There are always a million reasons (ok, excuses) not to go for a run. I’d guess the biggest running excuse is “I don’t have time to run.” A close second is likely “It’s too ___________ (fill in the blank of a weather condition – hot, cold, windy, rainy, snowy) to run.”
Busting Running Excuses: The Weather Isn’t Right
Sure, it’s great to go for a run on a ‘perfect day,’ but those are hard to come by.
Even here in temperate Northern California, perfect weather days can be rare. If you only run on perfect days, you’ll never become much of a runner.
The reality is that while many days are far less than ideal, unless the weather is super, super severe (read: ice or electrical storms or something actually unsafe), you can still run.
So how to make those less-than-ideal-runs work?
One option to deal with the bad weather is to not deal with the bad weather. Keep it indoors and hit the treadmill.
Depending on your opinion of the treadmill, however, this may create its own problems.
Personally, I’d rather run in the rain or in super high humidity (my least favorite weather condition) than hit the treadmill, but if the weather is your main concern, not going out in it is a solution.
Dress Appropriately and Prepare
Think of it as an excuse for a shopping spree!
Get the right gear for the conditions: a good rain jacket, a warmer coat, and ear covers for cold weather. Or a good sweat-resistant sunscreen and a hydration pack to help beat the heat.
As the saying goes – there is no such thing as ‘too cold’ there is only ‘underdressed.’
Go With a Group
Running in bad conditions can be better with a group.
It’s a little easier to get out the door when someone is waiting for you (hopefully, you’ll have a place to meet up out the rain- while I don’t mind running in the rain, I HATE standing around in the rain waiting for others in my group to arrive).
You can commiserate about the conditions on the run (while some griping is fun, be careful not to dwell or get too complain-y – the negative mojo can mess with your run), and you’ll really feel like you’ve shared something with your running buddies when you’ve endured terrible conditions together.
It can also come in handy to have others to vouch for just how bad the conditions were.
At a recent group run, my running club ran on the Bay Bridge when the wind gusts were up to 30 MPH (it was insane). When telling others (who weren’t there) about the conditions, they didn’t believe me. Fair enough, I have been known to exaggerate conditions, but in this case, others – who were there – could vouch that I was telling the truth about how bad it really was.
Especially if you are training for an event, run in any weather that presents itself during training.
You never know what race day will bring. It could be just as hot/humid/rainy/terrible, so you should have experience running in those conditions. That way, if race day arrives, and the weather is less-than-optimal, you won’t bat an eye.
You’ll break out the right gear, break out your bad-weather mindset and head out the door.
Rearrange Your Timing
Sure, 8 AM on a Saturday may be the best time for your long run, but if the forecast is terrible (and you don’t need or want the practice of running in adverse conditions), that is not the only time you can run.
Switch up the day or the time of day you run.
If there is a snowstorm coming on Saturday, rearrange your run to Friday. Thunderstorm forecasted for tonight (just when you plan on running)? Find a way to run at lunchtime.
I always do this during heat waves. Sure, it sucks to wake up at 4 am to run, but it sure is better than running in 100+ degree temps with high humidity (and it’s really nice to be done with a long run by 9).
I find that while it can be much harder to start a run in bad conditions, once you get started, it usually isn’t an issue.
If it’s raining, once you’re wet, you’re wet. Jump in the puddles and have fun.
If it’s cold, you’ll warm up.
If it’s hot, while you should slow your pace down, you’ll survive.
And the upside of running in terrible conditions is the serious bragging rights that come with running in adverse conditions. You will no longer be some fair-weather hobbyist, you’ll be a hardcore runner.
Sure, runs on perfect weather days are great, but they aren’t great about talking about after the fact.
But after you’ve done a long run in the wind and the rain? That is a story you can tell and re-tell for years over beers with your running buddies (no seriously, have I told you about the trailpocolypse?)
And note: when retelling tales of runs in bad weather (whatever ‘bad’ means to you), exaggeration and embellishment is encouraged.
What about you? How do you make yourself run in less than ideal conditions?