There comes a time when you just have to accept the fact that sooner or later it is going to rain on a long run day. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, well.... there comes a time when you just have to accept that one day there will be sun on a long run. Alas, it is Saturday, the morning chores are almost complete and I am just about to go for a run. Last weeks training plan called for a six miler and I was able to hammer out ten before I decided to call it a day. My legs felt great but my blood sugar crashed pretty early and I quickly went through my gels. All that was worked through but what was killing me was the constant down pour in 45 degree weather that had my clothes feeling like an anchor.
So, as I look out the window across the lake I see rain drops. Here we go again. I think I'll take a look at my gear and see what I can offer up. First thing on every marathoners training list should be Body Glide. I use this regularly, but when you plan on being soaked for the next two hours you might want to hit some um.... delicate areas.
I make sure my inner thighs get some anti-chafe protection for sure, depending on how far I plan on going I'll also hit the top of my shoulders and nipples. The next important thing is having the right socks for sloshing around through puddles, I enjoy Balga the most and I prefer them mix matched. Just kidding but they always seem to become mix matched for some reason. I know I can't be the only one but I absolutely love a new pair of socks. I don't know what it is but I really like brand new socks. My pre-race ritual for Marathons and Half Marathons is popping some tags off a new pair of running socks.
The next thing you should consider is what type of tread you want to strap to your feet. This is not about the barefoot debate, I run barefoot sometimes but only for training purposes to correct foot fall and technique. I have ran enough miles to know I don't want my feet stepping in some of the things I have seen out there. I have my old Asic GT 2170 that I use for trainers. Yes, they are ugly, yes there are holes in the tops of them, yup that's mud on them, and yes they just dried out from last week. I typically rotate through three pairs of shoes while training and I posted a video of them last year, RunShoeRun I like racing flats for short to medium distance races and might use them here or there for short training runs, fartleks, or speed work. I keep the other two rotating out so that I have a dry pair ready to go.
The third important thing to remember about running in the rain is to stay hydrated. It's easy to forget about water when your soaked head to toe but hydration is critical to proper training. Taking in fluids is part of the training, not just for the obvious reasons but for the fact that you need to know how your body is going to react to something when your out there trying to PR. Everyone and every run is different but you should know if you can handle a little water a the 2 mile mark or hold out for the 4 mile mark or somewhere in between. Will you run through an aid station or walk? I personally don't like when I shoot a cup of water up my nose during a race. I typically skip the first water station in hopes I can drop off a few folks who lied about their finishing time to end up in my corral. If its hot I'll try for a cup and squeeze the top flat, get out of the chaos and try for a sip or two further down the course. Around the 18 mile mark I might walk through the aid station to catch my breath, take in some water and electrolytes, and enjoy the run.
For me the most important thing is to stay fueled. I have hypoglycemia and I can crash in the matter of minutes. To counter this I make sure I have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before, a couple of gels during, and an energy bar like Larabars Uber.
Well, I have alot of projects to get to when I finish my run so I better get out there!