5 Tips for Racing in Heat/Humidity

As we approach the end of May, the heat and humidity are picking up. You may feel your runs are getting harder. You might notice you are not hitting paces you used to. Don’t worry!

The two major marathons I’ve done in 2016 have been rather unfavorable with 70+ degrees & sunny. Weather plays a big factor in races. The longer the race distance, the bigger the effect it will have.

Here are some pictures from Boston 2016 & LA 2016.

Boston 2016- 3:26:07 (1:40/1:46)

LA 2016- 3:23:23 (1:39/1:43)

My marathon PR is 3:14. I believe that I was in 3:15-3:20 shape for both of these races, but the conditions on race day played a factor.

My Tips

  1. 1. Hydrate Early & Often

The week before the race or big run, you should focus on getting in lots of electrolights & water! Your pee should be clear or very very light yellow. Drink BEFORE you are thirsty.

The morning of the race, drink as soon as you wake up!

During the race: take water and/or poweraid at EVERY stop. You don’t need to drink all of it. Just get some in your month and swallow

2. Adjust your goals

If the temps will be above 60 & humidity above 50% & sunny, I would highly recommend adjusting your race goals. I know it sucks, but there will be other races. 

You might be in shape to run a 4:00 marathon in 40 degrees, but on a 70 degree day, you might be lucky to run a 4:10. Keep this in mind early in the race.

Stick to your new plan. You cannot control the weather on race day. Going out too fast on a hot day can be brutal for the second half of the race when you are going to be running in likely even worse conditions as the sun peaks and the temperatures rise.

3. Dress Smart

Consider a sports bra, tank top, singlets & shorts. Be conscious of the colors you are wearing. Black absorbs sunlight and gets hot.  I would recommend wearing light colors on hot/sunny days. Wear light/cool fabrics. Avoid cotton.

Visors and headbands can be useful for soaking up sweat on your head- again stick to lighter colors

4. Protect yourself

WEAR SUNSCREEN & SUNGLASSES. If it is sunny, I would highly recommend getting sunglasses. No one wants to squint for hours while running in the sun 🙂

Sunscreen is always smart to protect your skin from the rays

5. Consider water dumping

When you are running, your body temperature rises. To cool down, I like to dump water over my head or on my chest during races. It feels good & helps you cool off.

When going through a water stop, if you ever have any leftover water in your cup- dump it on your head before you toss it 🙂


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