28 Mar

Rain Or Shine

Running in the Sun

There's been some decent weather recently. It makes you wonder if we are in for another sunny April this year. The old saying - 'April showers' doesn't seem to have the same reliability that it used to. In 2007, England enjoyed its warmest ever April on record. It was also its driest, with as little as 3mm of rainfall in East Anglia and South East England. To 2008, where it was the third warmest April on record in both England and Scotland, with a rainfall well below normal levels on the east coast of Scotland and England. Last year saw most areas in England and Wales have less than 50% of the average rainfall for the month and both England and Wales enjoy the fourth sunniest April since 1929.

Recent trends may also have played a role in the scheduling of the Royal Wedding, which will take place on April 29, rather than a more traditional summer date. It's all quite interesting to most of us weather-obsessed Brits. For meteorologists and environmentalists, it's fascinating. But there is another group for whom the UK weather in April holds huge thrall - marathon runners. There are 8 marathons scheduled for April in the UK, including the two biggest in London and Brighton. There could be over 50,000 people running the 26.2 mile distance in the UK in April.

Running in the wet

Over the marathon distance, the weather can be a big factor in performance. But it need not be if you prepare properly. Having gone through months of training in chilly winter months, it can throw you a little off-kilter waking up on race day to glorious sunshine. Particularly when you are decked out in your black running tights, long sleeve top and woolly hat. A flexible approach is what is required. At the very least have a sunny kit and a chilly kit ready to go on race day.

No matter what the weather, hydration is key. The best advice in this area I ever had was to think of it as bowl in your stomach and whilst you might fill it up in the morning, thereafter just dribble water into it, so the water spills out of the bowl and into your system. But again, flexibility is required. Naturally, the hotter the day, the more fluids you will require.

The few weekends before your marathon give you the opportunity to try out your race day running gear and your hydration techniques. April can be very changeable and if you can get out for significant runs in both types of weather - ideally at a similar time of day to the actual race - then take the opportunity.

The best prepared runners are the always the ones on the strongest footing on the marathon start line.