The mercury is starting to rise and that means it’s time to change running patterns and habits. Hot temperatures are dangerous for endurance sport and marathon runners. Understanding the risks and how to avoid getting into a serious situation, or even worse, death, is important.
Training for a marathon is significantly easy in the cooler months like fall or spring. As the temperatures rise, the body isn’t used to the hot weather and hasn’t been conditioned. This is when marathon runners run into serious complications, such as cramping and heat exhaustion, that can hamper their race time or end up in a medical tent with a DNF. Understanding how to avoid these dangers is important.
It is important to help the body adapt to the significantly warmer temperatures. As muscles and internal organs heat up, blood moves the heat to the skins surface. On the surface, skin begins to sweat, which cools the body back down. In as short as two weeks of training, the body can adapt to the warmer conditions, dramatically improving circulation and sweat capacity.
During this transition time, training runs may need to be shortened or done at a slower pace. More importantly, the body will require a dramatic increase in both water and electrolytes to stay hydrated so your body has the fluids it needs to keep sweating. You may also want to change your training times to earlier in the morning when the temperatures are at the daily low.
Get out and enjoy the summer sunshine and remember to adapt your training program to build your strength and exercise.