Monday, July 12, 2010

All-Weather Running

Mad dogs and Englishmen may go out in the midday sun, but real runners go out in every conceivable weather condition. If I were to wait for a perfect day to run, which would be overcast and 10-15 C (50-59 F), I would never get out. I have run in blazing summer sun, below freezing temperatures, light rain, heavy rain, freezing rain, snow, and ice. Would I have it any other way? No. I couldn't imagine having to run on a treadmill 90% of the time because of being a weather wimp. A lot of people that I know will only run outdoors when the weather is nice. They're missing out. 

As they say here in Bavaria, "There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing." That holds true for running gear too. I probably have more running gear than "the average bear" because of the weather. If I was still living in Southern California, I would just need shorts, singlets, one pair of lightweight tights, a couple of short-sleeved technical shirts and one long-sleeved shirt. If I spent my time in the gym on the treadmill instead of the great outdoors, I'd just need shorts and singlets. But I would much rather be outdoors and actually going somewhere. Because I run outdoors all year 'round, I have shorts and singlets for warm weather, capris, lightweight (spring/fall) tights, winter tights, long and short-sleeved technical shirts, fleece overshirts, ice spikes, and a Gore-Tex suit that doubles as a rain suit and winter running suit. Imelda Marcos may have spent her money on shoes, but I spend mine on running gear for all seasons. 

It turns out that my best winter running gear comes from German grocery stores. I have gotten great bargains on technical shirts, tights, and fleece overshirts at the grocery store. In fact, my warmest winter tights are my 13 euro specials from the Aldi that I bought about 10 years ago. They're much warmer than tights that I ordered online that cost about four times as much. 

We've had some crazy weather lately. Last Tuesday I set out on a run. There was a misty rain, which felt refreshing after the heat that we've been having. A few minutes into that run, the sky opened up and it started pouring. I was just dressed in shorts and a short-sleeved technical shirt. The shirt was loose, so at least it didn't stick to me. I hate the feeling of wet clothing sticking to me. My shorts, shoes, and socks were also soaking wet. I cut my run a little short to take a route that was less in the open. If I really wanted to, I could have brought a bar of soap and shampoo and had an outdoor shower. But I pressed on with the run and waited until I came home to have a shower. A couple of days later, it was hot and humid again. Who knows what it will be tomorrow. But no matter the weather, I am prepared for it. 

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