Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Rain on race day

We had rain and thunderstorms last night, leading me to switch up my workouts so I could stay inside.  That reminded me, I'd been meaning to do a post on things I've learned about what to do if it rains on race day and you can't just move it indoors.  Here's my take on some of the tips out there about racing in the rain. 

1. Trash bags - This is the big tip I keep seeing out there about racing in the rain.  Have a trash bag with you so you have something disposable that will help you stay a bit dry.  What I didn't realize is that it shouldn't be a normal kitchen size trash bag.  That is what I used at the Rock and Roll DC Half and it was not too effective. The bag was too small and it felt like it actually made things worse because the rain would pool on various places in the bag and then run down my back all at the same time.  Not comfortable.  To be honest, I would just buy a cheap poncho next time.  That way, I could run in it for some time if I wanted and still discard it when desired.

Me and my ill fitting trash bag

2. Hats - The other big tip I picked up about running in the rain is to have a brimmed hat.  This is a great tip and it really helps.  But don't do what I initially did, which is choose the hat based on cuteness and wear it at the race for the first time.  I never tested the hat properly and it was really ill fitting.  I either had to pull it down so low I couldn't see or it would fly off and I'd have to run back down the course to go catch it before it flew away. This certainly made the Piece of Cake 5k last year less than fun. So make sure your hat fits well and is functional before race day.

3.  Check the weather again - I learned this lesson at the Pike's Peek 10k this year.  The forecast had been calling for a cold rain all weekend.  I even checked the weather before I went to sleep the night before.  But didn't check again in the morning.  If I had, I would have seen that the weather had miraculously cleared up.  It was warm with no rain.  However, I was still in my long sleeved rain jacket and pants.  This made for a miserable race.

There's me in the purple long sleeves.

4. Practice runs in all weather -I'm of mixed opinions on this one.  I definitely wimped out of rainy runs during my training for the Rock and Roll DC Half.  I would probably have felt stronger and better prepared on race day if I hadn't moved my runs indoors during the first sign of rain.  But part of me feels like then I would have been miserable on multiple runs and not just on race day!  Nonetheless, if you want to be prepared for whatever race day has to throw at you, do not shy away from training runs in bad weather.  I'm still working on this one, and like I said, I switched out my running days this week to avoid yesterday's storms.

5.  Good socks and body glide - I have nothing to add to this one, but it's so important that I felt the need to mention it again.  I had no blisters and minimal chafing after my rainy races and I credit that to the good socks and liberal use of body glide.  You will thank yourself after the race for remembering this one!

6.  Have fun!  This one may be hard in the face of the rain, but you can't control the weather.  You've probably already paid for the race, so you might as well have a good attitude about it!  I kind of enjoyed the first part of the Rock and Roll Half, and felt like a kid running around in the rain.  I wasn't able to sustain the good attitude the whole way but it definitely made the race easier that I enjoyed myself until mile 6 or 7.  And just think about how bad ass you'll feel when it's over!  That may be what carried my through the second half of that race.

So those are my takes on common tips for handling rain on race day.  I'm crossing my fingers I don't have to use them again but I'm sure I will.  Any tips you have to add to the list would definitely be welcome :)