Racing in the Rain

Running in the rainIt looks like the “winter” weather will be returning to Phoenix! The forecasts calls for rain on Saturday and Sunday, so we wanted to send a few notes about racing in the rain for those of you with events this weekend. First of all, rain is good. It means cool air and low core temperatures. Heat is the enemy of the endurance athlete. So, embrace the rain. Recognize that it could actually improve your performance.

For those of you racing the Phoenix Half Marathon and Marathon:

  • Dress in warm clothing in the hours leading up to the race. Stay dry and warm until the last possible minute.
  • Choose race clothing that would be comfortable in weather that is 20 degrees warmer than forecasted on race day. The low this weekend is supposed to be 50 degrees, so dress as if the race was going to take place in 70-degree weather.
  • Wear tight clothing. Tri shorts and tri tops are perfect for the rain. Baggy run shorts and t-shirts will become soaked with water and cause serious chaffing on your legs and chest.
  • If you are really worried about being cold, then add some light gloves and a winter ski hat and maybe arm warmers. All of these items can be removed if you start to overheat during the race.
  • If it rains, you will get wet. Do not try and run in something that you think will keep you dry. A rain jacket just does not breathe well enough to keep you from overheating. Wear clothes that still function when wet (i.e. tri clothing – not cotton t-shirts)

For those of you racing the Desert Duathlon:

  • Same as above for pre-race and the first run.
  • The trick comes on the bike. Due to the cooling effect of the air on the bike, you are more prone to getting very cold when riding in 50-degree weather with rain.
  • Tri clothing plus an undershirt (like an Under Armour synthetic t-shirt) arm warmers, maybe a vest, and light gloves will work well on a day like Sunday. Tights are usually a bit too much for the runs when it is 50 degrees. Stick to items that help keep your core warm and let the legs and feet be.
  • Some people like to do the first run in tri clothing, t-shirt, arm warmers and gloves and then keep these on for the bike. They usually are discarded by the second run as you usually heat up pretty well as the event goes on.
  • I have raced the Desert Du many times in pouring rain. The trails stay in reasonably good condition and if you add a simple layer you can be pretty comfortable even if it rains the entire day.
  • Be sure to bring a garbage bag to place over any transition items like bike shoes or run shoes so that they do not get soaked when you are out on your first run.

Keep a sense of adventure and enjoy the weather!!!

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