I know plenty of you are saying, “I don’t run in rain.” The fact is there will be days when it rains. Think of it this way … when do we, as adults, get to play in the rain with our friends?!? We train in all types of weather in order to be prepared for whatever race day brings. Better off knowing what it feels like and what to do in a practice run.
Our policy is training runs may be canceled if it’s lightning, or if the “Real Feel” is higher than 110 or below 0.
Here are some suggestions for running in the rain:
- Wear a hat with a brim or a visor: It will keep the rain off your face and help block the wind allowing you to see.
- Lube up: When you’re wet, things tend to chafe more. Slather Vaseline, Body Glide, Aquaphor, or other anti-chafe cream on your feet before you put on your socks to help prevent blisters, and on any other body parts that may chafe (arms, nipples, legs, sports bra seam lines, etc.).
- Jacket, Vest, or Trash Bag: Wicking apparel is key—it pulls moisture away from your skin, which helps prevent chafing and blisters. Tighter tops and bottoms are less likely to chafe. Light-colored bras, tops, and bottoms become see-through when wet, so stick to darker colors in the rain. If it’s also cold, throw on an outer layer. This should be a wind and water-resistant jacket (a big trash bag can do the trick). However, wearing more layers doesn’t mean you’ll stay dry; it may mean that you’ll be wearing unnecessary heavy and wet clothes.
- Wicking Socks: Wearing a pair of wicking socks can make all the difference in preventing blisters from developing. Remember – cotton is rotten.
- Eyewear: In the driving rain, wearing a pair of light-tinted or clear glasses can help protect your eyes from getting pelted. A good anti-fog lens cleaner will keep your vision clear in the moisture and humidity.
- Protect your electronics: Store your electronics, such as your cell phone, run-walk timer and car keys, in a Ziploc bag.
- Be careful: While running, be extra careful and watch your footing. Puddles may hide a pothole, and roads get slick when it’s wet. Anything on the ground that’s painted or metal will be slick, so try to avoid them.
- Bring a towel or change of clothing for your ride home.
- Dry out your shoes: When you get back from a wet run, take off your running shoes, loosen the laces, take out the insoles, and stuff them with crumpled balls of newspaper. This helps the shoes keep their shape, and the paper draws moisture away from the shoes. Don’t put your wet shoes on direct heat! The heat will dry out the materials in the shoes and mess with the shoe’s integrity.
- Pat yourself on the back: Running in the rain isn’t always fun, especially if it’s cold and windy. Be proud of yourself that you ran against your normal element.
To perform your best on race day, start your warm-up 40-50 minutes before the race begins.
Here’s a proven routine that takes about half a mile to complete (approximately the distance from the parking lot to the start line):
- Walk slowly for 5 minutes, followed by a normal walking pace for another 5 minutes.
- Set your watch for your run/walk ratio and run/walk to this pace for 10 minutes.
- Walk around for 5-10 minutes, trying to laugh and relax before the start (bring some jokes).
- Get into position in your start corral and pick one side of the road where you want to line up to be ready for your first walk break (always move to the side of the road to walk). YOU’RE OFF!
For your race, line up towards the back of the runners (but in front of the walkers) to avoid the stampede and stay on the inside lane. And don’t forget to cut the tangents.
I’ll be routing for you! Please reach out to me after the race and let me know how it went.
The best advice I can offer you for your upcoming race is to stick with what you know and control what you can.
- Check the weather report. But remember, this is Oklahoma, so expect the unexpected.
- Lay out your race outfit and accessories entirely the night before and double check that you have everything you need. Never ever wear anything new on race day. New shoes will undoubtedly find a place to rub you raw, be too tight or too big, and turn your feet into a blistered mess. New clothing could have a seam in a delicate place, rubbing your skin so raw that when you take a shower, it will sting like the dickens. Pick a race outfit that you know won’t rub you in the wrong places and will fit well in case of a windy course, avoiding the possibility of added resistance.
- Pin your bib on your front. I recommend the front of your pants/shorts/skirt. That way, if you take your jacket off, your bib is still visible.
- I recommend slathering Vaseline, Aquaphor, Body Glide, or other anti-friction lubricant on your feet prior to putting on your socks to help prevent blisters, as well as on any other problem areas where you tend to chafe.
