And now, here it is - January 11...only two days until the Aramco Houston 1/2 Marathon! Holy cow, where did the time go? My running group had their final "long" run last Saturday and Mother Nature gave us one heck of a send off to end our training season - 43 degrees and rain! Luckily, before the run we had the warm shelter of Luke's Locker. We had a smaller than usual group, but still a pretty good number of runners considering the conditions. We debated about skipping our run and just going to Starbucks. We checked out the weather radar on our high-tech phones...the rain was supposed to continue for most of the day. Finally, we just said to heck with it! We were going to do this six miles, so we headed out. There were shrieks the first time one of us stepped into a cold puddle, but we eventually embraced the suck and just ran. And we had a great time!
Fast forward to today. Looks like we might have the same conditions for the marathon and half marathon on Sunday, sigh. Now, don't get me wrong...I don't mind running in rain. Sometimes I actually look forward to it. But rain and cold?
Not so much.
For 6 miles, it wasn't a huge deal. For an actual race...13.1 miles...2+ hours (for me)...NO!!!!!
But, it is what it is. We can't control the weather, but we can control our attitude about it and how we prepare for it. I sent the tips below to my running group, let me know if you can think of any that I missed!
First, let's talk about your upper body. You can find a variety of lightweight, weather proof jackets at Luke's or at the Expo, but keep in mind that "waterproof" also typically means "unbreathable"…this means that you can get too warm very quickly. Of course if that happens, you can always tie the jacket around your waist. Another option is to buy a cheap rain poncho at Academy or the dollar store. You can wear it before the race and discard it anytime you feel you no longer need it. And finally, the cheapest option – the trash bag. You will see a lot of runners wearing trash bags on a cold or rainy race morning. Again, you can toss it anytime you want!
If you really want to purchase a waterproof jacket, Runners World has a pretty good article with some recommendations. Also, look the white disposable jackets at the Expo...they are $10 and a good alternative to a pricier jacket.
Next, let's talk about your head. In the event of rain, you may want to consider wearing a baseball-type cap or a visor. While it won't keep your head dry, it will at least keep the rain out of your face. It's no fun to worry about losing a contact or to not be able to see during a torrential downpour.
Now, let's talk about your feet. I've heard of people putting Ziploc baggies over their socks before slipping their feet into their shoes. I've never tried this, so attempt at your own risk. I will say that you may be more prone to blisters with wet socks and shoes, so it wouldn’t hurt to use Body Glide on your heels, arches, etc.
Finally, let's talk about post-race comfort. If the forecast is still predicting rain, take advantage of the bag check-in service at the race. Pack yourself a change of clothes – especially shoes and socks – so that you can be comfy while enjoying your post-race breakfast!
Have you run a long distance race in the cold rain? Any tips for surviving the elements?