Winter has finally arrived in Britain, which mean this week’s training runs have involved plenty of extra layers. And a hat and gloves. Brrrrrr.
Trying to force myself to go running on a cold night can be a challenge – but the thought of it usually worse than the reality. Which got me thinking: what are the worst conditions to run in?
To find out, I did some extensive research, and conducted a scientific study of all the differing weather conditions and how they affect runners. Alright, it wasn’t that scientific. Or, indeed, at all scientific.
Okay, I basically just scribbled down a list and put them in order, starting with the best conditions to run in, and counting down to the worst. Based on nothing more than my own ill-formed opinion.
For what it’s worth then, here’s my list. This is part one. I’ll stick the bottom ten up tomorrow. Probably.
When it comes to cooking chilli, I don’t do mild. Mild is dull. You need spice. Lots of spice. But making chilli and going running are very different things (duh). And when it comes to running, you pretty much can’t beat mild conditions.
What are mild conditions? Wonderfully unremarkable, really. Not too hot, not too cold. Just as Goldilocks would like it. If, that is, Goldilocks spent her time running and not breaking into houses owned by bears.
18: Warm and sunny
Pretty much like mild, but with added sweat. Can get smelly, depending on the strength of your anti-perspirant deodorant.
17: Cold and dry
Running in the cold sounds unpleasant – and it is, when the cold is mixed with certain other weather conditions. But on a crisp, clear day when you’re dressed appropriately, running in the cold is actually quite nice. You can push reasonably hard without sweating too much, and clear blue winter skies make things look nice.
Really, the hardest thing about running on a cold, clear day is forcing yourself out of your nice warm house to go running in the first place. Well, that and working out exactly what combination of clothing you need to wear to ensure you’re warm enough at the start of the run, but not boiling hot by the time you finish.
Usually happens when it’s also cold, obviously. As long as it’s not icy, running in snow is fun, largely for novelty value. You get to leave footprints in the snow, and snow makes everything look more beautiful.
15: Yellow snow
14: Light rain
As long as it’s gentle, rain isn’t as bad to run in as you might expect. If it’s hot, a bit of drizzle can actually help to keep you cool. Which is actually quite useful. And relies on the rain not getting heavier.
13: Mist and fog
It’s like running in light rain, except it’s far easier to get lost in.
12: Hot and humid
We’re talking hot here. You might think running in hot weather would be enjoyable, but that’s until you try and stop yourself sweating afterwards. It’s not fun, and your kit will end up drenched in sweat within minutes.
On a semi-serious health-based note, if you go running when it’s hot do remember to drink plenty of fluid. Really, drink lots. Right, public service announcement over.
Alright, dark isn’t technically a weather condition. It’s just… dark. But I’m including it here because running at night is somehow far less palatable than running in the daytime. It just feels colder, windier and more miserable, even if it really isn’t. And it’s harder to see where you’re going, and for other people to see you.
Part two tomorrow…
Why I’m running: I’m doing the 2016 London Marathon to raise money for the South West Children’s Heart Circle. Find out why here. Please sponsor me by clicking on the button below.