Sometimes I forget this was supposed to be at least in part a running blog so it’s not just acceptable but essential to talk about running like a geek once in a while. So if you are reading this and you are a runner (which seems to be most of you judging by your blog titles) then this won’t appear too self-indulgent. Non-runners might want to re-tune now!
Running outside is a pleasure at any time and in countryside such as I am able to enjoy here in Hertfordshire even more so. Only one thing adds an extra frisson of excitement to a run for me and that’s extreme weather. Brow-scalding sunshine, a good dump of snow or, as we had here this Christmas week: heavy, horizontal slabs of driving rain.
There’s no such thing as bad weather; only inappropriate clothing. And over the years my running wardrobe has steadily grown to accommodate most conditions. Here are some tactics and items that work for me.
- Driving rain can be somewhat blinding which if you’re traipsing through woods can lead to a fall over rocks or roots. I take a cap with a visor or wear a sweatband to clear the water and keep good visibility
- I warm up well before going out; stretches or press ups get the blood circulating and make the first dousing less of a shock
- In the wet you need a decent jacket; I have a bunch of them. A light Saucony showerproof single-skin, an extra-warm Brooks Silver bullet high visibility and an all-purpose and super-luxury Ashmei (my fave) with merino wool panels
- Top: a Mizuno long-sleeved baselayer for cold weather (below 4 degrees) or a standard long-sleeve wicking running top if above 4 degrees
- Cold-weather Mizuno Breathe Thermo Bio leggings.
- Shoes: Inov8 Roclites or even Mudclaws. These shoes are outstanding and last for ever. You can hurtle down a wet, grassy hillside with total confidence that you won’t slip.
- Headphones: waterproof CX 680 – indestructable.
I just love that feeling of “Me versus the weather!”. During my Marathon training in early 2010 I went for several 15 mile runs in deep snow and just loved the extra muscle stretch that demanded. The cross-country routes I took this week in the rain were just as exhilarating. With the barren fields completely waterlogged, I splashed and splooshed along to the sounds of DJ Shah’s Magic Island and returned with a Ready-Brek glow only to rinse down with the garden hose which seemed decidedly warm.
Back inside and showered, I refuel with a litre of Lucozade Recovery and a square meal making sure to balance a good loading of carbs and protein and to do so within 15 minutes of getting in to restore the glycogen ready for the next outing. Bring it on.