A Perfect 10

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This year’s St. Jude Memphis Marathon is coming up fast, December 6th, 2008.  This race can’t get here fast enough.  Last year was my first half marathon and while it was a huge personal accomplishment I definitely felt the pain of being a rookie.  Wearing the wrong socks, not hydrating enough, and not running enough before hand.  I believe that I only got up to 9 miles during training and my mid-week runs should have been taken more seriously.  I paid for those mistakes by feeling hung over almost day and two blisters.

However, I was to not be beaten.  This year I have trained not only harder, but more efficiently.  I completed my 10 mile run yesterday and it felt great.  Most importantly I felt great afterwards.  The key being that I brought food with me on my run and ate a little bit around mile 4.5 and mile 8.5, along with staying hydrated with a mixture of Gatorade.

It was the perfect 10.

Only 3.1 miles to go.

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

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While I was training for the half marathon last year, I was fortunate I didn’t have to experience any extreme temperatures or humidity. The day of the race I think it got close to 70 degrees . . . in December.

This time around I’m having to experience extreme Memphis heat and humidity. It doesn’t matter if it’s 6 am, 12 noon, or 8 pm, it’s always hot and muggy. Even when I’m done with my run and get cleaned up I still can’t seem to stop sweating for at least 2 hours.

I completed a 5 mile run last week and I felt as if I’d run a marathon. Even with all the Gatorade and water that I carry with me on my runs, the hot weather is a formidable adversary.

In order to keep up with my training obligations, I’ve been reading up on how to run SAFELY through the hottest parts of the year. Here are some tips that have come in handy:

  1. For long runs that are held on Sunday, preparation should begin on Saturday. Eat light and drink LOTS of water.
  2. Slow down. When it’s extremely humid outside, sweat won’t evaporate as easily.
  3. If you’re new to running in the heat, start in the hottest part of the day, and start slow. Take a short walk or run a few easy miles a couple of times a week for the first few weeks. “Spending all your time in air-conditioning and then expecting to run well outdoors in the heat is not going to cut it,” says William Roberts, M.D., former president of the American College of Sports Medicine and the medical director of the Twin Cities Marathon.
  4. Wear socks made of synthetic fibers that wick moisture away from your skin to help prevent blisters and athlete’s foot.
  5. Drink adequate fluids 30 - 45 minutes before you exercise and then a cupful every 10 - 15 minutes while exercising. After exercising, drink more fluid than you think you need. Sport replacement drinks are superior to water, especially if you’re running longer distances and times (over 60 - 90 minutes). The electrolytes and carbohydrates in sport drinks will help speed your recovery from the stress of fluid loss and your long distance run. Sport replacement drinks also taste great, encouraging you to drink more than you otherwise might.
  6. Dress lightly and wear light-colored clothes. Avoid cotton t-shirts, which will become soaked, heavy, and prevent evaporation, which is how your body cools itself.