How to prepare for the Chevron Houston Marathon's cold weather

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Sunday is the Chevron Houston Marathon and whether you're participating or just going out to support, here are a few tips to prepare for the chilly weather:

Dress warm...but not too warm.
When you exercise it generates body heat, which will naturally warm you. Dress in layers so if you get too hot you can remove them as needed. The first layer should be a synthetic material that draws sweat away from the body.

Safety and the sun.
Just because it's cold doesn't mean you can't get sunburned. Use a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. A lip balm can also be helpful.

If running at night or early morning when it's dark, make sure to wear reflective clothing. Shoes need to have plenty of traction in case the paths get slippery in the cold.

Stay hydrated!
According to Chris Doyle, a dietetic intern with Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute, it's actually easier to get dehydrated when exercising in the cold.
  1. Don't let yourself become thirsty. Sweating often triggers the mechanism in your body to signal thirst. However, in the winter you sweat less due to lower temperatures. If you do feel thirsty, chances are you're already dehydrated. Make it a point to drink before you are thirsty.
  2. Eat fruits and vegetables. The high water content in these foods helps add to your fluid intake. For example, watermelon and strawberries are about 92 percent water; cucumbers and lettuce are 96 percent water.
  3. Consume soup and other salty foods. Not only does soup help to keep you warm, but the sodium content helps your body retain water and prevent dehydration. This technique is best used after exercising.
  4. Drink hot chocolate. When made with milk, hot chocolate is an ideal post-workout drink due to the protein-to-carbohydrate ratio in milk with the added benefit of warmth. The idea of sipping on a hot beverage is often more enticing when it's cold.
  5. Limit alcohol. Consuming alcoholic beverages suppresses the anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), reducing the kidney's ability to reabsorb water resulting in more urine production.
  6. Carry a water bottle with you. When you have a bottle of water with you all the time, taking sips will become habitual and your fluid consumption will increase. Just remember, your body is better at absorbing small quantities of water, so it's better to sip on fluids throughout the day than to chug a lot of water at one time.

For more training tips, visit IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute.

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