Rainy Race Day Strategies

Tips for Running Races in the Rain

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. Here are some strategies for staying as comfortable as possible when running races in the rain.

Wear a garbage bag.

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Yes, that's right – you can make a dress out of a big trash bag by cutting armholes and a neck hole. You'll be amazed at how much a basic trash bag will keep you dry and protected from wind (which is often a concern during rainy weather). Use it to stay dry and warm while you're waiting in the starting area. Once you get moving and start to warm up, it's easy to rip it off and and throw it to the side.

Don't overdress.

Running in the rain
John Kelly

Overdressing is one of the biggest mistakes runners make when preparing for a race in the rain. Some runners assume that lots of clothes will keep them dry and warm. In reality, 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.

Wear a hat with a brim.

A hat with a brim is you best friend during a rainy race. 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.

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, but you may also want to carry a small tube of it in your pocket or running belt.

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).

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.

More: What Type of Socks Should I Run In?

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 to put in your checked bag (or in your car if it's easy to get to post-race) so you can change out of your wet race outfit into dry clothes soon after you cross the finish line.


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