Gene Kelly liked to sing and dance in the rain, since I am not much of a singer or a dancer, I run in the rain. If you are planning to race any time from November 1- April 30 you might find yourself racing in the rain. If you are going to race in the rain you should also train in the rain!
One year when I was training for CIM (California International Marathon) I was doing a long run outside of Petaluma city limits with a friend. It was really storming out – raining and windy. Halfway into the run the storm got worse and we had to dodge parts of roofs that had blown off chicken coops! Talk about foul weather! It was pretty scary and I wished I had just stayed in bed that morning. Little did I know at the time that this frightfully experience actually helped to prepare me for the upcoming CIM marathon.
That year at CIM, 2001, runners were greeted with the tail end of a hurricane! The winds blew the start off of the course. The rain was coming down in buckets. On this marathon course runners are taken out by bus to the start which was just a dark and wet section of a road. For some reason they wouldn’t let us poor runners even stay on the bus. I felt like a poor kitten abandoned at the side of the road – in the rain. We had about 45 minutes to suffer before we could run. Once the race started I was okay. The 45 minutes of shivering hurt the most, not the actually running. After this marathon I really felt like I had run in the worse conditions ever – nothing could be worse than that! Wrong.
In 2007, I ran my first Boston Marathon. I was so excited. Just before I left for Boston I found out that the “Storm of the Century” was going to hit Boston just in time for the marathon! The night before the marathon the winds keep me up. This fierce northeaster storm tore off roofs and flooded streets. It seemed like this might be the first Boston Marathon to be cancelled in the 111 year history of the race! The race went on as planned – and it stormed! I was soaking wet and freezing cold just waiting in line to catch the bus to take me to the start of the race at 4:00am. I wasn’t too worried at that point since we were going to warm sanctuary at a local high school to warm up with coffee and bagels before the race started. Well that’s what they told me. Unfortunately, I was one of the unlucky runners who was locked out of the shelter when the fire department determined that there we too many runners inside the building. I had to take shelter under a table, shivering for 90 long minutes before the race started! I have never been so cold. Once again, the actually running was the easier and warmer than the waiting!
So here are some tips I have for your rainy day runs!
– Wear a hat with a brim. It doesn’t keep your hair dry but it does keep the rain out of your eyes!
– Dress in layers. Make sure that the layer closest to your body is made up of a material that will wick moisture away from your body. Don’t run in cotton or you will be as wet and heavy as your towels are after your shower! You can also wear a water proof running jacket or vest that will allow your body to breathe. Don’t put on a water proof rain slicker that isn’t a performance (breathable ) material or it will trap moisture and heat and cook you like steam room.
– Don’t over dress. Make sure you know how hard you will be running and for how long. If I am doing a short hard run I will wear less and the same on race day. For a longer run at a lower intensity I will wear an extra layer.
– Put on some moisturizer on your face to protect your skin from the elements – you don’t want to look weathered!
– Make sure that you are wearing some reflective clothing. You want to make sure that you can be seen on the road. I also wear my “Road Id” just in case I am in an accident.
– Protect your iPod. I found out the hard way that my “Sports” iPod isn’t water proof or even water resistant. Get it just a little wet and it’s dead! So put it in a water proof bag or in a zip lock baggie to protect it.
– If you are at a race just put a garbage bag over your clothes to stay dry before the race starts. Then rip if off and go. It’s a good idea to bring some old shoes to wear to the start and then disregard and put on your race shoes to start the course dry. Ideally you should have a warm place to hang out and stay dry before your warm up.
– Training in the rain will make racing in the rain easier!
Once you get out in the rain just surrender to it! You’re going to get wet so enjoy it. Running in the rain makes me feel like a kid. Remember how much fun it was to run through the puddles? All things considered I find rain running 1,000 times more enjoyable than running indoors on a treadmill. Just imagine you are like Gene Kelly and put your best foot forward and make a big splash!