Thunderstorms are dangerous, Mom made sure we all knew that as kids, yelling at us to come inside from playing when the clouds got dark and rumbling started in the distance. We woefully obeyed, while watching out the windows with wonder as rain fell and lightning streaked across the sky. Now as adults and trail runners - what do we do in spring/summer, when ramping up our mileage, but also when it storms most afternoons and evenings? So, I compiled this little list of tips for what to do about running in thunderstorm season.*
Timing is Everything. Afternoon thunderstorms are best. Plan your run a few hours (or less depending on how long you want to run) before the storms are predicted to begin. This can be tricky, as we all know how accurate weathermen are. Either way, it is essential to have several miles of trails to run once you get "caught" by the thunderstorm.
The hotter and more miserable the weather when starting, the better. For my run, I chose to run roads to my trail destination, and back home via trails. Baking in the sun on the way out made the looming storm clouds that much greater, and the sounds of rain on the leaves of the overhead branches that much sweeter.
Leave electronics at home. This includes cell phones and music devices and especially everything with an "i" at the beginning. They'll get damaged and even worse, they'll distract you from the music of the rain and thunder.
Are you one of those people who HAS to run with your iPhone? Seriously? Well, to spare offense, let's just say I think you need to re-evaluate your life.
Have a Backup Plan. There might come a point in the run where you are having too much fun and the trail comes to an end. If the thunderstorm isn't done and neither are you, have a plan on what to do if you reach the end of the trail. Have sufficient knowledge of connector trails and side loops to continue the fun!
Splash in newly formed mud puddles. Would I lie to you? Trust me, it's necessary.
Dress Appropriate. Cotton kills, polyester doesn't, everyone knows this. But I would go further by saying that the less clothes the better!
Leave scaredy-dogs (sorry Reis!) and naysayers at home. They'll just ruin the fun with their over exaggeration and panicking.
*Disclaimer. While it might seem as if I have all the answers, I am not a trained professional nor do I have any knowledge regarding this matter at all. Run at your own risk!