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Experienced runners share hot-weather training tips

By Faith Smith, KECI Reporter, fcronin@keci.com
Published On: Jul 01 2013 10:54:00 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

The Missoula Marathon is just around the corner and NBC Montana knows runners are out training, so we wanted to find out how everyone can stay safe.

Monday afternoon we caught up with marathon runners who have experience training in the hot weather and they tells us there are a number of ways to protect yourself from overheating or even heat stroke.  The main thing – stay hydrated.

Missoula runner John Pitcairn has over 30 years of marathon experience under his belt and he tells NBC Montana that in extreme heat folks who want to train, should lace up their shoes early.

“You really should slow down.  People used to ask me when I lived in Phoenix 'How do you run in 90-some degree temperature?’ I said, 'I run slowly, very slowly because it's the only chance you have.'”

He tells us if the weather is hot it’s best to train first thing in the morning before the sun rises, drink plenty of water before and during training, and wear light-colored clothing. 

“Some people I see out there have long sleeves and long pants and they think they are going to lose weight,” says Pitcairn.  “It's not the time of year to do it when it's that hot because you can run into some real issues.”  

Missoula runner Mac Bloom says in hot weather it's important to keep your outside training short to avoid overheating.

“We just ran up the 'M' and it's probably 98 degrees out or something like that, but any farther than that though I probably wouldn't be out running in this temperature,” says Bloom.

“Do not wear a hat,” says Pitcairn.  “A lot of our temperature goes through our head and now you're trapping temperature in if you're wearing a hat, so you don’t want to do that.”

He tells us if you plan to train outside for more than a few hours, get electrolytes in your system, like you find in bananas and Gatorade.

“Energy gels, small packets, about 100 calories, and people take those every 50 minutes or so and they have complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates,” says Pitcairn. 

Pitcairn tells NBC Montana he has met runners who become discouraged when they have to slow down in the hot weather but he says slowing down is worth it.

“Leave the ego out of it,” he says. “I can't go as fast as I did yesterday when it was cooler - it's just that simple.”

As for Bloom, he says his favorite way to cool off is by taking a dip.   

“When you’re done I think you should jump in the Clark Fork because it's about the perfect temperature,” said Bloom.