Today's fun facts are all about modifying your goals in in-climate weather!
I am by NO means an expert on running in the heat. In fact i suck at it, proven by the fact that i have already collapsed from what was most likely heat stroke once this year. But, I have had almost every single race i put my heart and soul into this year end up with a heat warning, so here are some of the lessons i have learned the hard way.
1. There is always going to be someone in the race who is a seasoned runner and is completely unaffected by heat and humidity. They will make you look like an asshole, but there is nothing you can do. You run your race, they run theirs. Every seasoned runner probably at one time had a race that was way too hot where they severely underperformed.
2. Adjust your goals. This is the hardest one (for me) Maybe you have worked for the past four months training for this race. Maybe you are running it to honor someone. Maybe your whole family is watching. It doesn't matter - if it's hot, you have to slow down and send your time goals packing. You aren't going to meet them, and you might hurt yourself.**
**Luckily, i think most of us this weekend were running this race casually anyway, so hopefully there aren't many disappointed people.
3. If you need to pull out at any point, no one will think any less of you. I made that mistake at Rockford, when i knew i should have quit because my body couldn't handle it, but i was more concerned with people thinking i would be a failure if i didn't finish. That's bananas. No one will judge you if you don't start the race, nor will any one judge you if you don't finish it. People WILL be upset if you die during the race though.
4. Bring water. You might not need it. In fact, if it is a properly stocked race, you absolutely won't need it. But do you really want to risk it?? At the same time, don't freak out and over hydrate. If you drink 30 glasses of water today, you are just going to be up all night peeing, and will in no way have an advantage tomorrow.
5. Don't over dress. I can't tell you how many people i saw lying on the side of the road wearing black capris at the Rockford Marathon. Are you kidding me? If there is a heat advisory don't wear black pants! As a general rule, dress like it is 20 degrees warmer. So if its going to be 80, dress for 100 degrees. If it's going to be 90, dress for 110. I don't actually know what i would wear if it were 110 degrees though....i doubt i would leave the house. And if i did, i would probably be naked.
6. Run with a buddy. Or make a friend out there on the course. You usually don't realize when the heat is frying your brain (i didn't). You think you're running a nice steady pace, but you are actually weaving all over the place, mumbling something about tacos. You're going to want someone who can intervene on your behalf and recognize that it is NOT your normal behavior. Unless it is.
7. Wear Sunblock. I do not understand the whole "I'm too much of a badass for sunblock" movement. I am bringing SPF 50 tomorrow if anyone wants in. And even if you "don't burn like a ginger" do you really want to look like this??
8. Just try to have fun. If you want to whine, go to town, i encourage you. I might whine myself. But try your best to make light of the situation, because while you may be miserable, so is everyone else. Yay to misery buddies!
But seriously, just be safe out there this weekend - I kind of like all of you!