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1 year ago
How to Run in Sweltering Weather, According to Olympic Marathoner Shalane Flanagan

On Sunday, Team USA logged another performance for the record books during the women's marathon event, run in 70-degree temps. For the first time ever, three Americans placed in the top 10; they were lead by Shalane Flanagan, who finished the sweaty 26.2 miles in a blistering 2:25:26. Here, she shares what she’s learned about racing in the heat and humidity. (Score more tips—plus, healthy recipes—in Shalane's new book for Rodale, Run Fast, Eat Slow.)

After this year’s U.S. Olympic Trials, what specifically did you do to address the heat and hydration issues you experienced during the race? 
Shalane Flanagan (SF): I suffered from heat exhaustion so I had to be hooked up to an IV immediately after the race. It was the hardest race of my life and it took everything out of me to get to that finish line. It was a blessing in disguise because afterwards I made a trip to the Olympic Training Center to have my sweat levels tested and learned a lot about how much I sweat and how much fluids I need to be taking in. Looking back, I realize how dehydrated I’ve been in most of my marathon races. (Want to get in shape, fast? Check out Women's Health's Ignite routine created by Next Fitness Star Nikki Metzger.)

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Do you adjust your nutrition for hot summer runs? 
SF: Yes, especially because I’m a sweater! Proper pre-run hydration is essential. [Co-author and nutritionist Elyse Kopecky] got me hooked on drinking sparkling mineral water mixed with coconut water and fresh-squeezed lemon juice both before and after my runs and smoothies made with coconut water.

shalane flanagan book cover
Photograph courtesy of Shalane Flanagan

What’s your favorite recovery snack after a long run?
SF: A smoothie made with beets, berries, frozen banana, ginger, coconut water, whole milk yogurt, and almond butter. I’m hooked on it. It’s hydrating and packed with nourishment for recovery. 

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What do you think is the biggest mistake runners make when it comes to their nutrition and hydration? 
SF: Counting calories and obsessing over the latest diet trend instead of enjoying food and being in tune with hunger and craving signals. This applies to athletes of all levels, not just runners.

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