- Arrive to the race early.
- Eat only what you know will not cause gastrointestinal distress.
- Hydrate all week, but don’t overdo it; drinking 4-8 oz. of water each hour works well.
- Get plenty of rest all week; aim for 8 hours of sleep each night.
- Minimize the stress in your life; no negativity this week!! The mind and body are connected and are operating at all times, so your mental health can have a serious impact on your physical state.
- Stay away from sick people!
- Run the tangents better. You can run your fastest race ever, but still end up with a slower time. How is that possible? Running even just .1 mile extra could cost you 30-plus seconds extra on your official time. The better you run the tangents, the less mileage you will run and, therefore, the less time you will be running. Aim to cut the corners as closely as possible while looking for the shortest route in between the curves.
- Perfect your pacing. You can sabotage all of your hard work by starting too fast on race day. You trained for a certain pace; trust it. The pace will feel easy when you start. Don’t give in. Trust your training, stick to your goal pace and save energy for the last portion of the race.
- The mental game. A race can hurt — there’s no way around that — and you’ll find that your mind will want to quit long before your body does. As the race progresses, your lungs will be burning and lactic acid will be telling your legs to slow down. Thoughts of quitting or easing up the pace start to take over. Prepare yourself to quiet the negative thoughts when they begin to creep in during the last half of the race. Decide on a Mantra to propel you when the race becomes difficult (repeat to yourself, “I Can Do This!”)
While gearing up for your race, trust your training. Focus on what you can do, what you have accomplished, and the joy of running. Be proud of yourself. It’s always okay to embrace where you are today. This is YOUR RACE, YOUR PACE! You are only competing against yourself – the endurance athlete you are now vs. the person you were when you started.
If you choose to listen to music during the race as a form of distraction or a tool to keep cadence, keep the volume low and only wear one earbud. That way, you can always hear those around you.
I sincerely appreciate your participation in our program! I have really enjoyed getting to know you.
Your health, time, and trust are priceless. I wholeheartedly hope that you grew and found something to take away from this experience. Maybe even something you didn’t expect – a lesson, knowledge, physical or mental strength, or more. You’re why I have this program. While runners may technically run alone, each of you adds to the strength of our program. Together we are more!
When you enter an event, your behavior is important. Know the basic rules of race etiquette before you cross the starting line.
- Line up properly: If the event has different pace groups set up at the start, get into the correct one. Nothing is more annoying at the start of a race than having to weave around slower runners and walkers after the gun goes off. You may think you gain something by starting closer to the front than your pace would allow, instead you’ll become an obstacle. Most races use timing chips, so the time it takes you to reach the starting line won’t count in your final net time.
- Don’t jingle: Don’t carry loose change or a set of keys in your pocket. Although it may not bother you, the constant jingling can be really annoying to those near you.
- Don’t take up the whole road: The biggest complaint you’ll hear from other participants is difficulty in getting around a group of walkers or runners. The simple rule is – no more than two abreast. Even if you start off at the back of the pack, you can be assured there’s somebody behind you getting angrier and angrier that they can’t easily pass you.
- Allow yourself to get passed: Be aware of people who want to pass you. You’ll be correct if you just assume that somebody always wants to pass you, so leave room to allow them to pass on the left. If they ask to pass on the right with a “Passing on the Right” then keep your arms in and let them pass on the right.
- Don’t pass somebody and then slow down right in front of them: Run/walkers are the biggest culprits in this. Remember that the folks behind you don’t slow down when you do. Never race ahead of someone unless you continue to check that you’re still going faster than them and continuing to gain distance on them.
- Pull to the side if you must stop: If you have a shoe problem, get a phone call, want to take a photo, etc., you must move completely to the side of the course and ensure you’re not blocking anyone. If possible, step off the course and onto the sidewalk or grass. Don’t stop near the start of a race or you’ll risk being trampled and tripping others.
- Move through the water stops: The proper way to grab water at an aid station is to do it at a steady pace, on the move, and pull completely through the aid station. If you need to stop, go all of the way off the side of the course to do so. Don’t stop within the aid station. Even at smaller events, take your water and move to the side if you plan to chat with the volunteers. Watch where you fling your cup after using it so you don’t toss it on racers approaching you from the side.
