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Don't let heat wear you down

Posted by: pshields on Sunday, June 25, 2006 - 01:05 PM Print article Printer-friendly page  Email to a friend

Don't let heat wear you down


June 25, 2006
Take precautions and be prepared when it comes to training runs

Don't feel compelled to burn up the pavement once the summer sun begins to sizzle.

That, in essence, is the advice offered to fledgling marathon runners by Don Garber, the head coach of the Sports Backers' Marathon Training Team. Garber said prudence should - indeed, must - outweigh performance as June melts into July.

"The first and most important thing you can do is be realistic," Garber said. "It's hot. That's not going to change. At this point, [a trainee is] probably doing at most 10 miles, maybe less [at any given time.] If you feel like it's just too hot and you have to miss one run five months before the race - you know what? That's better than pushing yourself into heatstroke and then having to miss 2-3 weeks."

Garber offered several alternatives to skipping a scheduled workout because of oppressive heat:

# Pay scrupulous attention to hydration. If at all possible, run over terrain that includes drinking fountains. Garber recommended Deep Run, Byrd and Bryan parks.

# Vary the time of day at which you typically run. Consider running in the early morning - 5:30 or 6 a.m. - rather than after work when the sun's fangs and claws are fully extended.

# Establish and stick to a pace that is reasonable for the temperature. "Again, it's so important to be realistic," Garber said. "In this kind of heat, you're not going to run the same pace that maybe you'd maintain in 40-degree weather. You can do the miles, absolutely. Just plan on doing them slower."

# Play it cool. Literally. Consider a white or light-colored vented cap instead of a heavy baseball cap for sun protection. Consider a light-colored Cool-Max running top instead of a heavy, dark cotton T-shirt. Try to select a course, trail or track that is bathed in partial or full shade - a city park, for instance; or a leafy residential neighborhood.

A runner who has access to a gym or health club, Garber said, can retreat indoors when the heat and humidity become excessive.

"There's nothing wrong with an occasional workout on a treadmill."

Times Dispatch

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