How to keep cool for a warm New York City Marathon

It's going to be a warm NYC Marathon on Sunday but preparing the right way can lead to all smiles at the finish line (Photo by Sports Travel International).

With all its bridges, turns and the congestion of 50,000 runners, the New York City Marathon is already about as tough as it gets when it comes to 26.2-milers.

But with Sunday’s forecasted high of 73 degrees (61 for the 8 a.m. start) in the Big Apple, the challenge becomes even greater.

Whether you’re a five-borough veteran or taking on this event for the first time, the key word is preparation.

Coaches/running experts will tell you ideal temperatures for a marathon range somewhere in the high 40s/low 50s. And low humidity. Neither of those preferences will be making an appearance when the field lines up at the base of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge on Staten Island.

Here are a few warm weather tips from somone who’s completed seven of these crazy competitions, ones which have covered the gamut of various climate conditions:

>Start hydrating a few days before: By drinking plenty of fluids prior to the race, you’re filling up the tank so that there isn’t even the trace of dehydration at the beginning of your journey.

>Plenty of electrolytes: The morning of the marathon, it’s a good idea to consume a sports/energy drink loaded with essential minerals such as potassium, magnesium, sodium. These will help prevent cramping when the old 20-mile “wall’’ pops up somewhere before hitting Manhattan.

>Wear light-colored clothes: Remember, dark colors absorb heat, light (white) colors reflect it. Just a singlet should do it for your top.

>A hat has several uses: Wearing a ball cap will not only shade your eyes from the sun but help absorb sweat to keep it out of your eyes.

>Lubricate your feet: Many runners will be getting – ahem – sweaty feet in this moist environment, which can lead to blisters. So prior to putting on your socks (or a second pair, if possible), apply a good lubricant such as A&D or Vaseline to reduce the effects of friction.

>At each water stop, dump a cup over your head: As important as it is to consume water at each water station, be sure to grab an extra cup and dump it over your head, even in the first couple miles. You want to keep your skin surface from overheating as well as your core body temperature. If there is any ice available, go for that, too.

>Watch your pace: As much as you would like to set a personal best, it just might not be realistic on a day such as this. The elevation rise and descent on bridges such as the Verrazzano and Queensborough make it hard enough to keep a steady pace, so in the early stages, try backing off 10 or 15 seconds per mile to conserve your energy for the later miles.

>Don’t be a hero: As much effort as it took to get into this race and how special it would be to finish it, remember to listen to your body. The temperature is going to be around 70 late morning and some people don’t react well to that heat index. Marathons always come with a degree of discomfort but if it feels like things are shutting down, then shut it down before they come after you with the old siren-mobile. Live to run another day. Pull off, sit down and signal you need help.

>Post-race bonanza: Well, you earned it. It’s great to celebrate with pizza, beer, ice cream and the like but don’t forget to drink plenty of water and/or sports drinks when the race is over. Some people even jump into an ice bath to reduce inflammation. Whatever, keep a mental log of what worked and what didn’t on this summer-like day for future late fall runs-in-the-sun.

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About Wayne Fish 2452 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.