- Move predictably and keep your arms to yourself: Try to move predictably rather than weaving and veering into other people. Don’t fling your arms out suddenly – someone may be trying to pass you and get clothes-lined.
- Show appreciation to volunteers: Say “Thank You!” to race volunteers who hand you water or put your medal around your neck. They’re volunteering their time, and the race wouldn’t be successful without them.
- Use caution when wearing headphones: Yes, most races allow participants to listen to music (as long as they’re not competing for a prize), and a lot of runners can’t race without their music. But, for your and others’ safety, you should make sure you can still hear what’s happening around you. Keep the volume low and use just one earbud so you can hear instructions from race officials and warnings (i.e., “on your left”) from others during the race.
- Thank supporters, too: Acknowledge race spectators who cheer for you as you pass them. If you’re too tired to say “thanks,” show them a smile, wave, or give them a thumbs up. It will make them feel good and encourage them to keep rooting for others.
- Keep moving at the finish: Don’t immediately stop at the finish line or in the chute. There will be others coming in right behind you, so keep going until it’s safe to come to a stop.
- Don’t be a glutton: Don’t take more than your fair share of food and drinks at the finish line. There are other, slower people behind you. Take only what you need at that moment. Above all, don’t cart off a box of goodies from the finish unless and until you are the absolute last finisher, and everybody else is out of the finish area and the medical tent. That food is for others, not just for you, and for today only.
- Spit happens – don’t share it: If you need to spit, or vomit, or toss anything liquid, try to pull to the side and ensure you aren’t projecting onto somebody else.
- Portajohn line courtesy: Somebody in line behind you is desperate for that portajohn. If there’s a line, line up close to the doors and keep paying attention to a portajohn being vacated – don’t delay the others in line by dithering or being distracted. If you’re going to hand stuff to a friend or put it outside the door, do that or plan for that before you are at the head of the line, so you’re ready to race into the john. Allow others with greater need to go first if they look desperate. Don’t complain about “smelly portajohns.” We love all portajohns. We think the world needs more portajohns. Tell that to the race director for planning for next year. It’s best to carry your own toilet paper or kleenex and hand sanitizer as the portajohn may be out of those.
Racing allows you to compete against yourself, set personal goals, and bring meaning to all the hard work you’ve put in.
Racing is a great adventure, and often a mystery. Each race is unique in terms of your training, nutrition, hydration, rest, injuries, stress, health, medications, terrain, weather conditions, time of day, etc. Training is like soup, in that a lot of ingredients are put together in one big pot to make a delicious meal. One particular ingredient doesn’t make the soup great, just like there’s no one special workout, exercise, or recovery meal that’s going to propel you to greatness. Instead, we use smart training to artfully blend it all together into a cohesive training program. With the right mentality, you might just surprise yourself as to what you can accomplish.
We hope we have instilled in you the love (and fun) of running with a community of like-minded, motivated and encouraging people, and we hope you’re making plans to continue. We care that no one gives up, that everyone learns, and that the only person left behind is who you were before the start of this session.
I want to discuss the importance of a stretch goal. Stretch goals are just within the realm of possibility. They require a lot of hard work and you might think you’ll never accomplish your stretch goal, but you can with the right mindset and tools to succeed. If you’ve traditionally been a realistic goal setter, now’s the time to shoot for the moon. Stretch goals are possible if you’re willing to get out of your comfort zone and break your self-imposed limits. Pushing outside your comfort zone is incredibly satisfying. You’ll achieve something great, and discover a lot about yourself and what you’re capable of in the process.
When you have a goal that excites you – like training for a race – you’ll stay much more committed. Every time the thought of skipping a workout enters your mind, your stretch goal will motivate you to stay the course.
Every person’s stretch goal will be different. Yours might be related to running or more about general health. Either way, your stretch goal needs to be specific and include a time frame (i.e., run your first marathon within one year). Regardless of your goal, make sure it’s a stretch for you to complete it. Remember, no matter how crazy it might seem to others, “impossible” goals are achievable because the goal itself motivates you to take more action.
