Tuesday 25 July 2017

Dr May's tips for running in the rain: Don't let the Irish weather dampen your spirits

GP and clinical strategist Dr May offers her tips for running in the rain.

On a cold and wet evening, it is more tempting to reach for the remote rather than your running shoes. Photo: Flickr
On a cold and wet evening, it is more tempting to reach for the remote rather than your running shoes. Photo: Flickr

Dr. Ui May Tan

We all know weather can have a detrimental effect on your training. On a cold and wet evening, it is more tempting to reach for the remote rather than your running shoes.

Recent research by Vhi Healthcare found that 8 per cent of people don't like exercising outside and I can understand why. Our typical Irish weather means that we have to be ready for four seasons in one day.

But are there any risks with running in the rain?

The inability to maintain core body temperature during prolonged exposure to wet and cool conditions can make running uncomfortable and put you at risk of hypothermia (when the body loses heat faster than it can produce heat). This all comes down to heat balance; we rely on sweat to remove heat from the body in warm weather.

Dr. May
Dr. May

In cold or wet conditions, body heat can be lost rapidly by conduction and convection into the surrounding air, particularly if it is a windy environment.

So if you slow down or stop, you reduce your heat production. But, with a little preparation, even the wind and the rain won't hamper your training for the Vhi Women's Mini Marathon.

Here's my top tips for training in all weather

1 Dress for success

Wearing the right clothing and appropriate number of layers is key. For cold and wet conditions, cotton is rotten. Polyester materials wick moisture away from the body and maintain a layer of air to give an insulation layer and help preserve heat.

2 Keep in the heat

A hat and a pair of gloves or mittens can also help preserve heat. Faster runners, who will spend less time on the course, will therefore experience less exposure and may require less outerwear than others who tend to be out there for a longer time.

3 Pack up

If the weather is wet, make sure to pack with a towel, fleece top and pants and a windproof outer shell that you can change into post training. It is crucially important to change into your dry clothes as soon as possible.

4 Wear a hat

A hat with a brim can be your best friend during a rainy run. It will keep the rain off your face, so you can see, even in a downpour

5 Protect electronics

Store phone or iPod, in a ziplock bag or a waterproof carrier.

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