10 tips for running a marathon in the rain, cold and wind

CIM 2012

So I posted this on the running forums because someone asked for tips running in the rain, cold and wind during a marathon.

My last two marathons have been some of the worse racing conditions you could ask for. Salt Lake City was cold and raining the ENTIRE TIME.  And….CIM, back in December of last year was the worst marathon I have ever had the privilege of running. It was literally a monsoon outside, windy, 40+ mph winds, and about 30 degrees outside.  It was the only marathon I saw people wearing garbage bags the entire time.

As far as advice. Ill just bullet them so it’s easier to read.

  1. Garbage bag, get a big black one.  and wear it until you feel hot enough to lose it.  I didn’t take mine off for CIM until mile 23.
  2. Body Glide.  EVERYWHERE.  Make sure to get a new stick of this stuff, cause when I mean everywhere. Feet, chest, arms, under areas, etc etc.
  3. Water resistant clothes. Wear a light tech shirt and shorts (something that wick away water and not absorb so much as cotton does)
  4. Gloves, good ones.  I made the mistake of wearing some crappy throw away gloves for Salt Lake and my hands were numb by mile 10.  Even if you throw them out, it’s better to buy a nice $20 pair of gloves for the race and be comfortable.  But honestly, if it’s bad as SLC and CIM you will wear them the entire race.
  5. Warm clothes for before and after the race.  Head to goodwill or pack a sweater with you with some break away pants, gloves, socks whatever. 5-10 minutes before race start pack them away in your race pick up bag, and make sure to bring 2 extra plastic bags that are water resistant! A lot of times these things are lying in puddles of water at the end.  You want them to be dry.
  6. Sunglasses, I know sounds stupid.  But literally in CIM with the headwind rain/water was hitting my face like ice pellets.  Most people were squinting the entire race, I just put my sunglasses on and wiped them every mile or so.
  7. Your race shoes… Will be trashed at the end of the race.  Consider running in older ones or be prepared to ruin or damage new ones.  I saw some people wearing bags over their shoes, I wouldn’t do that, too much risk and you would have to take them off at some point.
  8. Stay with groups. Just like Nascar racing you are going to want to draft in this one.  If the winds are strong anyone to block the wind will be nice. When you feel strong enough move away from the pack, but try not to go solo too long.  During CIM, I was literally being pushed back a step for every two I took.
  9. Stay confident, you trained in weather colder then this, stick to your plan and realize this is what you are here for, crappy weather or not.
  10. Embrace the puddles and have fun!! I can’t say this enough.  You could be grumpy and complain or you could just go out of your way to run through puddles.  You are going to be wet, you might as well have fun with it.  During CIM, I was running in foot deep rain water at some parts of the course.  They had to close roads and spectators cars were trapped in parking lots. So make sure to give them some high fives as you pass by.  They are just as brave coming out to support you, as those running the race.

There you go. A complete 1-10 list for you.  Good luck on your race and drop a comment if you have something I might have left out!

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2 Responses

  1. Colleen says:

    Running Boston tomorrow. Advice on shorts or tights? I did cim 2012 in shorts too but this is looking colder. Thanks!

    • admin says:

      Hi Colleen,
      Sorry i didn’t see this until now. Never got a notification! Hopefully Boston went okay for you! As far as advice… I think shorts are the way to go, usually my legs do not get cold when running. You also will have extra weight of tights (it matters when its pouring).

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