Tips for Running in the Heat

According to the historical records, the average high temperature for Downtown LA in March is 70 degrees; but if the last few weeks are any predictor of the weather on Marathon day or on the 3 Sunday runs until then, our upcoming runs are likely to be quite a  bit warmer.  If you are under hydrated, not only will you slow down, you’re also likely to feel less than your best.  With less blood volume and thicker blood, it’s harder for the body to cool itself off, and if you haven’t adequately replaced the electrolytes you lost by sweating, it will be that much harder for your body to absorb the liquids when you do drink. We’ve all heard Coach Craig say “if you wait until you’re thirsty, it’s too late”; now you know the science behind that.

So, here are a few tips to help you avoid the effects of under hydration.

1) Drink before you start: When you get up in the morning,  drink at least 8-16 ounces of water.  Start the run with a full tank, so to speak.

2) Drink at every stop:  Have at least a cup of water and gel, or a cup of Gatorade, at EVERY stop.

3) Consider carrying water:  Given how well supported our training runs are, if you stop at each water stop and have either gel and water, or an electrolyte drink, you may not need to carry fluids.  Whether or not you do is a function of your own body. Over these weeks, hopefully you are learning your needs, but here are a few facts to help you decide. Males sweat more than females, and faster runners sweat more than slower runners.  Also, as you plan for Marathon day, please keep in mind that our volunteers won’t be staffing these water stops during the Marathon.  Last year, the heat caught the LA Marathon staff by surprise.  Runners out on the course longer than about 5 hours reported that they got to stops and there were no drinks left.  Maybe the staff learned and will adjust the amount of fluids offered; maybe they won’t.  I don’t know.  I therefore recommend that if you expect to be out there longer than 4 1/2 to 5 hours and it’s going to be a hot day, carry your own water or sports drink.  You can start practicing now by carrying fluids on our training runs.

4) Pour some water over your head.  It will cool you down right away, and as it evaporates, it will continue to cool you down.  It’s a great way to feel instantly refreshed.

5) Run on the shady side of the street. No point running in the hot sun and sweating even more than you already are.  If you run on the sunny side of the street, not only are you getting the direct sun, you’ll also be feeling the heat radiating up from pavement that’s been heated by that direct sun.  Why do that to yourself?  It only takes a few seconds to cross the street.  Your body will thank you.

Go Team!

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