Snow, Heat, Rain - How to Prepare for Races in Bad Weather?

February 27th, 2020

by Michael Ryan


There are a lot of things you can control about your training and preparation leading up to an event, but one thing you can’t control is the powerful force of the elements. The most you can do is regularly monitor the weather conditions. Watching news updates will give you the best information on how and when it’s likely to arrive. If it looks like nature is going to impact your race, start preparing as far in advance as possible.

1. Running in The Cold

Running in the cold is often inevitable, but freezing conditions can be dangerous. Your body uses up energy to be warm, which means you have less to expend during the race itself. Especially when the fall season is underway, it’s best to be ready for cold weather:
Warm-up: Before the race, make sure that you do a short warm-up so that your muscles are well supplied with oxygen. It will also put less stress on your heart when you start to race.
Wear layers: Find old items of clothing that you’re willing to lose (old sweatshirts, gloves, hat, or sweatpants). Wear these as outer layers for when you’re standing in the corral or first starting the race. As you warm up, shed the layers. It’s not uncommon for runners to pick up discarded clothes and donate them to charity.
Introduce your body to adverse conditions: If you are anticipating certain conditions the day of the race, train in those conditions. For example, if you live in Florida and train in the warmth and humidity, don’t book a same-day-as-race flight to New York during the winter. Your body needs to acclimatize to the conditions.
Use proper gear: As runners, we all know how important footwear is. When there’s a chance of snow, sleet, or ice, it’s extra important to be wearing the right shoes. Make sure your tread hasn’t worn down, or consider investing in ice grippers.
Bring a change of clothes: You’ll be sweaty or perhaps even drenched from snow, so decrease your risk for hypothermia and change into warm, dry clothes after you’ve raced.

2. Running in The Rain

One of the most miserable things that can happen on race day is rain. While there aren’t ways to stay completely dry, there are steps you can take to stay as dry as possible.
Wear a hat with a brim to keep the rain out of your eyes.
Take a trash bag, cut a hole for your head, and wear it as you wait to start your race. Don’t run with the trash bag for any distance! Just use it to keep dry at the start.
Prepare for long distances: If you’re running a longer race, such as a marathon, position family and friends at the 15 or 20-mile mark with a dry shirt and socks. It’ll take a second to put them on, but dry clothing should reinvigorate you for the last leg of the race.
Don’t overdress: When it’s cold, it can be tempting to pile up the layers. Dress for the temperature as if it were a dry day, because no matter what, you are going to get wet. More layers just means that you will be wearing more heavy, wet clothing.
Use Bodyglide or Butt'R: It’s moisture wicking, and will prevent your legs, hands, and arms from getting too cold. However, Vaseline will not allow you to sweat effectively, so do not put it on your head or neck! Bodyglide and Butt'R are also effective against chafing, which is escalated when you’re in wet clothing. Lining your inner thighs, sports bra lines, nipples, and toes will help prevent discomfort.
Pack a change of clothes: It’s uncomfortable to stand around in wet clothing, but it also increases your risk of hypothermia. Be ready to change into dry clothes as soon as you’re finished racing.
Use newspaper: After the race, it can be tempting to throw your sneakers in the dryer. The heat can make your shoes warp and no longer fit your feet properly. Instead, crumple up newspaper and stuff your shoes so that they won’t shrink or change shape.


3. Running in The Heat

Stay hydrated: This is important for any kind of weather, but it is vital to drink plenty of water when the sun is strong. Drink about 16oz of water an hour before you head out, and make sure you are drinking at least 5oz of water or a sport drink every 20 minute of your race.
Wear sunscreen: Avoid sunburns with sunscreen and a hat with a brim. If you’ll be running for more than an hour, keep extra sunscreen on you and remember to reapply.
Run in the shade: As much as it is in your power, pick a route that will be protected. You don’t want to expose yourself to the sun’s rays any more than necessary.
Introduce your body to new conditions: Just like with the cold, you can’t throw your body into conditions you haven’t trained in and expect to be okay. Give yourself a week or two to adjust to hot weather, while gradually increasing the intensity of your workouts. Your body will learn how to adjust itself internally and will be able to monitor heart rate, internal temperature, and sweat glands more effectively.
Prepare for chafing: Butt'r and Body Glide can be applied to inner thighs, bra lines, nipples, and underarms to prevent chafing. Wearing moisture wicking, tag less clothing is also effective.
Slow down: Those are never words that any runner wants to hear, but in the heat, it becomes necessary. Past 60 degree Fahrenheit, every 5 degree rise in temperature results in as much as a 20-30 second increase per mile. Mentally prepare for it beforehand and listen to your body.
 While weather is not preventable, you can take steps to prepare for it. So, whether it’s the freezing cold, a driving rain, or draining heat, make a plan for your success and safety. What are your rough weather running tips? Have any tough races planned out there?

Keywords: Training, Running, Cycling, Inclement Weather, Heat, Cold, Rain

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