Weather The Weather!

Variable conditions don’t have to derail your running.

Jeff Galloway |

Variable conditions don’t have to derail your running. – By Jeff Galloway

Illustration by Rami Niemi
Illustration by Rami Niemi

The first rule of outdoor exercise at this time of year is check the forecast before you head out. Depending on where in South Africa you live, all kinds of weather surprises might spring up – rain, mist, wind, heat – and you’ll be more comfortable if you’re prepared. And choosing the right apparel is only part of it.

Here’s what to consider, depending on what Mother Nature has in store for you today.


On not-cold-but-not-warm autumn days, many runners overdress. Most of us don’t need more than shorts and a T-shirt when it’s warmer than 10 degrees. Between 5 and 10 degrees, consider long sleeves. And remember: cold muscles need to warm up. Start by walking for three to five minutes.


When your body’s already started adapting to cooler weather, an unexpected warm run can be challenging. Try checking the weather report the day before, then run earlier in the morning and wear loose, sweat-wicking clothing. Slow down, with longer walk breaks and shorter run periods as needed, to keep your effort comfortable.


Showers bring chafing and blisters. Use Vaseline or BodyGlide on your feet, underarms, and anywhere else that skin or clothing rubs. Wear a hat with a brim, and choose tech fabrics over cotton. In cold rain, wear a water-resistant jacket: unzip to let heat escape during run periods, and zip it up to stay warm during walk breaks.


On gusty days, wear form-fitting clothing to reduce drag, and avoid areas where debris might fall into your path. Plan your route strategically: note the direction of the wind, and try to plot an out-and-back course with a crosswind.

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