Have you ever tried running in the rain? I did this week, and it went horribly wrong.
In theory, I quite like the idea of rain-running - water tends to keep you cool, so it stands to reason that running with a light smattering of the stuff might have a vague air-conditioning-type effect. Which is particularly beneficial during this epic muggyness. And weirdly I feel like it is an extra layer of anonymity for when I'm prancing about the streets of Chelsea in next-to-nothing gym kit.
Yesterday, though, wasn't normal rain. It was super rain. And my trainers were not prepared. A few semi-aqua-plane moments early on taught me to slow the hee-all down, which then made the run barely beneficial. Unwilling to write off the attempt so soon, I headed to Hyde Park with a view to finding some less smooth ground, which I figured might help my traction (or lack thereof) issue. It did. But it also lead me into some seriously muddy puddles. Arguably, this was pretty awesome - nothing better for showing how nails you are than a few muddy splashes up your legs post-run. But also it got in my shoes. And then my socks. And then it all just got too gross.
I gave the issue some thought once I'd got home. Rainy / muddy running was sort of my forte when I was in the army. I doubt we ever really went on a 'fair weather' jog, to be fair. And it was never really that bad. Or maybe I've just forgotten...
Anyway, on that basis, here's my tips for rain running, based on that distant memory of not being quite such a wimp..
1. Wear shorts. Skin's waterproof (obv), and leggings are not. They'll stick to your skin and end up feeling rank. And let's not even go there with chaffing... At the moment I'm wearing Fabletics.
2. Wear proper socks. Trainer socks are great in great weather. In mud, they let everything in. Choose one that has at least a little lip, or (preferably) actually ends at your ankle.
3. Make sure your kit wicks. Most good kit does these days - if you're stumped, try lululemon.
4. Don't use a phone for music. Or iPod, really, although a water-logged iPhone would be more upsetting for obvious reasons.
5. Choose trainers with grip. I know I harp on about them but my Geox are really awesome because they're surprisingly lightweight and breathable too. And they look pretty. Obv.
Plan your route before your trainers - If it's road-heavy, trail-running shoes will slip and slide. But they're a god-send on grass / mud.
6. Wear a cap - If the rain is particularly heavy, water has a tendency to lodge itself in your lashes which can be super uncomfortable. A cap stops all this nonsense (note: so do sunglasses. But then you might struggle to see very much...)