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Wear moisture-wicking fabrics and a hat to run a marathon in the rain
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
From training to running the actual race, a marathon is a serious commitment. Whether it's your first or your 50th, you've spent far too much time training, watching your diet and hydrating to throw in the towel when things get wet. With a little planning and the right clothing and gear, even a serious downpour won't keep you from going the distance.
Start at the Top
Wear a light, water-resistant hat with a brim. Make sure that you get one specifically designed for runners and that it fits well without being too tight or flopping around. If possible, run wearing it a few times before the marathon so you can get used to seeing the brim in your peripheral vision and feeling it on your head.
Consider goggles if you're expecting a deluge. Find a pair specifically designed for runners so you don't have to deal with them fogging up. Some are lightly tinted and others are clear, so take your time and try on as many as you have to until you find the perfect fit.
Don't forget sunscreen on your face and lip balm. Just because it's raining, doesn't mean you can ignore UV rays or chapped lips.
Dressing Your Best
Avoid cotton at all costs. It soaks up water like a sponge and tends to stretch when wet, so the sleek outfit you start out in may end up many ounces heavier and several sizes larger by the time you get to the finish line.
Apply a skin lubricant pretty much everywhere, but especially in your armpits, on your sides, on your inner thighs and anyplace else that generally chafes. Women should pay attention to where a sports bra will chafe. Men and very small-breasted women who run without a bra might want to consider nipple covers especially designed for runners.
Wear fitted clothing that's designed to wick moisture away from your body closest to your skin. Fitted is best, because loose fabrics will ride up, flap around and chafe when soaked. Some light-colored fabrics turn transparent when wet, so if you're modest, you might want to be sure you wear dark fabrics.
If it will be cold as well as rainy, consider a moisture-proof light jacket or hoodie to wear on top of your fitted clothing. Don't layer too much or you may overheat.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
You're more likely to blister when running in wet shoes, so go all out to protect your feet. Powder them and use a skin lubricant wherever they rub against your running shoes. Wear two pairs of thin, water-wicking socks.
Don't be tempted to wear old or worn-out running shoes. Wet pavement, especially fresh asphalt and any roadway that has been painted or has a metal covering, is likely to be slick when wet. Older shoes won't offer either optimum traction or maximum support. It's uncomfortable enough to run in the rain, so don't make it worse by lacing on old, worn-out shoes.
Before, During and After
Stay as dry as you can before the race. If you'll be standing at the starting point in the rain for more than a few minutes, either cut a hole in a trash bag and wear it as a poncho, or purchase a feather-light folding poncho from your local drugstore. These come with small storage pouches that can be tucked into your supply belt once the race is about to start. Don't try to run in a trash bag or poncho, because they may cause you to overheat.
Carry a microfiber cloth in your utility belt to dry your face and/or clean your goggles if you're coordinated enough to do that while running. If you'll be carrying any kind of small electronics during the race, make sure that they have waterproof covers, or slip them into plastic zip-close bags.
Have a friend or family member wait for you at the 16- or 20-mile mark with two pairs of fresh socks and a towel if you're not running to beat your former time.
Either have someone waiting at the end of the race with dry socks and a dry shirt or a warm sweatshirt, or leave them in a bag in your car. Get out of your wet socks and shoes as quickly as possible to avoid blisters. Dry the rest of yourself off immediately and put on something lightweight but warm to avoid getting a chill.