Thursday, April 11, 2019

Rainy Race Day Running Tips


Rain. It happens, even on race day.

For most of us, this is probably not our favorite scenario. Especially if it's a goal race or one we've trained especially hard for, rain on race day can be a real buzz kill. Now that Spring is officially here, the likelihood of rain in the forecast is a possibility.

What's a runner to do? Stay home and declare a DNS? Or, lace up (anyways), dress up (in appropriate rainy weather gear) and show up at that start line? 


Although rainy race day conditions are not ideal, they can be bearable. Here are a few tips to make the day a little less painful....
pic from I <3 to run
First and foremost, Leave the cotton at home. I don't care how warm and comfy that thick cotton fleece sweatshirt is.....it will feel like 5-10 extra pounds of dead weight if it gets wet. And if, by chance, the rain stops (and you still have a few more miles to go), that mass of sloppy fabric will not dry out. Do you think I'm kidding? Take a simple cotton t-shirt and a tech fabric shirt...get them both wet, and hang them out to dry. I am willing to bet a new pair of running shoes that the cotton shirt will take much longer to dry (#eeewww).
tech fabric for the win!
A lot of runners show up wearing a garbage bag. Yes, a garbage bag will cover most of your body and it will effectively repel water. But, garbage bags are kind of big and bulky. My solution? Use a dry-cleaning bag instead. A dry-cleaning bag is much lighter in weight, and guess what? If you're participating in a race, your race bib will actually show through it! I recommend not just splitting it open for the neck, but actually cutting a bit of a scoop neckline, as well as side slits near the waist so you can have access to your pockets or race belt underneath. I have a bag all rolled up and ready in my fuel belt, so I'm always prepared.
dry-cleaning bag #glamourousnot
Your feet will get wet, and so will your socks. I always wear wool socks (rain or shine) to help prevent blisters. Did you know wool (unlike cotton) wicks away moisture from your feet? Again, leave the cotton at home. And while we're talking feet, go ahead and lube your toes, thoroughly. You can use brand name "glide" products, or plain old petroleum jelly (or even deodorant) will suffice.

two necessary race day words: Wool Socks
What about your hair? I'm not much a hat-wearer, but if it's raining (or in the forecast to do so), I will wear a cap. Yes, the cap will probably get wet as well, but it will keep your hair drier than a visor or a headband, and the bill will help deflect most of the raindrops. Also, ladies, consider wearing your hair in a braid instead of a ponytail...a wet braid is much easier to comb out than a messy, wet ponytail post-race.
braided (wet) hair, don't care
As you are running, do proceed with caution. It's easy to focus on your own discomfort, but pay attention to the slick streets or slippery trails. Also, watch for puddles...they may be deeper than they appear.

Yes, you may be a muddy mess when you are finished
Even though, the rain kind of "levels the competition," be realistic with your goals. If you are hoping to PR or land an age group award, racing in adverse conditions may not be the ideal day for that to happen. Of course, there is the chance you may be able to run faster and stronger because you don't want to be out in the rain any longer than necessary.

And, last of all, remember to smile! Having a good attitude will do wonders for your spirits. Although rain can make for miserable conditions, it also can make you feel like a beast for persevering through it. If it's in the dead heat of summer, a little bit of rain actually feels quite refreshing. 

Anyways, these are a few coping strategies that have helped me make the most out of less-than-ideal conditions on a rainy morning. We all have our own comfort levels and we get to choose where we draw the line between showing up or staying home. 

Have you ever trained really hard for a big race, only have it rain on race day? How do you feel about running in the rain? Ever wiped out on a muddy trail or slippery path? Ever run in a garbage bag or dry-cleaning bag?


I'm linking this with Meranda and Lacey for the Friday with Fairytales and Fitness link-up. 

 
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24 comments:

  1. Oh, good tip on the dry cleaning bag. Since I wear glasses, running in the rain is a challenge, so I might have to DNS if it's pouring. A hat with a brim can help if it's light rain.

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    1. I'm not sure where (or when?) I came up with the dry-cleaning bag idea....but it's been a great rainy day hack for me ;-)

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  2. I'm typically fine in rain but the COLD added to the wetness in Tokyo almost did me in. I love the idea of a dry cleaning bag. That said, I bought hooded rain ponchos for any future needs. It rained so hard in Tokyo hoods were necessary.

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    1. Cold rain is very miserable! I've run in that plenty of times (cough cough, Leprechaun Chase a month ago).

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  3. I actually think it's harder to run in warm rain sometimes bc it's too hot for a jacket. The trash bags are great for the start line but not so practical for the running part.
    Sometimes you just have to suck it up!

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    1. I agree....the bags are bulky! If it's a summer race, I usually ditch the bag after the first mile or so.

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  4. Never run in a garbage bag, although I always bring them. Actually never wiped out in mud, yet, despite a very muddy trail half. I’ve been mostly lucky with rain, except for the Nor’Easter half — I’m much more likely to encounter unseasonable heat.

    But you are so right that attitude is half the battle!

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    1. I've done plenty of rainy running , both on my own and in a race. It is what is is. There is some comfort in knowing all of us out there are dealing with it, right?

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  5. The dry cleaning bag is a good idea! Rain showed up for my last marathon but I was lucky enough to have a rain poncho from a tour I had done earlier that weekend. It worked well enough but I did dump it early on. Mostly kept it for warmth in the start corral. I agree about tech clothing as this is what saved me during my race!

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    1. I had rain for the first half of a marathon, and also for a couple hours of my first ultra. UGH. Thankfully, both of those were in the summer months, so it was a "warm" rain.

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  6. I never thought of a dry cleaner bag. I just threw mine away I had. You should have posted this the other day...Haha. I am praying for dryer weather for this weekend.

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  7. I should have written this one. I'm an expert.

    Go to the Dollar store and buy those cheap poncho and then throw it away before the race.

    Don't forget your phone but put it in a plastic bag to keep it dry.

    Bring dry clothes (esp socks to change into after.

    Just do it. It's only water. You will not die!!

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  8. When I did the Staten Island Half a few years ago it literally poured the ENTIRE time. One thing that helped me a lot was my hat and my shades because it kept the water out of my eyes.

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    1. I usually have sunglasses, too. I can't stand having water splashing in my eyes.

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  9. I've run plenty of races in the rain--that is never a deal breaker for me! It's not pleasant but it is part of living in the Midwest. I'd probably skip the braid, tho...:p

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    1. Yes, we get every kind of weather in the Midwest (sometimes all four seasons in the same week).

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  10. Thanks, Kim! I am reading this in my hotel room before a 10K race. there is rain predicted for tomorrow morning (race day), but it should be warm. I brought a throwaway, but now I realized that my throwaway is cotton. Ugh! I am such a dummy!

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    1. Oh no! Maybe there's a Goodwill nearby? ;-) Good luck tomorrow!!

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  11. I don't think I've ever run a race IN the rain. It has rained the night before a mud run for me and turned the day into a cold dreary day with twice the amount of mud, but I've never had it rain during a race. I tend to do better in overcast conditions though so maybe I'd be the weirdo who actually PR's in this type of weather?

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  12. I don’t mind the rain if it’s not really cold rain.

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  13. I am not a huge fan of running in the rain! I have raced a few times in the rain, with the most terrible rain being the Nashville half in 2010!
    These are great tips!

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  14. I finally bought some Amazon ponchos to chill with trash bag chic. Like you said, see through for bib and also elastic wrists which kept me drier.
    I like running in the rain, I don't like standing around and waiting for races to start in it

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