As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” Everything you do ought to be a celebration of who you are!
Better health and more happiness isn’t really a destination, it’s a way of life. It’s a series of better decisions made over and over again. I’m excited to hear about your plans moving forward.
Training for endurance requires a very tough mind set. It requires pushing past what’s comfortable in order to sustain longer periods of activity, ultimately building muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance. On completing an endurance event or training, you will experience a real sense of accomplishment you don’t generally get anywhere else. And, you have a great connection with other people who have gone through it with you.
- Feeling of Accomplishment: When you make it through a tough training session or do something that not many other people can do, you feel an overwhelming sense of achievement. It’s tough, and at times you will want to give up, but this feeling will make you want to do it all over again.
- Improves Mental Strength: Your mind will quit a thousand times before your body ever does. It builds character, being able to say I want to quit, but I won’t, and forcing yourself to fight through the pain can make you a very hard person to beat in all other areas of your life too. You will gain an incredible will to be successful, whether that’s winning or simply finishing is up to you.
- Great for Your Health: Your health has to be priority number one, and being able to complete endurance training will put you very high on the health charts. This will mean less chance of developing illnesses, and a longer life expectancy for you. Your cardiovascular system will be in excellent shape, which will have a positive impact on your day-to-day life. Exercise improves the overall physical performance of your body in sports, everyday work, normal routines, as well as offering the advantage of aesthetics. As you continue to train, your muscle mass will increase, and you will notice significant improvement in your balance and coordination. Not to mention, you will feel the obvious anti-aging effects of endurance training.
- You Won’t Be Taking It Easy: If you are competing in endurance events, whether that’s age groups or open competition, you will automatically have less people to beat than other sports because the process weeds out the weak. The commitment to training for such an event will discourage many others from even attempting it.
- Change For The Better: Other people may be able to juggle going out on the weekends and hitting the gym the next day or playing some sport after work when they haven’t eaten a lot all day. If you’re performing an endurance sport, you’ll not be able to do those things half-hearted. Being dehydrated from not drinking enough, or being under-fueled nutritionally from not eating enough will have a dramatic effect on your training and competition, and so it will force you to be prepared, plan ahead, and sacrifice. It will make you a much more dedicated person.
- You Will Build Muscle: The assumption is that endurance requires the use of slow twitch muscle fibers. However, according to recent studies, your body will first recruit slow-twitch fibers and, once they are fatigued, it will recruit your fast twitch fibers to help. This is why soccer players build huge calf muscles and cyclists have quads big enough to rival some bodybuilders, so if you’re thinking that endurance sport will take all of your gains away, then you need not worry. Not only will you gain muscle, but you will also get much stronger by building your muscular endurance by expanding on its ability to work hard for longer.
- Growth In Bone Density: Have you ever read Arnold Schwarzenegger’s biography? He had a known bone deficiency, so he built up his muscle mass to help his bones grow and develop. By choosing diet and exercise to improve your health, you give your bones extra support and increase their density. This, in turn, helps prevent osteoporosis. If osteoporosis is dominant in your family history, you may want to consider taking this up. As you train, your body releases spikes of growth hormone into your bloodstream – allowing your bones to construct better density. As you grow older, your bone density decreases and weakens, and a seemingly harmless slip can turn into a serious fracture. Keeping a solid training routine will facilitate looking young and feeling young.
- Enhanced Immune System: No matter how strong you are, you can always fall defenseless against the multitude of viruses that attack our immune system by the thousands every year. Endurance training enhances your immune system by creating extra proteins necessary for production of white blood cells and antibodies. The anti-inflammatory effects of training are evident for those with chronic inflammatory disease. This is also noticeable in muscle soreness after training – as your body gets used to training, the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) will decrease over time.
- Diabetic Benefits: Preventing and controlling diabetes is also possible with training because it improves the body’s insulin sensitivity. Our body stores glucose in the muscles, and, by increasing your muscle mass, you also gain extra glucose storage. This will assist your body to keep glucose levels at a safe count.
