In an unusually hot October in 2007, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon was cut short due to extreme heat (87 degrees). And, in last year's Chicago Marathon, a runner from North Carolina died just 500 yards from the finish line. The temperature was 77 degrees.
As the October 7, 2012 Chicago Marathon approaches, more than 45,000 runners are training in this hot, sticky summer weather. Although experts say runners have just a 1 in 40,000 chance of dying in a marathon, there is a greater likelihood of suffering exhaustion or dehydration when the thermometer rises.
Sometime around late August, marathoners will be logging up to 15 miles in their training and temperatures in Chicago could still be in the 90s.
In the heat we lose precious body fluids through perspiration and it makes us feel like we're working harder than we really are. Dr. Mjaanes recommends:
- Get a physical before you start marathon training.
- On hot days, run on a treadmill in an air-conditioned gym or run late at night.
- It's critical to be hydrated when you begin an exercise session and it must occur on an ongoing basis, during your exercise session.
- Schedule water consumption just as you schedule workouts. Drink fluids throughout the day to optimize your hydration level.
- When exercising in the heat, aim for 16 to 28 ounces of fluid intake per hour. By the time you feel thirsty, you could have a five percent body-weight water loss.
- Incorporate an electrolyte-balanced sports drink into your hydration plan. Experiment with different products to find the one that works best for you.
- Run every day at the same time, no matter the weather, so your body naturally adjusts to seasonal temperature changes. However, on hot days, it is better to run in the morning or evening to avoid the mid-day sun.
- Seek shady routes for relief from the sun.
- Dress in light-colored, loose, synthetic clothing (to reflect the sun's rays, wick and dry quickly) to evaporate sweat and maintain body temperature.
- Use sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses to make your own shade and provide protection.
- Avoid caffeine and super-caffeinated energy drinks.
And if you experience any of the symptoms below, take them seriously, get out of the sun and seek help:
- Feeling like blacking out
- Feelings of dizziness or light-headedness
- Chest pain
- Palpitations or racing heart
- You've stopped sweating
- Have goose bumps
- Shortness of breath out of the norm
To schedule an appointment to discuss your summer training, call Dr. Jeffrey Mjaanes at 877 MD BONES (877.632.6637).