BOSTON (CBS) – While the weather forecast can change in an instant in New England, Marathon Monday is not looking very pleasant for runners and spectators alike. Conditions for the 122nd running of the Boston Marathon on April 16 may be wet, windy and chilly.
So how should runners prepare for the elements? We turned to the experts for advice.
WBZ-TV marathon analyst Toni Reavis has covered races all over the world and writes about running on his blog “Wandering In A Running World.” He shares some tips below on getting ready to run when it’s cold and soggy, as well as an important lesson from former Boston winner Meb Keflezighi:
It’s important to stay with your fueling and hydration plan. Just because it’s wet and chilly outside, doesn’t mean your fueling and hydration needs change on the inside.
Also, bring old clothes you don’t mind losing, and maybe a trash bag to the start to keep yourself warm and dry before the race – especially if you find yourself stuck outside for several hours. Then, wear arm warmers, a light pair of gloves and a skullcap during the race. The energy needed to keep you warm is energy that’s taken away from muscles working for performance. Tights are also an option, although those you can’t easily remove.
In Meb Keflezighi’s Marathon debut in New York City 2002, he wore a skullcap to the start on a chilly fall morning. After several miles, he took the cap off once he got warm and threw it to the side of the road. Later, when his energy stores were used up and his body began to rapidly cool and seize up, he wished he still had that cap to put back on.
You can always tuck those light items in your shorts once you’ve warmed up in the race just in case you might need them later. Don’t just throw them away after a few miles like Meb did.
We also got Kathrine Switzer, a WBZ-TV marathon analyst and the first woman to officially run Boston, to share what she wears for a wet marathon. Spoiler alert – You might want to bring a garbage bag:
Boston can throw you anything! Come prepared with layers. For a wet marathon, I swear by a very thin long-sleeved wool base layer. When wool gets wet, it stays warm. You can wear this under your running singlet. If you don’t have this item, take a lightweight windbreaker that you can put on and take off and tie around your waist.
Gloves or mittens are essential; actually socks work great– cotton or wool make sure they come up over your wrists, as you lose heat in pulse points. You also lose heat through the top of your head so a baseball hat is very useful also because it keeps the rain off your face. Start the race in warm throw-away clothes and a giant leaf-sized garbage bag with the arms and head cut out and wear until the race starts.
WBZ-TV Chief Meteorologist Eric Fisher will of course be keeping an extra close eye on the forecast for Marathon Monday – especially because he’s running this year! Eric says that right now, the best case scenario is that the heaviest and steadiest rain doesn’t fall during the main portion of the marathon, and the wind turns southerly for 50s and comfortable running conditions. Worst case? A strong onshore wind right in the face of runners with steady rain and temperatures in the 30s to low 40s. Both are still possible at this point.