This is the second in a series of articles from Smarana Puntigam, a 20-year veteran of multidays, on dealing with the many challenges that a multi-day race can throw up...
Rainy weather is a real challenge for a multiday runner. The rain can soak through and make you cold and miserable, and also lead to chafing and blisters.
1. Keeping dry
There are multiple options that one can choose from, depending on the immanent conditions and your physical strength at the time.
- A cheap plastic raincoat is very efficient and keeps the rain out. However, if used for a long time, it may lead to overheating and after a while you get also wet from inside because it is not breathable.
- Even with breathable jackets, overheating and sweating is an issue, particularly with heavy Gore-tex jackets and trousers. There are paper thin rain coats and trousers on the market, for example those from O2, that are breathable and also quite inexpensive. Some runners cut the legs of their trousers short to allow more breathing.
- Running with an umbrella has the advantage of not sweating as much and that the feet stay drer for a longer time, but in the course of time it needs extra energy to carry. Smaller umbrellas are better for running; for walking and shorter periods of time bigger umbrellas keep the feet dry for longer.
- Ponchos keep the rain off and allow the air to circulate inside, however they can be troublesome in windy conditions.
As soon as there is moisture and friction, the danger of chafing is very high.
- It might be possible to tape areas that are likely to chafe.
- Before you get a problem you can also apply petroleum or other creams that help to reduce the friction - in the long run, however, it is better to keep these areas dry. Corn starch is a very efficient solution, as is talcum powder with zinc, or powder with essential oils.
- Compression shirts and compression tights can be a big help in rainy weather to prevent chafing.
The most important thing for a runner is to keep his/her feet dry. If your feet are wet, the likelihood of blisters multiply exponentially.
- Some runners apply coconut oil or olive oil to their feet, before it rains, so that the feet do not absorb water and crumple up the skin.
- Change shoes and socks as soon as the rain is over, and apply powder to your feet for faster drying.
- If the rain is scheduled only as short and heavy rain, try to run with a large umbrella to keep the rain off.
4. Drying your shoes
- The fastest way to dry your shoes is to stuff them with old newspaper. The newspaper draws the water from your shoes and dries them really fast. You may have to change the paper once if the newspaper is completely saturated.
- When the sun is back out, remove the insoles and leave shoes and insoles to dry in the sun.