After running 7 marathons (five Boston Marathons and two others) I have a lot of experience running in various weather conditions. Don’t forget all the 20 mile pre-Marathon training runs too! I’ve run Boston when it was 100 degrees, I’ve run Disney in the rain. I’ve trained in the snow. Regardless, it is never fun when it is not 55 degrees and partly cloudy.
So here are 5 tips for when you find yourself running a marathon (or any race length) in the rain.
1. Use Plastic Garbage Bags.
Most runners run with a fanny pack of some sort (mine was always stashed with Gu, tissues and Starburst candy). On rainy races, stash it with one trash bag (or more for longer runs). Rip a hole in the top and sides and use it as a makeshift ‘rain poncho’. Swap it for a new one at certain points in the race to say comfortable and dry. Throw the old one in a trash can….Keep running.
2. Run with an Umbrella.
People run with signs, the American flag, and more. So on a rainy day, run with an umbrella. It can act as wind barrier and rain cover. However, the side note is that you should have trained trying this technique. If desperate though, duct tape the handle to your torso for hand free umbrella toting.
3. Have Friends.
Ask friends to be stationed on the route with a dry pair of sneakers and clothing. At various intervals, stop, swap your shoes, socks, shirt, hat for a dry one. Then do so again in several miles. Repeat as necessary. It minimizes chaffing (and blisters) and maximizes comfort.
4. Carry a Cloth
Like I mentioned previously, a fanny pack can be your friend during long runs. (It is not just a fashion statement these days.) Put a freezer bag in it and within the freezer bag, put face cloths or paper towels inside. The freezer bag will prevent them from getting wet in your fabric fanny pack, and you will have ways to wipe down your face and other body parts during the race. Toss in the trash along the route.
5. Wear a large hat.
The simplest, albeit not the most effective, but at least something, is to wear a large hat. Keep the rain off your head and out of your eyes. It probably the one thing that you can do to be able to see along the rain-soaked route.
If you are running in the rain, remember what you are (or who you are) running for. It will get you through those miles. Also remember to yell out to the spectators on the side of the road that are out cheering you on in the rain too. They deserve thanks for getting you motivated to the finish line.