Many years ago, when I used to throw people out of my airplane for a living (don’t worry, they had parachutes… mostly), my Army friends had a saying… “If it ain’t rainin’, we ain’t trainin’.” If the conditions weren’t hard enough, the training wasn’t really worth much. They might have gone through the motions of maneuvering their platoon or company through the exercise, but it was too easy. They needed more challenge. That’s true for triathletes, too.
Joe Friel writes about the importance of “mental toughness” in his Triathlete’s Training Bible. It’s that attribute that can’t be taught, but must be learned. It’s the knowledge that you can survive that thing you dread. The training benefit gained by grinding out a hard 3, 4, or 5 mile workout in the rain, or the heat, or the snow instead of enjoying the ease and comfort of the treadmill is much greater than just the mileage. It’s the knowledge that you can push through when things just suck. Someone asked me after a marathon training run in freezing rain and slush why I didn’t just do the run the next day. Because I have no guarantee that it won’t be doing the same thing on race day. And I can’t postpone then.
This morning’s run was a short 3 mile hill route, in the rain. It was only a very light drizzle at first, which became a sprinkle, which eventually became a steady rain. Other than having a little trouble seeing through my Dual glasses that ARE NOT bifocals, it was a great workout. I actually enjoy running in the rain. I can’t say the same for cycling, where rain makes things much more dangerous, but even a steady rain adds something to a run. Hard to explain, but you’re just “out there”, making it happen. Lightening obviously changes that equation, but this morning was just a light, steady rain. Wonderful.
So between the rain and the hills, I guess today qualifies as “trainin’.” I’ve got another 4 mile run scheduled for tomorrow, with more rain in the forecast. Train on.