- Enhanced Metabolism: We grow bigger as we grow older due to the decrease in metabolic processes. As a result, our body is able to burn fewer overall calories which stay with us in the form of round bellies. Training can really help this problem by the addition of muscle mass. As your muscle mass increases, it burns extra calories by producing the necessary acids to break down and expend the calories you consume. For every pound of lean muscle you gain, your body expends 70 calories more per day.
- Lifestyle Benefits: Because exercise increases blood circulation, it also delivers more oxygen to your brain, keeping your sanity in check and your body functional. It helps the body release stress, allows you to think clearly, and increases reaction times. Cortisol, better known as the “stress hormone,” is neutralized during exercise, which can help out greatly with our sanity. As you exercise regularly, you find yourself able to fall asleep faster, stay asleep throughout the night, increase the quality of your slumber, and feel more refreshed in the morning. On the plus side, all of us know that having a positive personal image will improve your self-esteem and confidence.
- Challenging: It will also provide you with a challenge, and challenges keep things interesting. There is nothing less motivating than the same boring stuff with the same results. If you find a passion for an endurance event, you really can commit to it and find out your physical capabilities.
Following a sensible training plan is the most effective way to reach your ultimate racing goals. But part of that plan might call for the need to race in a *shorter* race to tune up your fitness and competitive juices.
When planning for a significant goal race such as a 10K, half-marathon or marathon, incorporating tune-up races three to eight weeks before your big day can keep training fresh, provide a fitness indicator, offer increased training gains, and let you try out race-day strategies and gear.
Boost In Fitness
When it comes to fitness gains, there is no substitute for a hard race effort. The intensity, adrenaline rush, and competitive aspects of a race can allow you to push beyond your normal comfort zone, which translates to a higher level of overall fitness. It can be difficult (and counterproductive) to simulate a race experience in a training session, even if in a time trial. Adding races to your schedule is a more effective approach to training than forcing workouts to be harder than appropriate.
Tune-up races help you practice race-day execution for your goal event, the big race for which you’re ultimately training. Having a few trial run races to practice race-day routines, test out shoes, socks, clothes and accessories, practice pre-race and race-day nutrition, and tinker with goal pacing are all invaluable. These elements are often underestimated when toeing the line for the larger goal, but, in fact, honing these small factors will contribute to your confidence and often make the biggest difference between race-day execution going poorly, average, or really well.
A Good Indicator
Tune-up events are a great way to gauge fitness and preparedness. The good, hard effort of a tune-up race will help expose areas in your training that have room for improvement. That might include your comfort level at a certain speed, your ability to maintain your effort on hills, your consistency of holding pace, or your ability to finish strong the last 25 percent of the race.
If you’re paying close attention to how you feel in your tune-up race, you’ll learn what aspect doesn’t feel quite right, or confirm that you’re on the right target. For example, you might realize you need more long runs to add to your aerobic base. Or you might sense you lack quick leg turnover and need to work on speed and drills.
Plan ahead, look at your training calendar, and add events that work with your overall plan. Be careful not to just pop races in here or there, but instead consider where a down week would fit nicely or how a race compares to the number of weeks out from your goal. Beware of having too many race efforts in a given period or you may put yourself at risk of injury or fatigue.
More Is Not Always Better
Having too many secondary races will lead to a lack of proper training and continual compromise. Racing should be one of the many aspects included in a training plan, but it should not take the place of the actual training, bigger mileage weeks, and weeks with several hard workouts and a longer run. Too many races will cause your overall fitness to level out, leaving you stale and unable to achieve the proper physical and psychological peak.
The distance of your tune-up races should complement the training you are already doing, not confuse it. For example, if you are preparing for a 10K, then running a few 5Ks within the last six weeks leading up to your goal would be appropriate. A hard half-marathon thrown into the mix wouldn’t be a wise choice and could actually be counter-productive, unless perhaps you were planning to run only a portion of that race at race pace. Generally, consider racing half the distance or less of your goal race, but not within two to three weeks of your goal race.
Little habits – that you don’t even realize you have – can cost you a lot of energy and keep you from running/walking faster. Ignoring them is like driving down the highway with a tarp on top of your car – when the tarp has a loose corner. The tarp resistance can cause your fuel economy to dip – and your energy and enthusiasm for the trip can go with it.
