With a rise in temperatures, I’m mindful that there are many out there with their first marathon, or other races coming up. I wrote a BLOG a few weeks ago about running a marathon. Today whilst engaging with people about RnR Liverpool marathon on Sunday I thought to myself “it’s going to be hot”.
One of the key tips about any run, and most certainly a first marathon, is to be prepared. That extends much further than just training right, and turning up on the day ready. You need to be aware of your surroundings, and adapt accordingly. This weekend will be hot, and there will be many hot races to come over the next few months. I always say the best way to run a marathon is to enjoy it, if you don’t prepare yourself for the increase in temperature there is a real risk that this won’t be the case.
So here are just a few, probably obvious, tips.
Stay hydrated – sounds obvious, but so many people don’t take into account the impact the hot weather will have. You will be sweating more than usual, and even if you don’t notice you need to take on more fluid. That is before during and after the event, water is your friend.
Don’t over hydrate – it is possible to overdo it. There is something that isn’t uncommon in endurance athletes called hyponatremia. Basically drinking too much water. This is more dangerous than being dehydrated.
Some say drink to thirst, I personally think you should probably do more than this. Sometimes you won’t feel thirsty, but you need to drink. But remember that you need to replace all the sodium you are losing, not just water. This comes from electrolytes: gels, sports drinks and other fuels. Don’t just drink water.
Drink little and often, and think about how you will do this. Take on fluid at every station, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to drink it all. Will this be enough for you? Some may choose to run with a water bottle rather than discarding it. Or is the water provided in cups? For me this would give me cause to consider a hydration vest. You know what works best for you, but remember to drink little and often, and ensure you know when you are getting your next drink. Also make sure you are replacing the lost salt. This may mean more gels than normal. Don’t leave it too late.
If you stay hydrated, you will enjoy the race so much more. There is more than just keeping the fluids up. Think about what you are going to wear, and how this will effect your run. If it’s hot and sunny you may want to wear sunglasses, and you won’t catch me without my visor these days.
If I’m worried about the heat and cups I will wear my vest, glasses and visor. If I’m relaxed about it then just my visor, but you work out what is best for you, what will you be comfortable in?
Staying hydrated and keeping the sun out of your eyes is very important. But make sure you protect yourself from the sun. You will be out for a long time in the direct heat, you will burn if you aren’t protected. This won’t be a good look the day after, and certainly won’t help you running.
Finally, don’t overdo it. The heat will likely impact on your target time. It will be harder, so don’t beat yourself up over it. If you stay hydrated then of course you can still achieve your target time but you need to be realistic. When I ran Berlin in 2014 I was thrown by cups and not bottles. I was aiming for a sub 3 and couldn’t drink out of cups, so I ran past the aid stations. This led to me setting very dehydrated and when I got to the end I couldn’t hold down any fluid. Remember it’s just a run, look after yourself and come back for more, enjoy the run, then tell me all about it 👍