Perspiration is the best preparation for hot-weather races


October 09, 1990|By Dr. Gabe Mirkin

Training for running events that take place in the heat should begin months earlier when the weather is cool. But how can you condition your body for hot weather when you must train in cold weather?

In July 1967, some of the top distance runners in the United States competed in a national championship to select athletes for the Pan American Games. The race began at noon. During the race, the temperature soared above 101 degrees. Of the 125 elite, well-conditioned runners starting the race, 87 dropped out. The winner was Ron Daws, from Minnesota. He was not expected to finish in the top 15, but Mr. Daws knew what he was doing.

Three years earlier, the tryout for the U.S. Olympic marathon team was held in Yonkers, N.Y., under similar hot weather conditions. Mr. Daws collapsed during that race and had to be hospitalized.

The winner was Buddy Edelin, who outpaced the other runners by 20 minutes, the widest margin ever in a major marathon. How could he have done so well in 100-degree weather when he lived and trained in England, where the weather is cold much of the time? Mr. Edelin trained while wearing as many as five layers of sweat suits, which caused him to sweat heavily. Heavy sweating prepared him for hot-weather competition even though he was training in a cool climate.

Mr. Daws decided to adopt Mr. Edelin's training technique by wearing many sweat suits during practice. He started the race slowly and drank water at the starting line and as often as it was offered along the course. He also protected his head from the sun by wearing a hat.

When Mr. Daws saw the race favorite, Tom Laris, arrive on race day with a dark tan, he knew that Mr. Laris' tan meant that he had been training in only his shorts and shoes. Mr. Daws knew he was better prepared, and he was right. He won the race!

*** Q**Does eating sugar make the body age faster?

A**No. Recent research indicates eating sugar does not cause aging, but having high blood sugar levels does.

If you sprinkle sugar on a steak before cooking it, the steak fibers will lose their elasticity and they will be too tough to enjoy. High blood levels of sugar do the same thing to proteins in your body. The sugar you eat ends up in your body as the single sugar glucose, whether that sugar comes from an apple, a candy bar or a slice of bread.

Sugar in your bloodstream is not harmful unless your blood-sugar level rises too high. To keep your level from going too high, your pancreas releases insulin into your bloodstream, causing your blood-sugar level to drop.

People who have diabetes are not completely protected by their insulin production, and their blood-sugar levels can rise too high. A high blood-sugar level causes glucose to attach to cells. The glucose, when attached to cells, is not harmful itself, but it is converted eventually to another chemical, called sorbitol, that is highly destructive to the protein in your cells. Scientists are now working with chemicals, called aminoguanine and sorbonyl, to prevent sugar from being converted to its more toxic products.Dr. Mirkin is a practicing physician in Silver Spring specializing in sports medicine and nutrition.

* United Features Syndicate

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.