Hot-Weather Tips for Half-Marathoners
By Robert Weiss, DPM
One must realize that a half marathon in June can take place on a very warm day. It would be helpful to know some hot-weather running tips in order to stay safe and cooler.
- A way of pre-cooling the body is to take a hand towel or small bath towel and wet them with cold water.. Place them in the freezer overnight and put them on your neck, head and back 10-15 minutes before the race starts.
- You can run with them until they are no longer cold.
- Electrolytes will prevent cramping and maintain better fluid balance. You can drink extra sports beverages to get your electrolytes in balance. We do not recommend experimenting with something completely new the day of a race,
- if you have used anything like these electrolyte products before, you shouldn't have a problem. Never forget about water, which is the magic fluid and keep drink it every chance possibly.
- Every chance you get dump water on yourself. Carry a bottle of cold water to keep squirting yourself every 5-8 minutes because the longer you can keep your skin and core cool, the better you'll be able to run.
- Try to spread out your fluid intake so you're taking small amounts (4-5 oz every few minutes). Again, that might mean you have to carry a bottle or be adept at carrying a cup, but it's worth it in the early miles.
- Drink early in the race and don't be afraid to slow down through the aid stations. Missing a water stop when its 85 degrees is not a smart idea.
- You're going to need to adjust your pace to account for the temperatures. Stating out too fast and overheating is not the best way to run your best race and stay safe.
- It is most important to wear the proper clothing while running. Wear extremely light-weight clothing that can be soaked with water at aid stations.
- Covering your head with a light colored vented hat and fill the hat with ice at aid stations if it's available. Be sure to carry a water bottle with you so that you have access to fluid whenever you need it, even between aid stations.
- If it is a hot day, run the up hills in moderation, as one can always pick up the time on the down hills.
During the pre-race week, eat right, get mentally prepared, and think about your hydration plan. Implement some of the tips I mentioned above. While the time may not be a PR, you will perform your absolute best and walk away from the race knowing you gave it your all on what will be a great day.
Dr. Robert F. Weiss, a sports podiatrist, was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials. Weiss is a veteran of 35 Marathon & has a practice in Darien. He is a native of Fairfield, and affiliated with Stamford Hospital and member of Stamford Health Medical Group's Podiatry specialty.