Most races are not cancelled due to rain, and many runners worry about what to do if it rains on race day. It’s definitely helpful to do some training runs in the rain, so you’re not freaking out about doing it for the first time on race day. (Nothing new on race day!) Here are some strategies for staying as comfortable as possible when running races in the rain.
1.Wear a garbage bag.
Yes, that’s right – make a dress out of a big trash bag by cutting armholes and a neck hole. You can wear it to stay dry while you’re waiting in the starting area. You can take it off and throw it to the side once you get moving.
2. Don’t overdress.
This is one the biggest mistakes runners make when preparing for a race in the rain. If you’re wearing lots of layers, you won’t stay dry – you’ll just be wearing more wet, heavy clothes. Dress for the temperature, just as if it wasn’t raining.
3. Wear a hat with a brim.
It will keep the rain off your face, which makes a huge difference to your comfort level and your ability to see what’s coming on the course.
4. Wear another pair of running shoes to the start.
If it’s raining at the start and you’re going to be waiting outside for a while, wear another pair of shoes and keep your race shoes dry in a plastic bag. Right before you head to the starting line, put on your race shoes and stick the old ones in your checked bag or donate them (if they’re collecting shoe and clothing donations). By then it may have stopped raining, and you can start the race with dry shoes. Even if it’s still raining, at least your shoes won’t be completely soaked when you first start.
5. Don’t forget the Body Glide.
Chafing is more likely to happen when you’re wet, so to prevent it, spread Body Glide or Vaseline on parts of your body where you would normally chafe or get blisters – such as your feet, inner thighs, underarms, sports bra lines (women), and nipples (men). If it’s a long race such as a half marathon or marathon, you may need to re-apply at some point. (The medical aid stations will have Vaseline.
6. Carry extra socks in your running belt.
If you have some room in your running belt or fanny pack, stash an extra pair of socks in a baggie. You’ll lose a little time stopping to change them, but you’ll feel a lot more comfortable, and hopefully prevent blisters, by having a dry pair of socks. This is especially helpful if it’s raining when the race starts, but then stops raining while you’re running (but your socks are still wet).
7. Give dry socks and shoes to a race supporter.
Or, even better than carrying your own socks, get a very dedicated friend or family to help you out. Give them an extra, dry pair of socks and shoes and have them meet you during the second half of the race (make sure you know exactly where on the course they’ll be), so you can change your socks and shoes.
8. Change your wet clothes post-race.
You may feel warm when you first cross the finish line, but make sure you change out of your wet clothes quickly. When you’re wet, you’re at an increased risk for hypothermia, a lowering of your body temperature. Bring an extra set of clothes so you can change out of your wet race outfit after the race.
Also see: Tips for Running in the Wind