6 tips for running a hot weather marathon

19 April 2018

With the London Marathon just days away and temperatures soaring, here are six tips to help you beat the heat on race day.

1. Don't hydrate too late

Don't wait until race day to get hydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of water in the days leading up to the race to give your body plenty of time to absorb the fluids it needs. Electrolyte drinks will help your body retain fluid when you hydrate outside of mealtimes.

2. Cool your core

Professional athletes sometimes wear ice vests before a race, but you can get the same effect by using chilled towels or ice packs. Get a friend to bring a cool bag packed with ice to the race start so you have these items to hand. Toss in some damp neck towels and pre-frozen sports drinks to help keep you cool during the early stages of the race.

3. Adjust your pace

You've been training all year and might have a personal best to beat, but failing to take the heat into account will not end well. Slow your pace according to the weather, especially if you've trained in cooler months and are not used to running in heat. Don't make the rookie error of racing through aid stations without taking on water. Listen to your body, stay safe and enjoy the race.

4. Get wet

Marathon crowds love nothing more than to chuck water at passing runners, so make sure you grab every opportunity for a good drenching. When you pass aid stations take two cups of water, one to drink and one to pour over your head. If you've got friends cheering you on, make sure they're armed with water to give you a refreshing shower as you pass.

5. Mind your minerals

You'll be sweating buckets, to it's important to load up on sodium in the days before the race. Sodium tablets or salty snacks will do the trick. On race day electrolyte drinks will replenish sodium and potassium, helping to prevent cramping and retain fluids. Don’t experiment with unfamiliar sports drinks or supplements on the day, as it might upset your stomach. Water soluble electrolyte tablets can be kept on a running belt and added to water during the race.

6. Be sun-smart

Body-hugging base layers work well for cold-weather training, but when the sun starts to shine a loose-fitting T-shirt with mesh or vents will help keep air circulating and prevent chafing. Opt for a high-tech material that wicks sweat away from the body. Protect your head from the sun with a lightweight hat with a visor, and apply sunscreen to exposed skin. If you run with sunglasses, make sure they are light, comfortable and aren't going to slide off your face when things get sweaty.

Good luck to Team Lily on race day and to everyone running the 2018 London Marathon! To donate to Team Lily and help fight mitochondrial disease please click here