Have you ever skipped a run because of bad weather? Rain, wind and thunder often stop runners from lacing up and getting their work out in. In this article, I’ll give you some good reasons why you should run in bad weather. Brace yourself.
“Bad weather always looks worse through a window.” Tom Lehrer
What exactly are ‘bad weather’ conditions?
Arguably, you could say any weather condition can be considered ‘bad’. One person may deem a torrential storm bad weather whilst another could see dry and humid conditions as bad weather. It all depends on your interpretation.
For the sake of clarity, I’m going to be referring to bad weather in this article as rain, wind, thunder, snow, drizzle and fog.
My experiences of running in adverse weather conditions
Today I ran the Folkestone half-marathon in Kent, England. The race was primarily run along the seafront and felt like running in a tunnel with a wind machine being blown at you on full power.
It took three times as much effort to push ahead. On top of that, it was raining very hard and there were gale force winds which slammed the rain and seawater on my face and body. Given the weather conditions, it was a truly unique and challenging experience.
The Folkestone half-marathon wasn’t my only experience running in bad weather. I’ve run the Bewl water half-marathon (a trail event) in a torrential downpour, the Maidstone half-marathon on the windiest day of the year, I’ve run in the snow, sleet, fog, and drizzle.
I’d say that some of the most fun race experiences I’ve ever had have been during adverse weather conditions.
Wait, isn’t it dangerous to run in bad weather?
You might be immediately put off by the premise of this article because you believe it’s dangerous to run in bad weather. However, with the right preparation and know-how, you’ll find that the risk of running in bad weather can be drastically reduced.
Anything we do in life is dangerous. Think about it, every single activity we do daily has the potential to cause catastrophic damage. Walking down the stairs, driving a car, ironing clothes and cooking dinner all have the potential to cause injury.
The reason we don’t get burnt by the iron or crash our cars is that we take the necessary precautions and preparations to mitigate the risks. Running in bad weather is no different. If you prepare yourself, you can run in bad weather without harm.
Some ways to run safely in adverse weather conditions include using the layering system, avoiding the coldest times of the day, covering the extremities, staying hydrated, and checking the weather conditions before heading out. For more information on running safely in bad weather, check out the following blog post.
Reasons why you should run in bad weather
Get uncomfortable and grow
‘Whatever makes you uncomfortable is your biggest opportunity for growth.’ – Bryant McGill
The modern world we live is in comfortable, easy and filled with convenience. Cars to drive us from A to B, heating to make us warm, food and drink to consume whenever we want, TV to watch. Sometimes we get so wrapped in our modern-day comforts that we forget that being uncomfortable is how we grow as individuals.
I’m a believer in getting out of the comfort zone daily and pushing our capabilities. Running in harsh weather gives you the chance to do that.
Running in bad weather conditions is the perfect opportunity for growth. Harsh weather means running in challenging conditions which allow you to see what you’re capable of. Can you go all the way and finish your workout, or will you quit?
You’ll be surprised at what you can achieve when you push yourself and don’t stop. When you finish a workout in demanding weather conditions, you’ll have a new respect for your-self and capabilities which will help in other areas of life. You’ll believe you’re capable of more and as a result, grow as a person.
Not only that, running in bad weather develops your mental toughness. Mental toughness is your perseverance to carry on when things get tough, it’s your get up and go in the morning, it’s the willingness to embrace the suck and push through adversity.
When you run in a horrific storm you have a powerful reference for a time you overcame a difficult situation. Whenever things get tough in your personal or professional life, you can draw upon the harsh experience you overcame running in bad weather. Suddenly giving that presentation, meeting that client, writing that report, organising that event and making that phone call aren’t so difficult after all.
Run in bad weather to get uncomfortable and grow. It may suck at the moment, but it pays dividends in the long term.
‘It hurts, but that all it does. The most difficult part of the training is training your mind. You build calluses on your feet to endure the road. You build calluses on your mind to endure the pain. There’s only one way to do that. You have to get out there and run.’ David Goggins on embracing the challenge of difficult running and callusing your mind.
Running in bad weather can be better training
“There is a great advantage in training under unfavourable conditions. It is better to train under bad conditions, for the difference is then a tremendous relief in a race.” Emil Zatopek
Running along the seafront in the half-marathon today, the wind was blowing so hard on me that I had to work three times as hard to push my body forward.
I was tired, my legs were feeling like jelly and I was panting for breath. However, the strenuous conditions meant I was able to gain much more benefit from the run.
Running against the wind means you work harder to propel yourself forward. That means burning more calories and more strain on your muscles. The result is that you recover a stronger, faster and more powerful runner. A fantastic reason to run in bad weather conditions.
You’ll feel powerful
When it’s cold and raining out, most runners opt for the warmth and comfort of their home instead of their workout. If you brave the elements and run anyway, you’ll feel a huge sense of accomplishment.
The horrendous weather is an obstacle that you’ve decided to face and overcome. You’ll have a sense of pride and achievement which will make you feel powerful.
After your run, you’ll not only be physically stronger but will also experience a confidence boost in the knowledge you ran in bad weather conditions.
Contrary to what society and everyday sound bites tell us that ‘rainy weather is awful’, bad weather can help you relax and relieve anxiety.
According to Vice, ‘Psychologists have a variety of explanations as to why some afflicted with anxiety find comfort in overcast days. “The brain naturally craves sensory input,” says Kimberly Hershenson, a New York City-based therapist specialising in anxiety and depression. “Rain produces a sound akin to white noise. The brain gets a tonic signal from white noise that decreases this need for sensory input, thus calming us down.’
Running in the rain seems to be a powerful activity for anxiety relief and a mood boost. The mood boost comes from endorphins and dopamine which are released when we exercise, the anxiety relief comes from the gentle sound of rain falling to the ground. If your anxious and looking for a mood boost, get out and run in bad weather. Particularly when it’s raining.
There you have it. Key reasons for why you should run in bad weather. It’s of the most fun, challenging and unforgettable parts of running. Exactly why I love it.