If you live anywhere on the East Coast, especially the Southeast as we do, there’s no doubt that you’ve seen an influx of pictures of car thermometers on your friends Facebook pages showing the temperatures soaring above 100 degrees. We’ve even put one on our Facebook page here at Pinnacle, though it seems that 102 was not much to brag about compared to other cities.
However, 102 degrees is no joke when you’re outside competing in a 6.2 mile road race and that’s what 60,000 people intend to do this Independence Day as they participate in the Peachtree Road Race, one of the world’s largest 10Ks.
Since the race is so large, participants are assigned to start waves. Each runner has the opportunity to submit a previous race time when they enter and these times determine your start wave. If you’re a fast runner, you’re likely going to be in one of the beginning waves, but if you’re a more casual runner or have never done a race before, you’re in the back. And as someone who has started in Wave D and Wave X, let me tell you, the difference in temperature is noticeable.
Even if you’re one of the lucky ones who begin racing closer to 7:30 a.m. than 9 a.m., you are still going to need to make sure you have adequate protection against the elements. I’m not an expert by any means, but I have done my fair share of road races, some of which have been in the heat, so here’s my advice, take it or leave it.
• Hydrate! This might seem obvious, but the best way to beat the heat is by making sure you’re well hydrated. By the time you feel thirsty, you’re already on your way to being dehydrated. While the Atlanta Track Club does have water stations throughout the course, bringing your own water bottle to the race is a great idea.
• Use sunscreen! Though the race is in the morning, the sun still is going to be bearing down. Be sure to protect your skin by liberally applying sunscreen before and even during the race. Whatever discomfort you feel by simply being outside will be magnified times a million if you have a sunburn. And yes, that’s a scientific fact!
• Baseball caps! In the same vein, don’t forget the top of your head. Getting a sunburn on your scalp is no fun, plus think about what it looks like when it peels! The brim of the cap will also protect your eyes.
• Dri-fit T-shirt. In the running community, there is a phrase that says, “Cotton is Rotten.” Now I’ve got nothing against cotton in general; in fact I love it. I’m wearing a cotton shirt right now, but if you’re going to be outside in the extreme heat, you want a breathable t-shirt, one that wicks sweat away.
• And lastly, the ability to enjoy yourself. Yes it’s hot out, but if you’re taking the necessary precautions, you can still enjoy yourself. Plus, 6.2 miles means you earned every hot dog or burger you want at the night’s bbq, right?