Friday, May 10, 2013

Running in the Rain

It's that time of year again.  As many of you saw first hand last weekend at the Flying Pig Marathon, one day it is sunny and beautiful, and the next it is muggy and raining.  Rain doesn't have to sideline you or force you to the treadmill.  Learn how to safely and comfortably run outside in the rain!

Don't Overdress

The top mistake runners make when heading out for a rainy run is wearing too much clothing. Not only will this not keep you dry, but it might cause you to overheat or be weighed down by wet, heavy clothes.  Dress for the temperature just like you would if it were a dry day.
Usually the standard rule is to dress as if it is 10 degrees warmer than it really is because your body heats up.  Rain can keep you feeling colder a little longer so it's safest to dress in a couple of layers so you can adjust as you go if needed.  Even when layering, DO NOT OVERDRESS.  Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean it’s cold – there’s a huge difference in rainy, humid 70 degrees and rainy, windy 40 degrees. Start with a breathable base layer (long or short sleeved, depending on the temperature) that is thin but wicks moisture and dries quickly.  Then add a wind and waterproof jacket to keep you dry and comfortable.  Something made for running will still allow your skin to breathe and won't trap too much heat.
Avoid wearing anything baggy or with extra material as it’s just going to get wet and weigh you down.  Try to stick to body-hugging materials that aren’t going to weigh more than a toddler by the time you’re done.  IMPORTANT: Pack comfortable warm clothes for after, whether you are driving home or hanging out after a race.


Be Visible

Running in the rain often means poor visibility and decreased light.  Select an outer layer that's light-colored or has reflective properties to ensure that you are seen and safe.

Wear a Hat With a Brim

A hat with a brim can be your best friend during a rainy run. It will keep the rain off your face, so you can see more clearly.  It will also keep your head a bit dryer and keep sweat and water from mixing too much and running in your eyes.

Use a Garbage Bag

If you have to wait outside in the rain before the start of a race, a big trash bag with armholes and a neck hole cut out can help you stay dry. You can take it off and throw it to the side once you get moving.


Prevent Chafing and Be Careful

When you are wet, chafing is more likely to occur.  Before your run, 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), or nipples (men).  Another thing to consider - Roads get slick slick when it’s wet.  You might be jumping over and stepping in puddles, so be extra careful and watch your footing.

Overall, running in the rain is just like running in any other weather.  Practice makes perfect.  Learn what gear works for you, and try to have fun!

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