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Tips for Running in the Rain

Anyone who’s experienced runDisney’s 2014 Wine and Dine Half Marathon (aka Splash & Dash,) knows a thing or two about running in the rain. The four of us had a similar experience with this year’s Broad Street 10 Miler with its nonstop chill. Both were equally miserable, but you know what, despite all my complaining … there’s something awesome about running in the rain.

Something that makes you feel bad ass.

Plus it gives you some fantastic battle stories to share later. Still, being prepared – both physically and mentally – can decide how that battle story ends! So here’s some:

Tips for Running in the Rain - just because the forecast is looking dismal doesn't mean you have to treadmill it. Follow these tips, grab a visor, and go!

Pack wisely!

If you are traveling for your race, make sure you pack for the weather … and anything else Mother Nature throws your way!

  • A Visor or Hat is a must to keep the rain out of your eyes. This saved me at Splash & Dash! I would have gone bonkers otherwise.
  • Several disposable ponchos that can be purchased cheaply at Wal-Mart or in bulk at Amazon. Make sure you have enough to wear before the race and pack another in your gear bag for after the race.
  • A heavier poncho packed in your gear bag to wear after the race if necessary.
  • An umbrella might also be a good idea for after the race but don’t bring it in the corrals pre-race since you might poke someone with it and block vision for those behind you.
  • Garbage bags, which can be made into emergency ponchos by cutting holes for your head and arms. (Which means you should also throw a pair of scissors in your suitcase.) Contractor bags are especially awesome since they are larger and heavier!
  • A waterproof case for your phone or other electronics. Plastic baggies also work great in a pinch!
  • Gallon-sized plastic baggies for any post-race clothing you are keeping in your gear bag. This might not be necessary, but if runDisney continues to use large trucks for holding gear bags, there’s a chance rain could blow in from the open end, getting bags on that side wet. Those drawstring bags aren’t protective!
  • If you’re running multiple races, pack an extra pair of shoes so you can rotate if one gets wet.
  • Newspaper is also wonderful for drying out your shoes overnight!
  • Body glide or other anti-chafe products. Oh boy. Trust me on this one!
  • Vaseline for your toes and/or feet also works great for keeping your feet blister-free. But still…
  • Blister band-aids in case the Vaseline or glide doesn’t cut it!
  • Tossing a small hand towel in your gEar bag might also be a good idea for drying off post-race!
  • If you’re driving to the race, also have a towel in your vehicle to protect your seats and drying off.

For more packing tips, be sure to check out these posts!

Adjust Your Expectations

This applies for both races and training runs. I made the mistake sticking with my plan to get a PR at Broad Street to use as proof of time for 2017’s Goofy Challenge, seeing as how I don’t have any local qualifying races planned this year. Considering the conditions, however, I should have chalked this one up as a fun run and not started as hard. (Instead, I finished hard because I just wanted to be done!)

If you’re doing a training run with speed work on the agenda, consider changing to slow and easy. A slow, safe run is better than one that can get your hurt!

Wear a Visor or Brimmed Hat

Seriously. A visor will be your best friend. I would have gone berserk during both the races mentioned above had rain been pounding on my face. I prefer a visor since it lets heat escape from my head, but a baseball cap could be an amazing thing in chilly weather!

Hydrate

Another mistake I made for Broad: not hydrating enough post-race. (Well, I did hydrate the day prior, but it was of an alcoholic nature. #QueenOfBadChoices) Turns out, water-saturated skin does not give the same benefits of drinking water, so I had a massive headache after the race. So even there’s rain in the forecast, (or if the thought of adding any more water to your body makes you cringe,) be sure to consume enough liquids!

Dress in Layers

The fabric closest to your skin is the most important – make sure it’s a technical fabric and NOT cotton. Cotton is bad. If it’s chilly, layer on a water-resistant jacket and NOT a waterproof one that will trap moisture and heat. Waterproof is bad.

Adding on to this tip, be sure to not over-dress as well, a big mistake I often make. Here’s where the layers will help because you can shed if necessary.

Protect Thyself from Chafing

Underneath all those layers, be sure to hit up high friction areas with a generous dose of body glide – underneath sports bra straps, beneath your breasts for gals and on nipples for gents, armpits, and inner thighs. For your feet, it’s a good idea to give your toes and heels a coat of Vaseline to prevent blisters. It doesn’t, however, help with waterlogging. They’re still going to look like wrinkled prunes after the race.

Protect Your Electronics

This is a biggie for me since I like to shoot video throughout races. Waterproof phone cases like this one are great although the sound quality can be muffled. And if you’re a fan of Pop Sockets and can’t fit a case over your phone, a good old plastic baggie also works!

Poncho or Garbage Bag Up

A cheap poncho from Walmart might not seem like a ton of protection, but it will be a lifesaver pre-race or even while running, as long as it doesn’t make you overheat. To keep it from blowing around, try wearing your visor overtop the hood and secure it at your waist with your race belt.

Equally effective, (and amusing for photos,) is a regular ole’ trash bag, with holes cut for your arms and head. I’m betting you can pull that look off.

8.) Protect (and Check) Your Shoes

Now, I’m hesitant to give this bit of advice since it’s something I don’t do. But I’ve seen other runners tie grocery bags on their shoes prior to the race to keep them dry before discarding once the race is about to begin. I’ve also seen runners with duct tape placed along the front and sides of their shoes. I personally don’t do either because shoes are going to get wet no matter what you do, plus I don’t want duct tape residue on my pricey Asics.

What I will recommend, however, that you make sure your shoe treads have plenty of traction and aren’t worn smooth. Smooth treads could lead to a wipeout and wipeouts aren’t fun.

9.) Watch Your Step!

Speaking of wipeouts … they can happen even to the best of treads so be sure to watch your step. This was my biggest concern during Broad Street since I was running the Tink Half Marathon the next weekend. Sure enough, I took my eye off the road for a second and landed right in a pothole. On my bad ankle. Crap.

Thankfully, there was no damage, but it was a lesson to be super careful. Sticking to the center of the road also helps since there is a smoother grade and fewer puddles. Hopefully.

10.) Change Soon Afterwards

Or at least as soon as possible because standing around in wet, damp clothes can lead to a major case of the chills and for us gals, issues down there. After Broad, I would have given anything for a dry bra, but at least I had dry shirts, a jacket, and cranked minivan heat to hold me! Stuffing your wet shoes with newspapers afterward will also help dry them out.

One last thing!

It’s so easy to get anxious (or even grumpy) about bad weather. Lord knows I’ve been there, done that! Just remember this: It is what it is. There’s nothing you can do about the weather, it is out of your control, and everyone else there is going to be affected as well, so just smile, poncho up, and have a blast with what you have!

I hope you enjoyed this list and that it helps you survive your next rainy race or training run! Now get out there and get it done. You’re gonna be awesome. I just know it!

For tips on running in the cold, heat, rain, and wind at a runDisney (or other) race, be sure to check out this post!

QOTD: Have I missed anything? Share your best tips in the comments below.

Have a joyful day!

And if you’re interested in seeing our video recaps from Splash & Dash and Broad Street, here you go!

About the author: Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger, vlogger, wife to an amazing guy for 26 years, mom of two wonderful boys, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that plus she can quote most lines from Talladega Nights. Shake and bake!

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