped on a rock, took a digger and my cold hands (in soggy gloves) were skidding through wet, cold gravel. I recovered after a few strides and wound up running for an hour and 45 minutes. It was muddy, wet and cold—and yes I would have been warmer had I worn tights or running pants instead of shorts—but it was also invigorating.

Battling the elements is part of running, no matter what kind of challenge they present. Personally I don’t mind the cold and snow, but I’d prefer to avoid rain and wind. Still, whatever we encounter out there is part of a necessary hardening process we need to go through on a regular basis. Not only does running in bad weather build character, strength and confidence, it can also galvanize us on race day when conditions aren’t picture perfect or what we expected. And besides, running in bad weather is much, much better than not running at all or running on a treadmill.

Just checked the five-day forecast: looks like it will be sunny, dry and mild all week.

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