Running a road race is ideal for runners. They test a runner’s ability and how well you’ve trained for the event. And, you want to run your best as you compete against yourself as well as others. However, if you find that race day the weather is unseasonably warm, there are precautions that you need to take. Here are some tips for running a race in hot weather.
As with all road races, make sure that you are aware of what the weather is going to be on race day. On the days before a race, you want to make sure that you are drinking enough water. However, if you know that the weather is going to be warmer than usual that day, staying hydrated is even more important. The urine test is the best way to make sure. If your urine is clear or pale yellow, you are adequately hydrated.
If you know that race day is going to be hot, be sure to increase your salt intake before the race. You should be eating some salty foods and even taking salt straight up with water – a packet that you get in a restaurant is a perfect size. Some races will even give you one in your race packet to have during the race. If you are doing a half-marathon or marathon, you should get some salt during the race, also.
Don’t push yourself too hard if the weather is hot. – Readjust your race goals. Trying to overdo it on a hot day can lead to heat-related illnesses, such as heatstroke. It’s perfectly alright to run a little slower and make sure that you finish the race. You can try again for the Personal Record in your next race.
A great way to cool down if you feel overheated is to splash some water on you at the water stops. Many races will also give you a sponge at the water stops to wet and then carry with you to keep yourself cool. (It may also be a good idea to get one to have with you if you are prone to overheating if you know that race day is going to be super hot.). Two words of caution with this, though. First of all, if you do get a sponge at a water stop, don’t suck on it to get water. They may have soap or other things in them.
Also, if you splash water on yourself – try to keep your shoes dry. If you get too much water on your shoes and socks, it can lead to blisters. Not to mention, your shoes and socks will feel heavier if they are full of water.
And, most importantly, make sure that you are staying hydrated. You want to make sure that you are drinking before, during and after your runs. Remember the urine test – it should be clear or pale yellow if you are properly hydrated.
If you do start to feel lightheaded, nauseous or have chills – stop at the next medical stop or find a race official. Be checked out to be sure you are alright.