KP Half Marathon Countdown – Wednesday (4 days to go)
Dress for success.
The latest weather reports for the 2011 race suggest that there is no rain in the forecast. Still, it will likely be chilly before the race and at the start so you need to be prepared. I suggest you plan now what you will wear.
What shoes will you race in? Most people can get by with regular training shoes or lightweight trainers for a half marathon. You’re probably on the pretty elite side if you have racing flats for 13.1 miles. Don’t forget to pick the right socks. Your lucky race socks are the obvious choice if you are superstitious. The sock should certainly be made of wicking microfibers so they don’t rub you raw if they get wet. Remember these socks could get dirty if it rains and may never be the same again so if you have sentimental attachments to a pair of socks and want to keep them pristine, leave them home.
You want to have something that keeps you warm (top and bottom) to warm-up and stretch in. But don’t bring your whole wardrobe because you need to put it somewhere before the race starts.
If it’s wet, a good way to stay as dry as possible (and thus as warm as possible) before the race is a garbage bag with holes cut out for your head and arms. Or an old rain poncho. Use something that you don’t mind throwing away right before the race so you can keep it on as long as possible. Your goal before the race is to stay as dry and warm as possible.
Once the race starts, if it’s raining, face it, you are going to get wet. All you can hope for (besides running so fast that you run between the rain drops) is to finish as quickly as possible and get out of the elements. Early in the race, I try to avoid puddles and go as long as possible with dry shoes and socks. But once they become saturated, I stop wasting energy and going the extra distance to dodge puddles.
Staying warm during the race is key. Heat escapes through your extremities (feet, head, hands). You can’t do much more than wear your shoes and socks on your feet. For your head, a beanie is wise. If it’s raining, a hat with a bill will shield your face from the rain. And for your hands, gloves.
A lot of people wear tights to keep their legs warm. It’s a personal preference thing. I think people who normally wear tights are used to it and like it. It has to be really freezing out (single digits) before I wear tights. I always have this (probably irrational) fear that I am going to get hot and be uncomfortable in tights.
Wearing something to cover your arms is also an option. This can be tricky. You can wear a shirt under the singlet for warmth. If you go with a long sleeved one, try to have it fit snuggly so you aren’t catching extra wind with your baggy sleeves. A downside to these undershirts is there’s no going back…it’s pretty hard to take it off mid-race. A new way to combat this shortcoming is to wear arm warmers over your arms. Bicyclists have been using arm warmers for years but it’s only in the last couple years that I’ve seen runners using them. When you get warmed-up you can take these off like gloves and stuff them into a pocket or hand them to someone. Another option is to wear something over your singlet (long sleeved shirt, sweatshirt, jacket, or microfiber shirt) that you can take off mid-race and tie around your waist.