Friday, July 22, 2011

Badwater ultrarunner Scott Jurek's tips for running in the hot hot heat

SHOOT: Some very useful tips here...

Scott Jurek knows heat.
The 37-year-old ultrarunner has run the body-battering 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon in blistering temperatures through California's punishing Death Valley twice.
"I've been in extreme heat," Jurek said in a recent phone chat. And he has tips on how runners can better battle through hot weather safely and with smarts. Perhaps surprisingly the uber-athlete does not advise beating the heat, so much as knowing the heat.

For all you runners training for a race right now - Jurek has offers these sage words:
For runners who tend to slot time for early morning workouts to avoid extreme temperatures, Jurek says, “Getting out occasionally in midday is a good idea. Be accustomed to the heat that you will encounter in that weekend race event that will occur in the heat.”

“It’s so  easy to forget hydration and electrolytes,” he said. “While exercising it’s key to not only get water.” 

This may seem like a no-brainer, but I meet runners all the time who abstain from electrolyte drinks during running. Maybe it upsets their stomachs, or maybe they just don’t like the taste. But in these hot summer months its really crucial to replenish electrolytes and sodium.
If he's running more than 90 minutes, even Jurek who famously favors whole, unprocessed foods, will go for a sports drink or gel to refuel.
“I use salt and electrolyte capsules for a race like Badwater,” he said.

I’ve been training with water only to avoid the stomach distress I often encounter after long runs where I’ve tried to up my speed. But I’m looking at Queens as my own scaled down version of Badwater this summer and taking these tips to heart.

I knocked out 10 miles in Prospect Park Saturday starting off at about 10 a.m. on purpose so I’d be forced to push through a hot zone. The heat was already beating down at that hour even through the park’s leafy three shelter. I stopped for water frequently, but no electrolytes. I was dragging the rest of the day even though I drank electrolyte water and coconut water post run.
Lesson learned. Gatorade, we have a date next weekend.

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