Racing In The Rain

 

Great Strides 2007

Shelly Glover
 

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The following excerpt is from the training log of Anezka Sebek on Nov 2, 1997— 4 hours after she finished the New York City Marathon

"It was mile 19 and 20. I hit the Willis Avenue Bridge in the Bronx. God poured down His wrath on us. I didn’t even care anymore about making it to Central Park before the 5-hour mark. I was happy just slogging along in sneakers that were filling up from the top with water. The road deck was flooded exactly to the height of my sneakers. Then on the metal bridge the lightning and thunder zinged down. Someone yelled 'God is telling us we're all crazy!'


I told him I didn’t think so. God concurred as we passed by Gospel singers in Harlem belting out 'Keep the Pace' -- or was that Faith?"

Racing In the Rain

Cold Rain

So you’ve got The Big Race approaching. You're listening to every available weather forecast until finding one you want to believe (a.k.a. a mix of sun and low clouds, 50 F). Its a runner's knee-jerk to check upcoming conditions and plot long runs, races and workouts in the most agreeable weather.

But the reality of racing in cold rain in late fall, winter and early spring can set your teeth on edge, at first.

If you are going for a fast time — forget the jacket. It interferes with running efficiency. Opt for something like a light wicking top or vest. Don’t worry about getting cold. In a short fast race, your body creates lots of warmth. Maybe that’s why they call it the heat of competition. Lightweight gloves and a cotton biker's hat keep you surprisingly warm.

Warming Up
You’ll probably be tempted to skip this little item. Who wants to start a race dripping wet? But get your priorities straight. This is race day. You are there to race and race well. Forget about your comfy couch. Do what works and stick to your tried-and-true routine. Thoroughly warm up to prepare muscles, prevent injury and improve performance.

Waterproof Your Splits

Some inks hold up better in the rain. If you intend on carrying your intermediate time goals on an index card or wrist band printed from your computer, the ink may run faster than you. If the race is important — experiment with inks in the shower.

Pace

Adjust your pace for the conditions, especially if it's windy. Try running in the draft of a pack if the pace is near desireable.

Keep Your Feet Dry

Avoid The Puddles and keep your feet dry. For the Adrian Monk-ish among us those nifty fruit and vegetable plastic bags from the grocery store work well inside your shoes. They also work well on the outside — pre-race. This can be crucial before rainy New York City Marathons as the waiting area can get very muddy. Watch out for slipping and take the bags off before the race.

Impromptu

Dry-cleaner garment bags or big unused garbage bags make spiffy impromptu rain slickers. Dispose of them in a trash can. Do not drop them on the road when you start to race.

Warm Rain

Summer rain is a welcome relief from oppressive humitity. Warm rain is the equivalent of a lawn sprinkler. Soak it up and cool down. But, try and keep those feet dry.

A little more

Running Coach Shelly Glover has a master's degree in exercise physiology from Columbia University. She co-authored The Runner's Handbook and The Competitive Runner’s Handbook, is a veteran road runner and marathoner. She also coaches The Greater New York Racing Team is available for private coaching. Coaching Services