Random running annoyances No.7: downpours

I wasn’t planning to be sat ay my laptop writing this right now. Really, I wasn’t. I’d planned to be outside, taking in the fresh air on a refreshing evening run. And then it started raining. Heavily. Oh dear.

Here’s the thing: running in the rain is pretty unpleasant (see my countdown of rubbish running conditions for more…). Sure, it’s only water, but heavy rain soaks your clothes to the point where they start clinging heavily, and it can be hard to see where you’re going (especially if, like me, you wear glasses). I’ve often gone out for a run when it’s raining, which is what you have to do on those depressing days when it just rains non-stop. But at least you can prepare for it.

What’s far more annoying are days like we’ve had in Britain recently: reasonably warm days where generally pleasant weather is suddenly interrupted, almost at random, by ferociously heavy showers – the short of downpours that are accompanied by thunder and lightning and get you soaked. Not just wet, you understand, but soaked. It’s a whole different level of unpleasantness to run in.

My worst experience of a downpour came when I was visiting my brother in Texas over Christmas. I’d been stuck inside on a dark, wet and stormy day, and when the rain stopped and the sky started to brighten I took my chances and went for a run. I’d been out of my brother’s house for about two minutes before the rain returned. Heavily. I got absolutely drenched. It was a good lesson in how changeable the Texas weather can be – something I’ll need to consider in the build-up to the 2017 Houston Marathon.

That example details why downpours are so annoying – they’re impossible to plan for. Which means they can ruin all your best running plans.

Today I walked home from work in cool but dry conditions that looked fairly benign. I could have gone out for a run instantly, but decided I’d eat first and try my recently pioneered late-evening run again… and then it started raining. Not just raining. It was pouring. The old man was, indeed, snoring. Whatever that means. (Really, what does that song mean? I have no idea.)

It was, all told, incredibly rubbish conditions for running. And, an hour or so later, it’s still raining. Hence why I’m sitting here. And that sparks the really annoying bit…

I really want to go for a run tonight. I had yesterday off running, so I’m incredibly keen to go. But it’s raining. It’s not that heavy now, so perhaps I should just go, and accept I’m going to get wet.

But wait! The sky looks a bit brighter on the horizon. The weather forecast suggests it’s not that bad between the heavy showers. So if I wait a bit, the rain might stop, and making my run far more pleasant. So let’s wait for a bit.

But wait! Time is getting on. Even if the rain does stop, it might not stay dry for all that long, and I might end up getting wet anyway. And the longer I wait the later it gets. So perhaps I should just push on and go now.

But wait! Is it really worth getting soaked just to get a short run in on a Thursday evening? Maybe I should just take the night off and go tomorrow. It won’t hurt me to have a night off, will it? Aside from that feeling of guilt that comes from not going for a run when you planned to…

Yup, it’s the classic downpour dilemma. And that’s why I’m sitting here writing this – it’s basically a stalling tactic. But I’ve pretty much finished now. And the rain hasn’t quite stopped. Time to make a decision on much I want to have a run, and how wet I want to get…

UPDATE: It stopped raining. I went for a run. I got a bit wet, but not too much. It was fine. Well, apart from the huge puddles and standing water caused by the rain. Having to dodge puddles is very annoying. But that’s a Random Running Annoyance for another day…

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