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Running a Race in the Rain

Running a Race in the Rain
Run in the rain!

Running a race is exciting. Being surrounded by like-minded people, the music and the potential of winning an award all combine to make it an amazing experience. But sometimes mother nature adds a wrinkle. Rain.

If you wake up and it's pouring down, you can choose to skip the race or embrace the environment. Here are twelve things you can do to have a good run, even when it's wet outside.

Make sure any electronics you bring are either waterproof or protected. If your phone case isn't waterproof, put it in a plastic bag you can seal. Be especially careful of wired headphones. Rain can travel down the cord and right into your phones sensitive innards. If you must have music, look into waterproof wireless headphones so the phone doesn't have to be physically connected or exposed.

Bring dry clothing and a towel for when the race is over. Once you stop running your body temperature drops. Towel off and change into dry clothing to keep warm. Remember extra shoes and socks as well.

Before the race starts, keep warm and dry as long as possible. Stay in your car, in a building, under shelter or wearing some kind of rain gear to keep the water off. Inexpensive plastic ponchos can do the job and many are available for under five dollars. Large plastic garbage bags work in a pinch and you can throw them away once the race starts.

Bring disposable hand warmers if the weather is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, or if it's a race that requires you to come a half-an-hour or more before your start time. A cup of hot coffee, tea or hot chocolate in a disposable cup can work too while also warming your insides.

Choose clothing made of lighter material that wicks moisture away. The thinner it is, the less water it can hold to weigh you down. Avoid cotton or cotton blends. They hold water like a sponge, can more than double in weight when water is added and provide little help in the way of warmth.

Wear form-fitting clothing. Baggy shirts and pants can droop with the added weight of water. Thick, waterlogged clothing can create friction points and dramatically increase your chances of blisters.

Apply lubricants to bodyparts prone to chaffing. Typically that includes your groin, thighs, armpits and nipples. Petroleum jelly is popular because it's easy to find and cheap, but it may not stay on as well as professionally designed products. For serious slipperiness, consider Bag Balm, Body Glide, Chamois BUTT'r, Lube Stick for Runners or Sportslick.

Rain makes it more difficult for drivers and bicyclists to see you. Wear items that stand out such as reflective vests or flashing lights. But be careful with light-colored clothing because it often becomes see-through when wet.

Protect your feet by wearing synthetic socks and spray waterproofing on your shoes. For last-minute protection, you can even duct tape over the top of your laces and around the sides of your shoes. This won't keep all the water out, but it'll slow things down for a while. If you live somewhere that rains a lot, consider investing in waterproof running shoes and socks.

Wear a cap or visor. I suggest something that will help hold the heat in. More importantly, it should keep the rain out of your eyes. Search for "runners hats" and you'll find options for almost any kind of weather. 

Practice running in the rain before a race. If you only run outside when the weather is perfect, you won't know what to expect. Plan some runs when it starts to drizzle, so you're prepared if the sky opens up on race day.

Rain Day Run Medal from Theme RunsFinally, make sure the race will continue if it rains. Some companies may cancel or reschedule the event, others may provide extra incentives to get people to show up. A local Key West running company called ThemeRuns.com, actually gives out an additional finisher medal ONLY if it rains during the event!

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