I’ve lost count of the times my fellow runners have told me they love to run in the rain.
They’re always ready with a litany of enthusiastic justifications:
“It cools you down!”
“It’s so refreshing!”
“The trails are so empty!”
I have to admit though, I remain completely unconvinced.
I’ve never once set out to intentionally run in the rain, but I’ve been caught in it by mistake more than enough times.
To me, running in the rain just feels so clearly and obviously uncomfortable. Rainwater seems to spread my sweat around rather than washing it off, making me feel stickier than ever. My clothes soak through and my skin wrinkles, sometimes even leaving blisters.
I’ll go to great lengths to avoid all that.
I’ve spent nearly an hour under a bridge waiting for an unexpected storm to pass, just so I wouldn’t have to run home through it.
Lately, I’ve started checking the weather every single time I leave for a run, just to make sure I won’t get stuck in the rain.
I truly do love to run, but the rain just ruins it for me.
There’s No Shame in Conditional Love
When it comes to our hobbies, there’s no shame in conditional love.
Thanks to the internet, these days is very easy to find people who take just about every hobby extremely seriously.
The running world exemplifies this. There are countless internet forums in which amateur runners discuss diet, training schedules, and motivation as if they were professionals.
This kind of discussion isn’t inherently bad — in fact, it can be fun to get really into a hobby and it can even help you stick with it.
On the other hand though, when you read about so many people taking their hobby so seriously, you can end up feeling pressure to keep up.
With running, it ends up feeling almost embarrassing to admit that I won’t run in the rain.
It comes across as if I don’t really like running that much, or that it isn’t an important hobby to me.
If I really loved running, shouldn’t I be out there every day, no matter what the conditions?
The truth is though, I’m not trying to run professionally, or even to win any amateur races. I’m just trying to have fun, destress, and get in some exercise.
Running does all that for me even if I skip some days.
If I ended up forcing myself out on a run even in the pouring rain, it wouldn’t make me love running more. Instead, it would actually make me start to like running a lot less.
Instead of continuing to associate running with the joyful experience it currently is for me, I’d start to associate it with the miserable experience of being drenched.
The way you enjoy a hobby should be based on your own goals, not on keeping up with strangers online.
There should never be a need to suffer for your hobby just for the sake of proving you love it.
Instead, focus on what you need to do to achieve your own goals, and do it. For some runners, that may include running in the rain. For me, it means staying inside on rainy days, completely guilt-free.