by Vera Stek, Courier News
The Olympic athletes will have to contend with the heat of competition as well as the high temperatures and humidity in the dog days of summer in Beijing. As will local runners here in New Jersey.
South Jersey runner and author Tom Osler, who did his share of long, grueling miles in hot-weather races, has some advice for those training in the heat and especially racing in it.
"Running in the direct rays of the sun can be very dangerous. Young John Kelly (Boston Marathon winner) once said: "The sun is the marathoner's worst enemy.' I never train in direct sunlight on hot days."
"Pouring water on your head is extremely helpful. I ran 50 miles on the track at Ft. Meade in 5 hours, 50 minutes in August 1975 and 1977. Both races were on terribly hot, humid evenings. Every two laps I sponged ice cold water over my head. I was constantly covered by cold water."
"Successful running in the heat is achieved by training in the coolest part of the day. Acclimation to a small degree will take place in any case. But it is only a very small acclimation. Ron Daws won the Holyoke Marathon in 1967 (it was the Pan American Games Trials race), in over 90-degree heat, training only in the cool weather of Minnesota. Most of the runners from a warmer climate dropped out."
"Successful racing on hot days is achieved by understanding what you are up against. You start by running at a much slower pace than you would on a cool day. Pour water all over yourself. Then patiently wait for the fast guys to slow down or quit."
For more wisdom from Osler, read his book, "The Serious Runner's Handbook."