It’s an exciting time as the fall marathon season begins and the marathon training programs wind down. Usually by late August/early September the weather in the Midwest mellows from the exasperating heat to a comfortable range to allow for those final 20 milers to be completed before the big race. This year has been a reverse of that pattern. Early August the temps cooled off, but the heat came back the last two weeks and look to continue for another week at least.
The best plan to beat the heat and still get those long runs in is to get up really early, as in before the sun comes up. 2011 was an especially hot summer and if I didn’t get up at 4:30 and hit the road by 5:00 the temps were in the high 80’s/low 90s by 9:00 and close to the 100’s by Noon. Avoiding the midday sun is always a wise choice, but that year it was an absolute necessity.
Though I hate to drive/waste gasoline to get a run in, the wise thing is to put out water/energy drink on your long run course. My usual course provides a few hiding places for the drinks, so as not to be disturbed by ill-doers. If your course is not so well equipped, the next best plan is to carry your beverage of choice. Personally I don’t like to carry water for several reasons, but the placement of beverages that are the same as the ones that will be provided at your marathon is optimal. As an example: The Chicago Marathon provides Gatorade Endurance formula and water. The Fargo Marathon provided PowerAde the year I ran it, so that year I started my marathon training using PowerAde (which I don’t like) up to Fargo and then switched to Gatorade after and then all the way up to Chicago. You always want to condition your body for all the variables you will be hit with at your respective marathon. The same can be said for energy gels.
Studying your marathon of choice’s website is key to any successful marathon pursuit. Limiting surprises is always a good idea. The more that you know going in, the less opportunity to have the unexpected trip you up on race day.
Fall Marathon Post 2013, Chicago Marathon 2013