It is race day, a Nor’easter has arrived, it is pouring and windy…what should I do to ensure I have a good race?
You can prepare for an event with speed work, hill workouts, long runs, fuel and clothing experimentation but you can never predict the weather. The key to any successful event is to have a great start. The key to a good start is to be as dry as you can be for as long as you can.
Tips for racing in the rain:
Your packing list:
Two thick small plastic bags (Runners’ Edge bags are the best!)
One shower cap
Two heavy elastics
Two garbage bags
One recycle clear large bag
What clothing do you recommend?
* A vest (preferably the Runners’ Edge vest!) even wet can keep the wind off you and helps to prevent you from getting too cold.
* Merino wool long or short sleeve top depending upon temperature. This fabric keeps you at a constant comfortable temperature no matter the conditions.
* Merino wool socks, brands such as Darn Tough and Feetures are awesome. Even soaking wet they can help prevent blistering, chaffing and jamming your toes in the end of the shoes from slipping.
* Gloves with a wind panel, even with wind and water will keep you at a comfortable temperature.
* Baseball style cap (with a brim), keeps rain off your face and helps to protects your eyes.
* Watuko or a head buff made of bamboo fibres helps to keep you at a comfortable temperature, and can be manipulated to become a hat, balaclava, ear warmers, and used as a wipe to take away some of the water on your head. Ring it out and ready to go.
* Technical tights or shorts, depending upon the temperature will keep the legs warm and relaxed during the event.
Time for your warm up:
Warm up in an enclosed dry area. Do the calisthenics warmup just like we do for any other run. Wear extra gear and go for a short 5 minute run, upon returning to the warm indoors do the warm up stretches just like every other run. Finally do another 5 minute jog and finish with our band stretches, also known as cool-down band stretches.
Time to head to the starting line:
Once you are ready to head to the start line it will be time to change into your dry racing gear. As you prepare to head out to the corrals step into the two heavy small plastic bags, tie them closed with the elastic bands. Put shower cap on your head. Tear a small hole for your head at the bottom of the recycle bag, put the bag over your head sticking it out the small hole. Now walk to the starting corrals. For comfort before the run starts poke two holes along the sides to allow your arms through to make it easy to start running.
Just before you start tear off the plastic bags from your feet. After the event starts tear off the recycle bag when you feel warm.
During the event:
While on the course, it may be time to alter the plans no matter what your goal for finishing the event was or is. Start the event smart, add 10 seconds per mile or kilometres to your pace for the first few kilometres. This can help you ease into your desired race pace allowing your body to warm up and get ready to hit your desired pace. To prevent falling or straining muscles you should avoid running on painted lines for lane markers and intersections, metal manholes, sewer grates and bridge connectors; all of these are extremely slick making traction difficult.
What were the two garbage bags and newspapers for? Many events like the Boston Marathon do not offer the option of warming up indoors. Use one of the garbage bags to protect your dry gear. Put all the racing gear into the bag while you warm up. Put the newspapers into the second bag. This will be your stretching mat. Plastic easy to wipe up and get dry, newspaper is insulation from the wet cool ground. Many Edgers found this helpful in 2004 protecting them from a ground heated up by 103 degrees heat and 2007 from a Nor’easter that turned the warm-up area into a cold wading pool near the starting corrals.