There’s something I forgot about running a spring marathon. As a New Englander, you are almost certain to get beat up by the weather. As we reached the four week mark on Sunday, this wasn’t on my mind. I was just gloating a little because it was snowing at home, and I was on a plane to Orlando Florida.
Then I went for a run on Monday, and my body said, “hey, man, it’s HOT.” When you face 80 degree temperatures for the first time in six or seven months, your body goes into overdrive trying to keep you cool. That means not just extra sweat, but changes to your cardiovascular system, too. That’s why people turn red when they overheat; blood vessels near the surface of your skin expanding in an attempt to dump heat into the atmosphere. Your pulse goes up. You breath harder. For a runner, all things you’re hoping to delay, especially when you run long distances (it all takes energy, and will deplete your system of more than just salts).
I ran three times while in Florida, and it was a good reminder to get heat acclimated. It’s miserable cold in Pittsburgh today, but in the next two weeks they’ll be seeing temperatures over 70 degrees, and I know from experience what a warm spring day and a marathon feels like. All that to say, if you see me running, and it’s shorts and a t-shirt weather, don’t be surprised to see me wearing pants and a couple long sleeve shirts. It’s the only way I know to make my body get used to trying to fight overheating while I run. I’m hoping that four weeks is enough time to do it!