Posted by: Susan Loken | June 6, 2010

Beat the Heat

All of the memories of training through the hot Arizona summers for the Twin Cities Marathon (I’ve ran it 5 times) came flooding back to me today. The best things to remember when training in the relentlessly hot desert for a fall marathon are:

  • Accept that your training “pace” will be slower. Don’t stress about it or beat yourself up about it. It’s hot. You’re going to run slower.
  • Look at the positive! You are doing your marathon training in the heat. It not only makes you mentally tough, it will make your goal race pace in the “cool” fall air feel easier! Trust me on this one!
  • Hydration is a must. General guidelines for fluid intake: 2-3 cups about 2 hours before exercise. 1 cup 10 minutes before exercise. 1 cup every 15 minutes during exercise.
  • Try sports drinks for runs more than 60 minutes long. Sports drinks with a carbohydrate concentration of six to eight percent (14-20gm carbohydrate per serving) are recommended for optimal absorption. Higher concentrations will impair absorption, and may result in an upset tummy. Sports drinks will also aid in replenishing sodium and potassium – the electrolytes lost during sweat.
  • Be patient. You’ll gradually build up a tolerance for running in the hotter weather. It just takes a couple weeks.
  • Run early. No more sleeping in! I’ve made the mistake of starting my summer long runs too late in the morning, and I’ve suffered. The extra hour isn’t worth it.
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses to keep your head and face cooler. Pour water over your hat to cool off.
  • Plan your long run route so it passes a place to refill your water bottle. Of course, never run without water!
  • Wear light colored clothing in technical fabric. Visit your local running store to make sure you have the authentic dry-max fabric that will keep you cool. Check out Sole Sports if you’re in Arizona (click here).
  • Run with friends. Good conversation will take your mind off of the heat.
  • Last, but not least, check your pee color before you run. If it’s dark yellow, you are dehydrated and need to drink up!
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