Welcome to our next instalment of the UGM Runners’ Blog – our series of blogs sharing advice to support our runners in their preparations for the 7-day adventure. Written by a former participant, he draws on his experiences from the event and shares tips on training, fundraising, travel and more.
Running in Uganda provides a number of challenges: the hilly terrain, the altitude, the uneven off-road dirt paths, and of course – the heat.
Now, the good news is, that running in Uganda might not be as hot as you think! We hold our event at the end of rainy season (where averages temperatures tend to be around 20 degrees centigrade).
But this heat will still be a factor to contend with when running, and that’s what this blog is all about – sharing advice on how to best handle the heat of Uganda, and also in your training, as temperatures tend to rise with the arrival of Spring.
Here are our four top tips to help you handle the heat in the coming weeks…
1. Dress for Success
If the sun is shining hard, it’s worth giving some thought to what you’ll be running in. Some ideas to consider are:
- Wear light coloured clothes to reflect the sun’s rays
- Wear a technical t-shirt as the material allows sweat to pass through it and then evaporate, which will help you feel cooler quicker
- Wear loose fitting clothes to help make the most of any breezes, including the one created by your own momentum
- Wear sunglasses or a visor to keep the sun out of your face, especially on those long runs. A hat can also be useful, just make sure it’s not so tight it stops your head from breathing and therefore heat escaping through your head.
Also, not so much a tip, but a must, especially on Race Day and long runs when you’re out in the sun for a significant amount of time – waterproof suncream.
When it’s hot, avoid running when the sun is at its strongest. This mainly means midday, but a good rule of thumb is to avoid 12:00-15:00.
In Uganda, the race will begin early when it’s nice and cool (7 am for full/half marathon and 8 am for the 10K), but when you’re planning your own long runs, it’s important to take this into account as well. After all, you’ll be in the sun for a long time.
Also, when actually running those longer runs in the sun, try your best to make the most of any available shade you spot, or run near water where possible, as it will be cooler.
When you’re up against the heat, it best at the start to take things down a notch and go out slower than you normally would. The harder you go, the more likely you’ll overheat too quickly and might not be able to finish your session as planned. You can also pick things up gradually if you feel good once you’re well into your run (which is good advice for Race Day too!).
Also, play it safe – if you begin to feel too hot or even ill, don’t push through. Bring your session to an early close – they’ll be another day!
This one is really important, as you’ll be sweating more and therefore you’ll need to replace those liquids. Here’s some general good advice:
- If your run is less than 45 minutes, you can just drink water. However, if it’s longer, you’ll need a sports drink to top up your electrolytes levels and refuel your muscles.
- Even if you don’t feel thirsty, try to drink 200-300ml of fluid each hour
- Prior to a run, I try to drink 500ml of water over the two hours before my session to ensure I’m nicely hydrated. Avoid caffeine as well, as this will dehydrate you
It’s really down to personal preference how you carry your liquids. You can simply carry it in your hand, put it in a bag or attach it to a belt. Some of our runners use a camelback on their long runs and on Race Day. Whichever method you’re thinking, the key is to practice it prior to flying out to Uganda to see if it’s for you.
Also, a top tip for Race Day: we’ll provide plenty of water at the 6 water stations around the course, but anything extra, including nibbles, snacks, rehydration salts, gels, and energy drinks, you’ll need to bring with you. Just make sure to try them out in your training first, to check they agree with you when you’re running!
Running in the warmer temperatures can actually be good preparation for running in Uganda. Just be sure to do it safely and sensibly – dress for the part, think about when you run and how fast you should go, don’t take any risks and keep those fluids topped up! Happy running in the sun! 🙂
If you have any questions or blog suggestions, feel free to email us at [email protected] We’ll be happy to help!
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