With a major heat advisory, tomorrow’s ASICS LA Marathon is going to be a sweat fest—but that doesn’t mean runners can’t have a successful race. Andrew Kastor, official coach of the marathon (and baby daddy to world record-holder Deena Kastor), shared his best tips for racing long when the temperatures soar.
- Stay chill on the course. “They’re going to have ice and sponges soaked in water. Wear a hat and grab some ice to stuff inside to cool your body off,” says Kastor. Race officials bumped the start time up half an hour so “you’re going to have longer shadows from the buildings blocking that sunshine.” He recommends choosing the shadowed side of the street to keep your core temperature at a minimum.
- Slow down. “Tomorrow’s not going to be a world record condition type race,” explains Kastor who advises most participants add 5 to 7 percent to their goal finishing time. “That can be 30 to 60 seconds per mile. Back off on the pace and get to the finish line happy and healthy.”
- Hydrate. Kastor says, “Take fluids early and be sure you’re grabbing water and Gatorade.” Keep your race-day breakfast the same as what you’d practiced during training before long runs, but “maybe less coffee and more fluids.”
- Go easy at the expo. “When you go through the expo to pick up your packets, do one quick pass of all the booths and come back and get off your feet.” Rest is crucial the day before the race—and walking on concrete flooring for three hours should not be part of your plan.
- Relax in your room. In the 24-hour pre-race window, stay horizontal as much as possible or stick to light activities like stretching. “Watch a movie that you’ve always wanted to see but you haven’t had a chance to. Read a book or go on social media and pump out how awesome the ASICS LA Marathon is!”
- Stay positive—even at mile 20. Kastor has coached marathoners for decades, but he’s also run a few himself. “I know what it’s like to get to the 20 mile mark. It’s going to get tough,” he says. “Make sure you’re choosing positivity. Run the first 20 miles with your head and the last 6 miles with your hear, instinct and desire to get through.”
- Visualize success. When your entire body starts aching and legs are cramping up, remove yourself from the pain by thinking of the finish. “Imagine yourself putting your hands up in the air at the line,” says Kastor. If you dream it, your body will do it.
- Good luck!