Today’s Tuesdays on the Run topic — What are your ideal temperature/conditions for race day? — makes me feel like Goldilocks trying out the bears’ porridge, chairs and beds.
I’ve done races or long runs with snow, rain and heat. Each had its challenges and forced me to dig deep to keep going.
In my ideal world, my races would all be on sunny mornings, with a little breeze and temperatures in the 50s. In the Michigan tundra, that means I would be perfectly comfortable running for about one Saturday in the spring and that’s it.
In the interest of making sure you’re comfortable even if race day doesn’t accommodate your perfect-racing-conditions preferences, here’s some of the best advice that’s been handed down to me from more-experienced runners:
- Look at the forecast. All of it. My weather app breaks down the weather by the hour. I’ve been caught without the proper gear because I just looked at the day’s forecast, making for miserable conditions.
- Make a list or lay out all of your gear the night before a race (or long run). And by everything, I really mean everything. Include your wool hat, rain jacket or sunscreen. You may tell yourself that you will never forget it, but I’ve heard of very experienced runners who’ve forgotten key gear like running shoes.
- Train in all kinds of weather. My running mentor Janet suggested that I practice running in different situations: alone and with friends, with and without music, and in all kinds of weather. That allows us to try out different outfits and gear so that we’re only wearing tried-and-true items on race day, plus we also know that we’ve survived other hot/cold/wet/muggy runs and will live through that day’s weather.
- Be flexible. If you’re traveling for a race, you may have to pack your race day outfit several days in advance. Runner friends tell me they plan to dress in layers, adding or taking away pieces depending on that morning’s forecast. That may mean over-packing, but could save you a last-minute trip to Target to pick up new (read: untested) gear at the last minute.
- Listen to the experts. Experienced runners like Coach Jenny have time-tested tips for adapting to whatever the weather throws at you. There’s no reason for any of us to have to figure this out on or own.
What’s your perfect race-day weather? How do you plan ahead or adapt to make sure you’re properly geared-up?