Rainy Run

“I always like walking in the rain, so no one can see me crying.”
― Charles Chaplin

Today it rained in Las Vegas, which is something that happens approximately every other blue moon. The first dime-size drops began hitting the ground as I was halfway through mile 1 of a 6-mile run. By the start of mile 2, there were sheets of rain slicing sideways through the warm air and I’d stopped trying to clear water from my eyes. My daughter took off her glasses, as the rain-streaked lenses were more hazard than help. We ran on happily. 

I just love rain runs. When I lived on the East Coast, summertime rain was my absolute favorite weather to run in. New York summers can be beastly hot, augmented by oppressive humidity that sometimes makes running feel more like swimming. Rain cuts the mugginess, drives away the droves of midsummer insects, and ensures that there will be very few runners competing for trail or shoulder space. Heavenly.

Here in Vegas, where the relentless sun makes running anytime from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. feel like working out in a kiln, rain to run in feels celebratory to me. I couldn’t believe we were three of only a small handful of people running on the paved loop around the soccer fields. Where was everyone? Didn’t they know it was raining?

When I was a kid, barring lightning, fist-sized hail, or frogs falling from the sky, my mother would send us outside to play, year-round. She’d invariably answer our plaintive whining about rain or cold with, “Go get some fresh air. You’re not made of sugar.”

To be honest, this made me feel a combination of self-pity and righteous indignation back then, when I would have rather spent every waking minute with a book and a cookie. But now, it makes sense. Human skin is surprisingly water resistant, wet clothing dries, and splashing around in the rain is just fun.

Thanks, Mom.

Heading out for a wet one? Here are some tips on running in the rain:

  • Protect your skin. Wet skin chafes easily, so lube your hot spots (feet, inner thighs, etc.) with something before you head out. My favorite lube is Trail Toes anti-friction cream. I smear it over my feet to prevent blisters from running in wet socks and shoes.  
  • Wear a hat with a visor to keep the rain out of your eyes.
  • If you wear glasses, consider wearing contacts for rainy runs. 
  • Vehicles may not be looking for runners in inclement weather, so exercise extra caution if running anywhere near traffic.
  • Wear reflectors to be extra visible, even in daylight.
  • If it’s cold out, pay attention to layering. A water-resistant jacket can help you stay warm. (Make sure it has vents to release body heat, though, or you’ll end up in your own personal sauna.)
  • Don’t run if there’s a chance of lightning. Being electrocuted is no one’s idea of a good time.
  • Have fun, puddle jumper!

What’s your take? Do you love or hate rainy runs?

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