Friday, June 29, 2012

Singin' in the rain, and racing aerodynamics

The Chicagoland area underwent some heavy rainfall today.  (The rainfall has been much needed, given drought-like conditions for the past several months!)

As soon as I saw the ominous grey skies and the raindrops pelting my windows, I did what anyone would do in this situation.  I laced up my running shoes and darted outside.

Running in the rain is a great way to mix up the running routine, especially in the summertime!  It's been so hot and humid outside that the rain is actually incredibly refreshing.  It's fun to slosh through puddles and to smell the wet grass.  It also makes me feel like a hard-core runner.  Especially when I see other people huddling underneath overpasses or walking around waving their umbrellas.  Comparatively, I'm tearin' it up in my running shoes and actually wishing that it would rain harder.  No drizzle for me - give me the good rain!

I've actually never seen this movie.  But I hear it's a classic!

My one question is regarding lightning.  Is it considered unsafe to go running if it's lightning outside?  I think I've read a lot of instances in which events take place "rain or shine, except in the event of lightning."  I'm no meteorologist, but don't they say that the odds of getting hit by lightning are literally one in a million?

Maybe someone could design a lightning rod hat for runners.  I can see it now: "A guaranteed deterrent for all-weather electricity!  Run safe and run confident with your own custom-designed lightning rod hat!

Manufacturers of running gear, you heard this new product idea from me first!!!!!

A lightning rod suit. 
Who wouldn't want to run while wearing this?

On a related note - my running shoes obviously got wet this morning while I was out in the rain, which made them significantly heavier.  When I was putting them away and rearranging my other shoes, it made me observe that certain pairs of my (dry) running shoes are also noticeably heavier than others. 

I was thinking ahead to the Chicago Marathon this October and considering which shoes to wear for the big day.  Based on my current running shoe rotation, I was debating between the Brooks Glycerin 8s or a pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 15s.  The Brooks (after adding my prescribed Superfeet berry insoles to them) feel a little more supportive, which I like.  But they are also comparatively heavier.  For shorter training runs, I don't think it makes a huge difference - but over 26.2 miles I think everything will make a difference. 

(NOTE TO SELF: Pick up a racing suit like the below.  Anything to improve my aerodynamics.)

(In case you're wondering, these are from an episode of Blackhawks TV from a few years ago.  It's some of the funniest television known to humankind for all Blackhawks fans.  And yes, I am anxiously awaiting the start of the 2012-2013 NHL season even though it is months away.  But I digress.)

I've heard many folks talk about the feeling of running while wearing bricks on their feet.  Is this the reason that doing a combination workout of two triathalon activities is called a "brick workout" - because of how heavy your legs must be afterwards?  Speaking of wearing bricks...

Lego-brick shoes!
(These can't be comfortable...)

Back to the original question.  For all you marathoners out there, any opinions on marathoning in heavier, more supportive shoes vs lighter, less supportive shoes?!? 

(No Lego shoes, sorry.)


  1. The marathon is a long taxing distance, your feet need the support, even if the shoes are a bit heavier. The elites get away with lighter, less supportive shoes due to their near perfect form, the short amount of time they are out there, and the fact that their training volume is so high that their bodies are used to the constant pounding. Most "normal" runners need a bit more support but you'll figure out what works best for you over the next couple of months.

    Good Luck!

    1. AWESOME advice, Amanda, especially with regards to why the elites can better handle the featherlight shoes. THANK YOU SO MUCH for your insight!!!!!

  2. I love running in the rain, too! It's also good practice in case you get rained on during a race. (A miserable, rainy half that I walked in December had me wishing that I had practiced in the rain.)

    My two cents on the shoes is that whichever pair you think you'll wear for the race, wear them for your longest training run (probably a 20 miler). As long as they don't chafe or give you blisters on that run, you'll be good to wear them for your full.*

    1. Ah yes, the fun of getting rained on during a race. As much as it sucks, training for those nonideal conditions really is so valuable, you are right!

      Good call on wearing the targeted shoes for the 20-miler. Incidentally, what's been weird for me is that on race days I've been good about wearing shoes that have never given me problems in training... but then on race days I HAVE had some problems here and there. It's the strangest, most bizarre thing. But you can only do so much with your shoe selections and shoe preparation - and a 20-miler would be about the best you can do!

  3. Not sure if you know this tip or not, but figured I'd pass it along...stuff wet shoes with sucks out all the water and dries your shoes quickly :)

    1. Thanks so much, Molly! I have actually used the newspaper tip in the past and indeed, it works like a charm (almost to the point of disbelief)!!! Yay for old newspapers (especially in this age where actual newspapers will probably no longer exist for much longer)!

  4. I agree with Amanda about wearing the shoes that give you the most cushioning for your first marathon. You'll need them for being on your feet that long!

    As for running in the rain, I don't like to run if there is lightning but I think that's because I grew up on the prairie. In the city it's probably okay because there's about 1 million things taller than you!

    1. Thanks, Erin - I appreciate the experienced feedback!!!

      Oooh, I am no meteorologist, but running in the prairie during lightning seems like it would be a scary experience. And hey, that's indeed another great benefit of urban living that we usually don't think about - having everything else be taller than you for lightning-rod purposes. =D

  5. I've run in the lightning before. During a race a few months ago on the lakefront- while it was somewhat scary, I figured the taller buildings would get zapped before me. Plus it was an incentive to run faster to get done!

    I run in Nike lunar racers for my races as well as training. They are on the lighter side but don't have much support. I notice a difference if I wear my heavier trainers vs those for long runs. The heavier shoes definitely tire me out quicker. My new mizuno wave elixirs are very light too and provide more support than the nikes. I might consider them for my BQ marathon in the fall. You just need to find what works best for you. :)

    1. Lightning is a TERRIFIC incentive to run faster to finish sooner. =D Which lakefront race was it that you experienced the lightning, out of curiosity?

      So your heavier shoes definitely tire you out more quickly, eh? It sounds like it's usually a trade-off between support and weight, so I am glad to hear that your new Mizunos are very light but are more supportive, too! Please keep me posted on how you like the Mizunos as you continue to break them in. You've mentioned Fox Valley - is that your target BQ marathon?