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Beat the Heat
With the arrival of summer and all its sunshine, weekend getaways, and scorching temperatures, runners should make subtle changes to their training plan to best prepare for the 38th Marine Corps Marathon, now just four months away.
"I'm going to start running earlier in the day," explained Joshua Gitch, a Marine corporal stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico. Gitch is a first-timer marathon training for the MCM.
Olympian, author, and trainer Jeff Galloway agrees running earlier in the day is safer for runners. He explains during the hot summer months runners can walk the same distance as they’d plan to run and receive the same endurance benefits.
“You shouldn’t push yourself harder during the summer,” Galloway states. “Back off and cover the distance. Put more frequent walk breaks in and slow the pace down.”
Galloway’s Run-Walk-Run training method encourages runners to complete a cycle of running for a designated period and then walk a determined amount of time before picking up the run again. Galloway explains during the summer months, a runner’s pace should slow 30 seconds per mile for every five degrees above 60.
“That means someone at 60 degrees who’s training at a three-minute run, one-minute walk, should at 70 degrees complete a two-minute run, one-minute walk. At 80 degrees this becomes a 1:1 ratio,” Galloway elaborates. “There is no downside to putting in more walk breaks. Enjoy the experience and avoid the bad stuff.”
MCM Director Rick Nealis enjoys running but often supplements his cardio workouts on an indoor rowing machine when the summer heat becomes unbearable.
“The important thing to remember during the summer months is to keep up the cardio,” offered Nealis. “Finding another fun activity ensures runners keep training safely and keeps things interesting when the heat forces them indoors.”
Former All-Marine running coach and MCM Operations Manager Bret Schmidt offers additional cross training recommendations to beat the summer heat.
“Swimming is a natural cross training recommendation,” he explains. “Not only are you cooling off in the water, there is no impact to the knees. This is an advantage when preparing for longer runs.”
Cross training can supplement, but not replace an outdoor run when preparing for a marathon.Navy physical therapist Capt. Michele Weinstein reminds runners that for most athletes, acclimatization will take place within three weeks however, depending on various factors, can take up to nine weeks. The benefits of acclimation decay in one to three weeks, so runners must remain consistent in their summer training plans.
Weinstein also asks runners to pay close attention to their bodies and recognize symptoms of heat related illnesses such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
“Dizziness, light-headedness, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue are the most common symptoms of heat related illness,” Weinstein explains. “If a runner experiences any of these symptoms, he or she should stop the activity and move to a cool environment or seek assistance.
Misting or cooling the body, along with rehydration in the form or small sips of water or electrolyte drink, may allow a runner to continue with training,” Weinstein continues. “If a runner cannot tolerate liquid, or symptoms continue, the runner should seek immediate medical attention as heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke, which is a life-threatening condition.”
Knowing your body, slowing down a run, and keeping these important summer training tips in mind will ensure a safe summer training season. For additional summer training tips, view the Jeff Galloway video on MCMtv.