Runners usually know to slow down or run indoors when the weather is hot and humid but, when it comes to racing in the heat, sometimes they’ll get competitive and ignore some of the advice about running in hot weather.
If you're going to be racing in hot weather, here's how to play it smart and avoid trouble:
Stay well-hydrated leading up the race.
Scale back your race goals.
Don't try to beat the heat. Pushing too hard despite the heat is one of the biggest causes of heat-related illnesses. Don't expect to run a predicted race time that might be possible in better conditions. You'll need to adjust your race plan based on the conditions.
Get extra salt.
Eat some salty foods, like pretzels, or sprinkle some salt on your food, in the days leading up to your race. Right before the race, take a packet of salt (from a fast-food restaurant) with water. If you'll be racing for more than two hours, carry another one with you and take it about halfway through your race.
Don't drink too much during the race.
Drink a pre-race slushie.
An exercise researcher in New Zealand found that drinking a syrup-flavored ice slushie before running on a treadmill extended runners' endurance by an average of 10 minutes.
It's not exactly clear why slushies had that effect, but one possible explanation is that the slushies lowered the runners' body temperature before they started running, allowing them to run longer before they felt the effects of the heat.The time difference was not huge, so a pre-race slushie won't keep you going through an entire marathon. But it could be enough to give you a little extra boost in the first several miles of a long race or the entire distance of a shorter one, like a 5K.