This past Saturday, I ran my 3rd 5/3 River Bank Run 25k race. Heading into race day, I knew it was going to be a soggy one. The weather forecasts were calling for rain all day and even some storms. Thankfully, the storms held off but runners participating in one of the days events were greeted with muggy temps in the 60s and rain varying from heavy to light.
I wasn’t expecting to cross an actual river during the River Bank Run!
Since this wasn’t my first rainy rodeo, I felt prepared to face whatever God decided to throw at me. I’m actually thankful for the rain because it made the humidity slightly more bearable.
As I wrote up my race recap (head over to my blog for that) I realized I had a post due for the Sisterhood too, so I thought I’d let you all know how I prepared for Saturday’s weather.
Tips for Surviving a Rainy Race
If you can find a dry place to hang out before your race starts, by all means USE IT. I was thankful to be able to wait in my church until about 20 minutes before the race started. This also made watching some of the earlier races more pleasant as well. FYI – dudes who win 10ks are INSANELY fast, even from that vantage point! When it was time to walk down the hill to the starting line, I was sporting the height of fashion – a black Hefty bag. Tear a small hole in the bottom of the bag for your head and if you want to be extra fancy, give yourself some arm holes on the sides. My friend, Christopher, had a smaller bag on that fit him almost like a tank top. Genius. This will keep you a bit warmer while you stand around as well. When it’s time to ditch your sexy rain gear, just be a courteous runner and toss it where no one will slip on it. Falling is never fun.
For the love of all that’s holy, if you know it’s going to be a rainy day, grease up any areas that may chafe or blister, and then grease up all the other areas of your body just to be safe. I used Ruby’s Lube on my feet, under my girls and along my sports bra band, under my arms (I was wearing a tank) and along the girly bits. I’m happy to report on my 15.5 mile run, I only had 2 tiny areas of chafing in an unmentionable area and NOT A SINGLE BLISTER! I can’t tell you how many runners I saw at med stations getting Vaseline for their feet. Guys – make sure you do something for your nipples, too. The bloody nipple A) looks really painful and B) is pretty gross running down a wet race shirt. Most of the guys I know swear by liquid bandage or those industrial strength circle bandages. Find something that works.
As I always say, tech gear is the only gear to wear no matter what the distance or conditions. Wet cotton is the heaviest, most unpleasant material on the planet. I actually saw one guy wearing a hooded sweatshirt and I wanted to ask him what the heck he was thinking. Yes, it’s more expensive but like the MasterCard commercials say, being comfortable…WORTH IT. Always dress as if it’s going to be at least 10 degrees warmer than it is unless the weatherman is predicting strong winds, then you can usually err on the side of warmer. Wearing tech will keep your wet clothes from feeling extra heavy, reduce the chance of chafing, and if you are blessed to have the sun come out it will dry very quickly. Something else that you will almost always see me wearing, rain or shine, is a hat. Go for a tech hat as well and if it’s rainy, the brim will help keep some of the water out of your eyes. Also, if you wear glasses and can ditch them before the run I’d suggest this as well. One of my girlfriends said she ended up running the entire race with her glasses in her hands because she couldn’t see through them in the rain and humidity once they fogged up and then got wet.
If you choose to run with a phone or iPod, do your best to keep it dry. I know of two people whose phones died during the race because they got wet. So sad. My best method for keeping mine dry is to put it in a Ziplock baggy, tuck it into the pouch of my fuel belt and then leave it alone. For Saturday’s race, I used two bags and my phone was bone dry. You can either poke a tiny hole for your headphones or just have them go through the opening of the bag before you wrap it the rest of the way around your phone. So I wouldn’t have to mess with my phone and risk getting it wet, I turned on my music, threw my phone in airplane mode and wrapped it up before I even left the church. Another tip: When you get home from your run, you can dry your shoes quicker if you take out the insoles and then stuff some newspapers inside your shoes. If they are really soppy, you might need to change the paper a couple times.
This might be the biggest factor in how enjoyable your run turns out to be. If you go into the run dreading it, you are going to be miserable. If you decide to have fun, splash in the puddles, and accept the conditions, you are going to have a much better time. When you come across giant floods and decide to go off-roading in the mud bog with the rest of the pack, laugh it off and make jokes. “I thought the Grand River was about 50 yards to our right? Who moved it??” On the bright side, if you ruin your shoes, it just gives you an excuse to buy another pair 🙂
Hopefully these tips for surviving a raining run will help you brave the elements next time you see wet weather in the forecast. I promise you won’t melt and unless you’re a Gremlin, getting wet won’t cause you to multiply and turn into an evil little creature. Running in the rain just makes you that much more bad@$$ and gives you bragging rights with your running posse! You should try it sometime 🙂
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