ed note: see an update of the best running rain wear and tips to staying warm in the midwest winters here!
It was a dark and stormy morning. I bound of out bed, slithered into my dry-fit pants, squished on shoes wet from hanging out on the porch during the relentless rain, and then looked around for a water-proof shirt.
I live in Orange County, and keeping dry on the outside while running is not often a necessity in these parts. I rejected a cotton jacket that I knew would absorb water like a sand castle in high tide. The rust-orange, water-proof wind breaker that rolls up into itself was passed over because it was so big I might as well have just cut a hole in a garbage bag, and would have been more comfortable. Simply sticking a beanie on my head was going to be too hot. “Hmmm.” I thought. I eventually just went out without any water-protection, and enjoyed being soaked.
However, once I was back at home and dryer than the chess board in the back of our closet (and thinking way too much about how white-tshirts are not conducive to being ignored while exercising in the rain), I continued hunting around for a DIY fix to my rain running problem.
The issue is that runners like clothes that are pretty snug. Having something hanging off of them like a limp bear-skin rug made into a cape makes running uncomfortable. And trust me, even on my most motivated of days, set-backs can make or break my desire to run. Part of the problem is nothing I own is made of outer wicking material, so I didn’t have anything to chop up and build something out of.
Hats were out because I know I’ll get hot with something resting firmly on my head like a perched parrot. Umbrellas create drag, boyfriend’s clothes are too big and obviously not mine to play with, and I love my laptop too much to consider using it as a rain-sleucing device.
I hit the stores. One of my near and dear friends has a Nike Hoodie that she adores, so I went looking for that first. Unfortunately, the cost of it outweighs the benefits. I figured I’d rather get wet. But no one else was selling anything remotely similar – either there were non-hooded options, non-wiking options, baggy options, or worse, all put together. After hunting through REI, Sports Authority, Sports Chalet, Target, TJ Max, Puma, Dick’s Sporting Goods and JC Penny, I was still empty handed.
So what’s a runner to actually do?
That’s my best advice. Throw a headband on your head to keep water from dripping in your eyes, make sure your iPod is protected, and soak it up for forty five minutes. It’s like getting back to nature.