How many times have you showed up for an endurance race and the weather forecast highlighted at the expo states, “Clouds with sun and a 50% chance of rain”. What the heck is that supposed to tell you, sounds like anything could happen. Just listen the next time your at a pre-race dinner, expo to the “buzz” and conversations about the weather.
Ok, everyone don’t get too concerned about the weather which will add unnecessary additional stress especially if it’s your first race or a new distance! It’s amazing how fixated we are in life with the weather and of course race day. It may be a factor that might slow you down to set a PR if it’s very hot, but the key is to just eliminate it from your subconscious. Yes, your shoes and socks might get soaked – just prepare your feet for the weather with anti-friction creams.
I can remember over 20 years ago running a marathon in Pittsburgh (2nd week of May) and looking in the distance at skyline in the city and it was snowing. It was raining and windy where I was on the course and snowing like crazy in the city and it was hard to believe. Expect anything on race day and be prepared with bringing more clothing options if your traveling to a race. Sound like common sense, but I can’t tell you how many times I see athletes underprepared for weather conditions and they immediately get into a “mental slump”. Rain and wind are just part of the experience and if you look back at some of your memorable race experiences that you consider “epic” how many of them had difficult weather conditions. Personally, those are the races I remember
vividly and using mental strength to push forward. Plan on rain, seems like every year there are showers at one event on the race calendar.
An easy way to get used to racing in bad weather is of course to train in it. The next time is pouring rain, wind, snow go outside vs. jumping on the bike trainer or treadmill. By training in bad weather it will build mental toughness that you can pull from on race day and use it as an advantage since you have already faced similar conditions.
The weather can definitely be unpredictable during the race, don’t let it bother you. Focus on your race goals, smile, thank a volunteer, and have fun!
By Wayne Kurtz
Wayne Kurtz is founder of RaceTwitch.com and Endurance Racing Report, he has a lifelong passion for racing in various endurance sport races throughout the world. He is also the author of: ‘Beyond the Iron, a training guide for ultra-distance triathlons.’