The one thing we can’t control on marathon day is the weather, but that doesn’t stop us from checking it incessantly from two weeks out. The weather for Sunday looks…grim. Most marathoners would agree that 55 is about as warm as you want it. Even Boston, which topped out at about 65, felt very hot. So what’s a runner to do in the heat?
A hotter day means more sweat, upping your hydration requirements. While hydration is a slippery slope (and new runners tend towards over-drinking rather than under-drinking), pay attention to your thirst. Consider drinking more sports drink than you had planned to compensate for additional salt loss. Pay attention to how you feel. Hydration is tricky; if you wait too long, it can be impossible to catch up. What’s your plan for drinking?
A sunny day also requires sun protection. Don a hat and sunglasses and make sure to wear sunscreen, which will keep you cooler over the duration of the race. If you are a profuse sweater, skip sunscreen on your forehead. The hat should protect you and you won’t spend 3+ hours trying to keep sweat out of your eyes.
An unexpectedly hot day (like 75 in May, when we’ve been cool and rainy for weeks) requires an honest re-assessment of goals. Heat affects most runners profoundly and we should adjust our goals down if the day is hot. If we wake up on Sunday to heat and humidity, how will you adjust your goals?
Finally, showers add a bit of excitement to the whole picture. Damp conditions necessitate a full assault on chafing. If you think it might chafe, body glide it. Then Body Glide it again. I often put Aquaphor on my feet, especially between my toes. This gives a little more water-repellent action and keeps me blister free. Places you might not think about? The neck of your tee shirt or tank and the backside of your shirt where safety pins rub.
While we can’t control the weather (so stop hitting refresh on your browser), we can adjust our plans to make it the most comfortable run possible.
See you Sunday…