We love training. That goes without saying. But, sometimes it can be tough to get training in. There are times when it’s raining outside… Times when it’s snowing..
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. Times when the temperature is over 100 degrees… Essentially there are simply times when the weather does not cooperate with our outdoor activities.
Before we start tackling this most-excellent subject, let’s get something out of the way…
Disclaimer: Riding, running, or training of any kind in bad weather can be dangerous. The chance for injury is greatly increased during adverse conditions like rain, ice, snow, extreme heat, and so on. I often choose to workout despite the weather, but my experience level in these scenarios is high. You cannot determine your decision to workout despite the weather based on my opinion. We are all responsible for the things that we do. This is no exception. If you decide to workout in adverse conditions, that is solely on your shoulders and you should weigh the costs and dangers carefully before doing so.
Caveat: Do not use my above-mentioned disclaimer to pussy out of a workout!
In all seriousness folks, if you like to exercise outdoors there will come a time when the weather or conditions affect your decision to do so. Once you’ve assessed the situation and figure out if you’re going to do it, there are some things to take into account and be aware of. You already know these things, but I’m going to address them anyway:
1. Wet streets are slippery. Riding or even running in these conditions can result in a wreck, slip, or fall. Be aware of this and ease your pace and elevate your awareness.
2. Rain not only creates wet streets, but it also makes puddles and gets equipment wet. Remember to protect your electronics (phone, mp3 player, watch, and so on), wallet, and anything else that shouldn’t get wet. Also, when you’re done with a ride, remember to clean your bike extra well and lubricate all moving components.
3. Lightning often accompanies rain and can be extremely dangerous.
4. Mud puddles and slippery conditions usually exist AFTER rain is done and gone. These can create additional hazards like splashing on your riding glasses and blocking your vision (among other things). Also, it is very easy to hydroplane in puddles.
5. Extreme heat saps your energy, depletes your hydration, and causes a multitude of issues.
6. Extreme cold can create icy conditions that you aren’t even aware of (think black ice). Prolonged exposure can also produce hypothermia and frost bite.
7. Wind can not only blow you over but it can also blow you into oncoming traffic. And, debris can become dangerous when blown into your eyes.
8. The sun can be brutal. Sunburns can ruin an otherwise fun long ride or run. It also can burn your eyes if you don’t don protective sunglasses.
9. Night time is a condition that we often overlook. Just be aware that not only is your visibility limited in the dark, but so is that of drivers who are out and about.
Speaking of other drivers and such… Remember that no matter the conditions, if the weather is limiting your abilities and awareness then it’s doing the same for other people on the road. Use caution!!!
These are just a few of the things to consider when training despite the weather. Honestly, I love getting out to run in the rain. It rejuvenates and invigorates me. Rain is my friend. However, I respect it, and stay aware of consequences. Train smart and always be ready for the effects and your chances for an injury free day are higher.
Finally, you should be aware that weather can change during a training session (especially longer runs and rides). Be prepared for changing weather and it’s less likely to ruin your day.
When the weather is exceptionally bad you can always move your training indoors. Sometimes prudence is your best friend!
Do you train when the weather is bad? Do you adapt or do anything special for bad conditions?
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Since my knees went and the docs told me to stop running and stay off stairs, I’ve given up on training hard. But when I did run five miles a day, weather didn’t matter . . . it was an everyday thing. Seoul, Korea, where I ran with a Marine Major with whom I worked, freezing rain, 98 degree heat, snow . . . nothing stopped us . . . but we were young, dumb, and full of esprit de corps . . . and were hooked on the adrenaline rush that hit us by the time we got back to work!
Awesome! Inspirational stuff, Dan! Thanks!
I’m much pickier about riding weather than running weather. I’ll run in anything but solid ice, or below 45 degrees and very heavy rain. Temps don’t matter — just change the training challenge and need to be accounted for. For example, I don’t do sprint interval workouts in 100 degree weather. That’s a good day for slower work, given that the heat already has raised the training stress level. With riding, I don’t start in the rain (a couple sprinkles don’t count), but if I get wet along the way, so be it. That leads to a handful of wet workouts every year. Also no go if temps below freezing or there’s a chance of ice.
However, not getting outside DOES NOT EQUAL taking a day off from training. There’s a trainer with my bike set up in my basement, and the weather there is always fine 🙂
So true, Andrea! Thank you for your keen insight and advice. I love the indoor trainer when there aren’t any outside options!