Hot racing conditions can be stressful, both mentally and physically, especially if we're not used to running in high temperatures. Read on for key ways to keep your head on straight and perform well in the heat.
Hydrate early, hydrate often! At least 3 days before race day, make sure you’re drinking water and upping your electrolyte intake. In addition to drinking with meals, carry water with you so you can top up in between.
But not too hydrated! Drink when you are thirsty and no more. Favor Gatorade Endurance and electrolyte drinks over water.
If you’re somebody that sweats a lot, you could benefit from stocking up on sodium the day before your race. You can do this by taking salt capsules, dissolving salt packs in your drink, or eating salty snacks. Aim for about 3,500 – 5,000mg (7-12 grams) of sodium, which is most easily found in cold cut meats, bread and bagels, baked treats, salted nuts, pretzels and canned beans.
Keep your body temperature low by selecting a race day breakfast that fills you up while cooling you down. Chilled, low-fat options like smoothies, fresh fruit, and low-fat yogurt are great options.
Prepare top-ups to bring with you on race day. Anticipate that you will lose fluids, electrolytes, and sodium on course. Prepare to stop at water and Gatorade Endurance stations. Carry a bottle with you if you feel you will need sips in between water stops. Bring your favorite energy block, gel or snack with you to consume when you need a boost, hopefully as you’ve practiced during training runs!
Before you leave the house remember to apply sunscreen. A sweat-resistant or sports formula is best, with an SPF of 30+. Cover your lips with an SPF chapstick and keep it in your pocket for your race. Don’t forget your hat and sunglasses, either!
Make sure you manage your expectations in light of the conditions. There will always be another day to shoot for that PR. Maybe you need to trade down distances, or take a new race strategy? Listen to your body and if things don’t feel right, slow down or stop. Use the medical stations on course if you need to and if something urgent arises, know that any course official can help you seek assistance.
Keep these tips in mind, prepare early and listen to your body and you’ll be ready to rock when the heat is on!