QT: 6 Suggestions for Racing in the Rain

When it comes to race day, there are no guarantees that the weather is going to cooperate.

And, in my experience at least, more often than not the race day weather leaves a little bit to be desired.

When it comes to the weather, there are no shortage of ways the conditions can go sideways.

  • Too hot.
  • Too cold.
  • Windy AF.
  • Raining buckets.

Dealing with bad weather is a part of racing.

You may not like it, but it’s the nature of the beast.

Racing in the Rain

Last week, I was fortunate enough to be able to run the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC.

Leading up to race day, there was very little doubt that it was going to be a wet one.

Rain was in the forecast for race day from about 4 am until the early afternoon.

And for once, the forecast was pretty much spot on.

Leading up to the race, I had a few people reach out asking me for suggestions for how to dress/run a race that had a 100% chance of being wet.

So, while this post/episode is too late to help those of us that ran MCM last weekend, hopefully some of these tips will help you if you find yourself racing in the rain at some point down the road.

Lube Up

I’m typically not much of a chafer, thankfully.

Apparently, however, running 26.2 miles in wet shorts was enough for my thighs to end up with a little irritation.

And I think I know why…

I’m not typically a “short shorts” kind of guy, but it turns out wet shorts bunch a bit which “may” have contributed to my thigh rub.

If you typically have any issues with chafing or rubbing and you know it’s going to be a wet one, you’re definitely going to want to lube up before your race gets started.

Dress for the Temperature

When it comes to figuring out what to wear for racing in the rain, the best thing you can do is dress for the temperature and not for the weather.

If the temperature is hot enough that you’d wear short sleeves, wear short sleeves.

Cold enough for a jacket? Wear a jacket.

It seemed to me, and this is purely speculation, that many people at MCM were overdressed based on the fact that they were going to have to stand around in the rain waiting for the race to start.

I get wanting to stay as warm/dry as possible pre-race.

That’s the ideal time to go with a throwaway something.

A trash bag, cheap poncho, or an old space blanket can work wonders to keep you warm-ish and dry-ish until you start running.

Hat/Visor (and Maybe Sunglasses)

The idea of wearing a hat/visor and/or sunglasses on a rainy day may seem laughable, but it can be a game changer to help keep the rain out of your eyes.

And not for nothing, but there is always the chance that the rain will dry up and the sun will come out before you finish your race. If that happens, having some sunglasses may be well appreciated.

Don’t Forget to Drink

One thing that is easy to overlook when you’re running in the rain is the need to stay hydrated and replace electrolytes while you’re running.

It’s easy to forget that you need to take in liquids and some salts when it’s raining. Becasue whether you notice it or not, you’re still sweating.

It seemed like there were more than a few people that learned this lesson the hard way on Sunday, as there were several people that seemed to really struggle as soon as the sun came out late in the race. I even saw more than a few getting carted off via EMS.

I don’t know that it was a lack of fluids early that caused the issues for those I saw struggling during the last 10k of the race, but either way it’s important to remember to drink while racing in the rain.

Wet Feet are Guaranteed

Wet feet suck.

If you’re racing in the rain, you’re going to have wet feet.

I Guarantee It

I’m all for each runner doing what he or she needs to do, but running with plastic bags on your feet?

You do you boo, but after 26.2 miles in the rain your feet are still going to be wet.

Instead of trying to stop your feet from getting wet, which is basically a losing battle, just accept the inevitable.

And make sure you have good socks, ie not cotton ones, which will go a long way toward keeping your feet from getting too jacked up from being wet for an entire race.

Be Careful on the Paint

Unless the temps are near freezing, odds are you don’t have to worry too much about slipping on wet pavement.

That said, be careful with the parts of road that are painted.

Lane lines. Arrows. The white line at a stop sign.

The painted marking on the road have a tendency to be a fair bit more slick than the asphalt itself.

So while you don’t need to be too worried of slipping in general, be a bit more cautious anytime you’re around some paint.

Rain Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Race Well

I’m not going to try and tell you that running a race in a monsoon is ideal.

Because it’s not.

But just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you can’t still hit your goal for the day.

You Can Do It

The next time you find yourself racing in the rain, and if you run enough races it’s going to happen eventually, don’t think that all is lost because the rain is falling from the sky.

If you let the rain get to you, it’ll get to you.

Instead focus on doing the best you can given the circumstances, you have a very real chance of crushing it.

I’m still not going to root for rain on race day.

But I’m damn sure not going to let the fact that it’s raining prevent me from getting out there and giving it my best shot.

I’d encourage you do do the same, and hopefully these tips will prove useful the next time you find yourself racing in the rain.

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