Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
With hot and humid weather conditions predicted for Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach, the medical team wants to give you a few tips to make this a fun and safe event. Preparation actually begins before the race, making sure you are well-hydrated and have plenty of salt on-board.
1. Please complete the Medical Information and Emergency Contact on the back of your number bib. It is helpful in the event something does not go as planned.
2. Pre-hydrate by drinking enough fluid for two days before your race; your urine should be pale yellow in color. That will also decrease the need to drink during the run.
3. Salt your food for two days prior to the event, and take a salt packet in the morning, which will be available in the start corrals and at all aid stations. This will help to prevent cramping, and the more serious condition of hyponatremia [low salt in the blood]. Be sure to practice this method during your training so you are not using packets for the first time on race morning.
4. Do not take anti-inflammatories, such as Aleve, Motrin, Advil, or Ibuprofen, on race day. They may interfere with your kidney’s ability to regulate salt. Tylenol is a safe alternative.
5. Apply water-soluble sun block, to prevent sunburn but not block your pores for sweating. Remember that sunburned skin does not sweat well.
6. Wear a hat to keep the sun out of your eyes and to stay cool. Since you lose 65 percent of body heat through your head, dip it in cold water, or partially fill it with ice during the run.
7. Be well-prepared for the event. There are some things you can do during the race to enhance your ability to ‘rock your run.’ The most important is to ‘stay within yourself’; if you do not feel well, chances are you are not!
8. Know your limits. If you are a novice, or not used to running on hot, humid days, add 10 percent to your projected finish time. Another option is to consider switching from the full marathon to the half marathon if your race is offering a full and you’ve signed up for that race.
9. Do not overdrink—this dilutes the salt in your blood. Drink only when thirsty, and favor electrolytes over plain water.
10. Take salt, which will be available at every medical aid station, as well as one or two water stations along the course.
11. Slow down if you feel unusually hot or stop sweating. Walk if you have to, listen to the bands, and have fun!
12. Use the cooling elements we have along the course, including spray stations, ice towels and cooling busses. There is an aid station every other mile on all Rock ‘n’ Roll courses. We also have courtesy shuttles, if you feel you just cannot continue.
13. Listen to your body! Symptoms of overheating include headache, dizziness, lack of focus and light-headedness. Other warning signs include unusual fatigue or weakness, cramping, nausea, diarrhea, chilling, goosebumps, and swelling.