Look around on the road and you’ll see runners/walkers doing the same thing. Runners/walkers move parts that don’t need to move and compromise their ability to speed up and stay fresh. Here are some of the most common bad running/walking habits – and how to fix them.
- Swinging your hands across your body. It’s a running/walking mistake to keep your arms still at your sides while running/walking, or swing them without bending them. When you run/walk, all your movement should be forward or back. Any other motion saps energy. Crossing your hands over the midline of your body is a big one. Not only does this force your upper body to work harder, it makes you cross your legs over each other, too. If there’s a white line on the road and you’re hitting it with every step, then you’re spinning your body more. The easiest fix is to be aware of where your arms are. Relax your arms, keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle close to your body, and swing your arms forward and back. As they come forward, your hands should not cross the center line and should come up no further than your breasts. This arm motion will give power to your run/walk. Your feet generally move only as fast as your arms.
- Looking at your feet. Look down at your feet and try to breathe in. Now look in front of you and do the same thing. When you look down, you’re cutting off valuable oxygen. Good posture for running/walking allows you to breathe well and provides a long body line to prevent problems with your back, neck, and shoulders. Chin up when running/walking – it should be parallel to the ground. Focus your eyes a few feet ahead of you.
- Squeezing your fists. The pressure that you put on your hands translates into your forearms and shoulders. That energy starts to travel to every part of your body. If you’re not relaxed in your arms and hands, you’ll eventually feel it in your legs. When you feel yourself tightening up, let your arms fall to your sides, relax your shoulders, and shake out your hands.
- Trying to get faster every day. To get strong and fast, your body doesn’t just need a workout; it needs to rest. Remember how Sunday was a traditional day of rest? There is wisdom in that. Take a day off at least once per week. Rest helps to repair muscle tissue, which is what makes you stronger over time. To get faster, you should either build in rest days and/or truly go easy on your easy days. Easy doesn’t mean 30 seconds slower than your race pace. Some of the top runners in the world go as much as two and a half minutes slower per mile than marathon race pace. And if they can back off some days and still run fast, so can you.
- Overstriding. When runners/walkers try to run/walk faster, a natural inclination is to lengthen your stride in front, reach out farther with your forward foot. This leads to a clumsy, ungainly gait, striking hard with your feet. Your shins hurt, and you really don’t get any faster. All the power of your run/walk comes from pushing with the back leg and foot. If you’re trying to run/walk fast, concentrate on taking shorter, quicker steps. Then think of really rolling through your step with your back foot and leg, getting a good push off. The result will be faster feet and a longer stride where it does you some good – in back.
The temps on the weather forecast won’t feel the same when you’re moving. When dressing to run, the rule of thumb is to add 10 to 20 degrees to the outside temperature to calculate your running temperature. Keep in mind that this number is dependent upon your body size, run pace, and the length of your run. But you should also take the wind-chill factor into consideration. When winds are present, look at the “feels like” temperature to determine what to wear.
Once you get moving, your body heats up fast. And once you stop running, you’ll cool down very quickly, so be prepared to get out of those wet clothes immediately upon finishing your run.
Here’s an informal guide for getting dressed to run in any type of weather:
- 60+ degrees: tank top or singlet and shorts (feels like 70–80 degrees)
- 50–59 degrees: short sleeve tech shirt and shorts (feels like 60–79 degrees)
- 40–49 degrees: long sleeve tech shirt, shorts or tights, mittens or gloves (optional), headband to cover ears (optional) (feels like 50–69 degrees)
- 30–39 degrees: long sleeve tech shirt, shorts or tights, gloves, and headband to cover ears (feels like 40–59 degrees)
- 20–29 degrees: two shirts layered—a long sleeve tech shirt and a short sleeve tech shirt or, long sleeve shirt and jacket—tights, gloves, and headband or hat to cover ears (feels like 30–49 degrees)
- 10–19 degrees: two shirts layered, tights, gloves or mittens, headband or hat, and windbreaker jacket/pants (feels like 20–39 degrees)
- 0–9 degrees: two shirts layered, tights, windbreaker jacket/pants, mittens, headband or hat, ski mask to cover face (feels like 10–29 degrees)