I’m sure all of you have been watching the forecast like a hawk in the build up to the London Marathon. Of course it would be just our luck that after months and months of training in freezing conditions, race day turns out to be one of the hottest days of the year so far!
At the moment (Monday 16th April) the forecast is saying 15 degrees for the race start, with a high of 20 degrees during the middle of the day. This temperature is perfectly safe to run in, so don’t panic, but there are some precautions you can take to make things a little easier during the run.
1. Look at your clothes - A top that is one size up from normal will allow a breeze to get to your skin, helping you to keep cool. Instead of my usual snug tight fitting singlet, I’ll be wearing a larger one, which helps the air circulate, sweat evaporate and cool me down. Always wear ‘technical’ clothing. This will have been designed to be breathable, helping sweat evaporate away, keeping you cool. Any top from a running manufacturer will be technical these days, just avoid any cotton t-shirts!
It's going to be hot during this build up week, so test a few options out and see what works for you.
2. Hats - I wear a hat, whatever the weather. But having a cap keeping the sun off your face will really help, plus it blocks the sun out from reaching your head. If you’re lucky enough to have a full head of hair, then a triathlon/golf style visor is good, as is a trucker style cap, as they will allow sweat to evaporate far better than a closed off cap.
3. Suncream - goes without saying. Waterproof and factor 50+. Don’t sacrifice that PB for a suntan!
4. Sunglasses - But only if you’ve run in them before. They can take getting use to, so don’t try them out on race day for the first time.
5. Electrolyte / Salt tablets - You’ll be losing a lot of salt through sweat, so drinking electrolyte drinks will help replace what you lose. Lucozade will be on offer at miles 7, 11, 15, 19 and 23. If you’ve used salt tablets before then they can be very good. Having extra electrolytes the day before and again on race day morning will help. Something like this will help in the build up from Science in Sport. Plus you can get gels with electrolytes in them. Such as these.
6. Water - Little and often is the rule. Don’t drink gallons in the morning and expect it to last! There is water EVERY mile, starting at mile 3 and ending at mile 25. Drink to thirst, take what you need and then chuck what you don’t want over your head! You should be fine to run from mile to mile and take on water... There is so much!! If you are at all worried though, then a bottle like this will help.
7. Toilets - Please don’t get worried about drinking too much, then needing the toilet. There are toilet stations every two miles, from mile 1 to mile 24. Drink as much as your body is telling you that you need!
8. Showers - There will be showers you can run through, soak yourself and cool down. They feel amazing! These will be at Mile 9, 13, 17, 22 and 23.5.
9. Breakfast drinks - It can be a good idea to freeze a sports drink the night before, so you can sip it on race day morning and have it cold.
10. Focus on what you can control - Even in 2018, we can’t control the weather. So focus on your taper, get all your kit ready, look at your carb loading and get your strategy in place for the hotter weather. But don’t panic, we can’t control the weather, but we can control our preparation. For all my pre race tips click here.
11. Be realistic - There is no doubt that hotter temperatures will have an impact on race times and that PB might be harder to achieve than if it was 10 degrees cooler. But London is about so much more than just PB’s, it’s a course to enjoy, celebrate running and take it in for the spectacle that it is. Start the race steady and stick to your pacing. The first hour won’t actually be too hot, so ease into the race, run steady and keep everything controlled.
12. There are positives about hotter weather, such as the crowds will be even bigger and it draws people out to watch. More support, more noise and the atmosphere will be electric! Everyone will be in a great mood, the party atmosphere will take over and you’ll be spurred on even more to get to the finish!
Finally if you're running then lots of luck, you'll be great I'm sure! I'm looking forward to seeing everyone in Greenwich for the start and many more on the mall at the finish. Good luck, run well and most of all enjoy it!