It’s summer time and to make matters more interesting, roughly 3000 athletes are getting ready to race Ironman 70.3 in Buffalo City. Unless the weather is exceptionally kind, you will most probably find yourself running in the heat toward midday. Here are some strategies to remember.
- Get one or two midday runs in. The problem with most athletes is that they train either early morning or late afternoon. Running in the heat will help your body acclimatize to the heat that awaits it.
- Run within your capabilities. Remember, you have just gone on a long swim, and have endured 90 km on the bike. This is not the time to show off. Start slow and run within your limits.
- Make sure that you get a good breakfast in that has a mix of carbs and protein. Also make sure that you get enough food in while on the bike.
- Don’t take too much caffeine in. Total intake should be limited to 200 mg. Caffeine will reduce your body’s ability to deal with heat.
- A number of ‘seasoned’ athletes advise that you take salt with you and have the equivalent of a fast food salt pack before your run. Do not try this, unless you have tested it during your training.
- Make sure that you are well hydrated in the lead up to the race.
- Do not overdrink. Tim Noakes in particular, has done a lot of research in this area. Over hydrating can pose a major health risk, so avoid hydration plans that force you to drink exact amounts at specific, and rather drink when you are thirsty. If you do not feel well at any stage get medical attention!
- Try to cool down at spray stations and use sponges to dab water over yourself. This advice comes with a major warning, as too much water running down into your shoes can cause blisters.
- Remember to wear sunscreen. Put sunscreen on before you put your tri top on, as when you get onto the bike and roll your shoulders forward you can expose skin on your shoulder blades that did not get sun protection on it.
- Be really careful if you are racing while on medication. Cold meds like ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, or antidiarrheal meds can cause dehydration. Please consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have cause for concern.
- Get an iced towel behind your neck at the end of the race if you can. This will help you cool down.
- Most importantly, get medical attention if you feel overly warm or if you have any other concern. There is always a chance that they pull you out of the race, but there will be many more races to come, and your health is much more important than a medal.
Regards, and race well.