Training in the rain can not only be effective but a lot of fun too. Is it hurricane season yet? Geez the Atlantic hurricane season doesn’t start until June 1 and we are already on the third named storm, Cristobal. Cristobal created havoc on the Tampa Bay area with rain starting Wednesday and continued through the weekend. If you live in Florida and are active you better learn to deal with potential rain frequently. Here I will share how I went about my training, why I train in rain and how I had a blast doing it (for the most part…). Hopefully you can take away some things to add to your plan and share with me what has worked for you.
Starting Wednesday, radar looked terrible all day but at 5:00 PM there looked to be a small window to sneak in a ride. I headed to Tampa on my regular route across the Courtney Campbell Causeway. Cycling over the bay allows me to get a good perspective on how close the rain clouds are. I was able to make it across and back through moderate to no rain.
With it being such a rainy day it resulted in the bridge being extremely quiet from the regular walkers, runners and cyclists so it gave me a great opportunity to open it up near the hump of the bridge as normally at that time of day there is a lot of traffic. As I was headed to Tampa I also looked to my right and saw two dolphins within 20 feet of trail. It is so awesome to see these beautiful creatures doing their thing.
Real craziness started Saturday morning at the Total Fitness Team group run. We met at 7:00 AM in Dunedin to run the Dunedin Causeway, a five mile out and back loop. Some of the team would do the loop a couple times. When we were finished warming up we headed west and at about 15 minutes into the run a light rain turned into an absolute onslaught. I was just cleared by Dr. Gerard Bogin to run for the first time in two weeks for 10 minutes only. When I stopped 10 minutes into the run the team kept going and after about five minutes on my walk back I got hit with a driving rain.
I remember thinking to myself, I got to run 10 minutes for the first time in two weeks and nothing could dampen the mood I was in. When I finally got back to my truck, I put on fresh socks, shirt, cycling jersey and headed out to see what I could do and also follow in our long runner of the day, Rodrigo, who was out running 17 miles. The dry clothes lasted maybe 10 seconds.
After last weekend that was both sunny and extremely hot and humid I didn’t think I would say I was cold again until the fall but sure enough I was freezing on the bike from the heavy rain and wind. I had to limit the biking as the streets were beginning to flood. Believe me I think it’s critical for me to ride in rain so I have the confidence to press hard in races but this was not safe so I transitioned to bring Rodrigo in and call it a morning.
Rodrigo, somewhat new to our team, said he had one of the best experiences of his life. He said he never ran in the rain before. He has gotten so much joy from what he has set out to achieve. He is enjoying the process, the learning that comes along with it and not just about running. Learning about yourself including how to overcome adversity is much more powerful than learning simply about the adversity faced in running. As one of his coaches I was moved by his Instagram post after his run on this day. It validates why I spend so much time doing what I do here. The personal satisfaction to be a part of someone’s journey to live a healthy life is an incredible feeling.
After drying out the remainder of Saturday we had a team ride at Fred Howard Park Sunday morning. While some of the group started with a swim I completed some out and back bike intervals on the exposed (to wind) road from the endpoint of the beach to the entrance of the park. During this first ride the wind was blowing me sideways a good bit from time to time and I went in and out of light rain. In this case the roads were wet but not dangerous like Saturday morning when I decided to shut it down.
When I was done with my solo ride and the swimmers finished we all did an extremely hard bike interval workout within the park for 50 minutes. We got better on this morning for sure including great experience handling the bike in windy and rainy conditions.
After, we took some time to play in the water and horse around on the beach doing funny skits and photo shoots. This team has no shortage of being crazy and having fun. We all support the heck out of each other and have fun doing it. Thank you Coach Celia Dubey for organizing such a fun post workout be crazy session.
Going back to the Saturday morning run, as we were warming up I asked each runner to say why they run in rain or what benefit they receive. Here is a summary including my own entries:
- It’s cooler (in summer time)
- Can go faster as it generally cooler in typical hot conditions
- It’s on the training plan…need the work
- We race in rain…we better practice in it (no lightning however)
- Builds confidence in dealing with adverse conditions (rip currents, wet roads, high and gusty winds, etc.)
- It’s fun! (can be if you make it fun)
– Add Health to Your Life
Featured Blog Photo Above:
- Top Left – Total Fitness Team pointing at the Yellow Flag after our workout Sunday morning…yellow flag means that medium hazards such as moderate surf and/or currents are present. It’s still the same factor of “swim at your own risk,” so make your best judgement before making that call. This team swam together and used attached swim buoys (safe team).
- Top Right – Total Fitness Team cycling photo pre-ride Sunday morning…Diamonds are strong!!!
- Middle Left – Rodrigo running 17 miles with Mike by his side for 10 of them…great teammates. That was during a driving rain…picture doesn’t give it justice of how hard it was coming down.
- Middle Middle – My Wednesday night solo ride across the bay…got wet but I got it a great workout and safe (no standing water and no lightning).
- Middle Right – Total Fitness Team run Saturday morning…this was about 10 minutes before we got hit hard on the Dunedin Causeway.
- Bottom Left – Total Fitness Team after our workout Sunday morning. We got on these big aqua bikes…we didn’t get very far…we had so much fun playing in the water…there was some great video captured of us horsing around…on Facebook somewhere now…
- Bottom Right – Total Fitness Team pre-run Saturday morning…the calm before the storm.