Running in the rain is tough, but not impossible. In fact, rains haven’t resulted in any cancellation of marathons. Participants at this year’s Boston Marathon experienced bad weather but most kept running despite the wind and rain.
Peter Snell, New Zealand-based former middle-distance runner who won three Olympic gold medals, had once said, “When it’s pouring rain and you’re bowling along through the wet, there’s satisfaction in knowing you’re out there and the others aren’t.”
Bill Rodgers, American runner, who is best known for his four victories in the Boston Marathon (1978-1980), too had mentioned, “I ran my fastest marathon in the rain.” That shows how amazing a feeling it is for runners to be on the track while the smell of earth is in the air.
However, running in monsoon comes with a handful of risks and perils like slippery roads, poor visibility or poor quality of shoes that may cause injuries and accidents. So one needs to be extremely mindful and ‘rain proof’ themselves before lacing up.
City-based runner Rahul Balsaraf, who took up running about one and a half years ago, says that on a rainy day, runners need to wear clothes that dry faster. “Mostly, dry fit that is 100 per cent polyester is advisable as it doesn’t retain rainwater. Cotton tees absorb a lot of water and retain the moisture, making it heavy and uncomfortable. Running in the rains can also cause chafing, a friction-induced skin injury on the thighs, underarms, feet, chest and so on. Using petroleum jelly or anti-chafing cream on those body parts is mandatory,” says Balsaraf, who has completed 12-hour stadium runs, two ultras of 50 km each, three full marathons and more than 25 half marathons.
According to 44-year-old runner Vivek Salvi, fabric makes a huge difference. “Try to wear light fabric and preferably ones which dry up quickly. To avoid chafing, apply petroleum jelly,” advises Salvi who has been running since the last four years, participated in many full and half marathons across the country, completed two ultra runs/ walks, and as a team was the winner at the last edition of Oxfam where he completed 100 km in 21 hrs. He adds, “Often, wearing a cap with a long brim helps if you want to prevent rainwater from entering your eyes.”
Sharing more tips, Salvi says, “One of the safest things to do is to wear reflective outfits while running on roads so that your are visible to others. Runners must also watch out for water accumulated in pot holes because you may slip and get injured. ”
Low visibility is another challenge that runners face in the rains, especially while running at odd hours (sunset and early morning). “You need to be careful at every step. Take smaller steps and pay attention to your landing,” suggests Balsaraf.
Speaking about the same, Salvi who runs and practises with Pune Running Group, says, “I wear a reflective jacket or at least make sure my T-shirt back and sleeves have proper reflective material. Sometimes, I personally use lights that can be fitted to my shoes so that I’m visible to others.”
A pair of good shoes can contribute to a good performance, so do runners require special shoes during monsoon? “Specific running shoes are not required in the rains but make sure your socks are dry fit to avoid blisters,” says Balsaraf.
Depending on your feet requirement, good running shoes of any brand is enough when running on roads but when running on trails, you need to wear different shoes, especially that has good grip as running on trails is totally different from running on roads, points out Salvi.
While many think that you need to keep yourself hydrated only when its sultry, in reality, no matter how cloudy the day is, you need to drink enough to keep yourself hydrated for a better performance.
“Often runners don’t realise that they lose salt and sugar from the body in monsoon, hence keeping oneself hydrated with water or energy drinks at regular intervals is essential. Apart from eating a high protein food item, post run stretching is very important even if it is pouring outside,” further advises Salvi.
Balsaraf adds, “You cannot see yourself sweating in the rain but you should hydrate yourself regularly. Your throat should not be dry which is a sign of improper hydration. Have a sip of water after every 1 km.”
Keeping all these helpful tips in mind, you can put on your running gear and hit the road even if it pours.