View Full Version : running and hypothermia -- suggestions to avoid

John B
03-22-2011, 16:00
According to the news, at last weekend's LA marathon hundred of runners were treated for hypothermia with a dozen or so hauled to the hospital for more intensive treatment. Not just those at the back of the pack with little experience, either -- last year's winner and former Louisville resident Wesley Korir, who placed 4th this year, was also treated for hypothermia.

They ran the race pretty much the entire way in the rain with temps in the low 50s.

This Saturday I'm running a 10-mile race. The weather forecast calls for hard rain and temps in the low- to mid-40s.

So what to wear/do? I have an ultra light Brooks jacket with extensive venting that's more of a windshirt than anything -- not really rain repellent, more resistent than the other. Wear it and suffer with total sweat? Screw it, stop sniveling and just gut it out?

Anyone ever do a distance run in typical hypothermia-inducing weather? Suggestions? :-?

I'm thinking the only real 'choice' is to gut it out, swill hot coffee after the race, and sit in the car with the heater on high the entire ride back. Yes?

03-22-2011, 16:13
I'd just run it. Less than 2 hours it'll be over before you know it.

03-22-2011, 16:23
On my second Boston qualifier in Huntsvillle, AL, the temp was 31 at the beginning of the race and 29 when I finished. With my pace and a mid-weight technical shirt, I never really got cold, except for my wimpy hands. I didn't have to contend with rain as you will. That changes everything. Probably a mid-weight shirt and a shell for the rain would be sufficient. Don't worry so much about the shell breathing. It ain't going to happen with the effort you'll be expending. The sweat should keep you warm in a technical shirt, hopefully not too warm. Be sure to wear a cap or head cover that you can play with during the race. Hopefully, there won't be any wind. That could add a whole new dimension. Good luck.

litefoot 2000

03-22-2011, 16:27
I forgot and I'm sure you know to have someone waiting at the end with dry clothes. Standing around in wet clothes is when you'll start to shiver.

03-22-2011, 16:31
space blanket. just ran the publix/georgia 1/2 this past weekend. i've never been so happy to have a blanket around me while sweating. moisture-wicking technical clothes are a great help as well. avoid the damp ground.

max patch
03-22-2011, 17:07
I'd just run it and deal with the rain for the hour and a half it would take me to finish.

If it was a marathon and it was a heavy rain with temps in the low 40s with a forecast that it would remain that way I'd bag the race. Race would cease to be fun before I finished.

03-22-2011, 17:32
I'd make sure I had gloves and a hat (Fleece or polypro) that i could take on or off as needed.
Have fun.
I love running in the rain. (not below 40 though)

windy city
03-22-2011, 18:47
I ran a half marathon Sunday in pouring rain low 40's. I wore a smartwool midweight shirt and Patagonia Nine Trails vest which is a wind shirt. I felt fine but ran directly to the car to change folowing the race.

Camping Dave
03-22-2011, 21:19
Anyone ever do a distance run in typical hypothermia-inducing weather? Suggestions? :-?

Why yes I have!:sun Half marathons in a cool drizzle, and some 15-20 milers with temps in the 20s and below.

I wear a dri-ducks rain jacket and, if it's cold enough, dri-ducks pants as well. It has to be really cold for that though. I wear underarmor tights below freezing. 40 degrees and rainy, I'd probably start with rain pants and ditch them after I warm up. Heck, they're only $10 a pair. Gloves are a must. A hat is a must too.

03-23-2011, 01:10
You don't get hypothermia while you are running (generating lots of heat). You get it after you stop. You get it because you are standing there soaking wet without proper clothing at the ready (pretty common scenerio in those big city marathons). Also, after running for several hours your body can sometimes develop some heat regulation problems. I've had shivering spells after many marathons and ultras that didn't go away until I consumed hot food & liquids.

It's generally less of a problem in ultras where drop boxes are available, the events are a lot smaller (often less than 100 runners), and experienced people in aid stations or at the finish are quick to help with problems. Being handed a space blanket at the end of a big city marathon and having to walk 2 miles to your car with marginal food/drink or help is quite different.

I developed hypothermia at an ultra while standing around at an aid station wondering if I should continue on (having a real bad day)... I was immediately put in an idling car with a heater blowing full blast, and a doctor checked me out within 10 mins. It was not even that cold; but it can hit you fast if you are soaking wet and your body (and mind) is drained.

Camping Dave
03-23-2011, 07:26
You don't get hypothermia while you are running.

Wrong. Of course you can get hypothermia while running.

So not only wrong, but dangerously wrong to anybody who chooses to believe it.

03-23-2011, 08:52
Be prepared. Wrap a nylon windbreaker around your waist. You can't expect every marathon to be perfect... and there was a pretty good indication that there would be rain. Maybe that is unusual for LA. Marathoning has become too popular and there are too many newbies with no clue of how to take care of themselves.
A couple of weeks ago, I ran in N Georgia at the GUTS Reactor run. I did the 53 mile run and it was poor conditions with rain, cold weather, and unbelieveable red slimey mud bogs over 1/3 the course. I had the nylon windbreaker on and off throughout the day to insure that I didn't get too cold or even too hot. Without the proper clothing, I would have had hypothermia.
As a side note, one of our WB posters, "Nature Boy" ran the 101 mile race and came in 3rd overall. He also tented the night before and after the run. He is a pretty extreme dude and is going to try a 60 day unsupported AT thru hike next month (there is a seperate post on that subject).

03-26-2011, 09:27
Just ran a marathon at the end of February in Massachusetts. It was cold and rainy the entire time. I wore tights and shorts on the bottom and 3 layers on top. The outside layer was my light weight rain jacket - similar to a marmot precip, but made by LL bean.

I'm not running to win - so I don't mind the extra weight or jacket. I was comfortable, but as soon as it was over I went to the car and changed into lots of warm dry clothes

By the way I'm not 13 - I signed up with a new account a couple of weeks ago because my other one got messed up - forgot my password and email address wasn't right. When I signed up I typed in my year of thru-hike into the birth year column:cool:

I'm really 38:banana

03-26-2011, 09:35
Instead of a windbreaker, bring along a large plastic garbage bag. Cut or rip a head hole and use that for rain and wind protection for before and after the race or if things get really nasty during. It's easy enough to tuck or tie somewhere or just throw away.

03-26-2011, 11:35
You runners are as bad as Katz, dumping pants, and garbage bags along the route.

03-26-2011, 11:55
You runners are as bad as Katz, dumping pants, and garbage bags along the route.

Maybe they should just wear cotton. And I have heard recently that hypothermia isn't a big deal anyway.

03-26-2011, 11:59
Wrong. Of course you can get hypothermia while running.

So not only wrong, but dangerously wrong to anybody who chooses to believe it.

I understand your frustration with those that post dangerous advice.

max patch
03-26-2011, 12:02
You runners are as bad as Katz, dumping pants, and garbage bags along the route.

I usually run a race on Thanksgiving morning. It is usually cold; the race organizers encourage runners to wear sweatshirts to stay warm while waiting for the race to stay warm and then to discard them (throw them on the sidewalk) within the first mile after the race starts. Volunteers then collect the clothes for the homeless.

03-26-2011, 12:33
I've used this to run ~2 hrs down to ~34-35 in the rain. I drop the Driducks for dry runs. I add the MB wind jacket & tights for wind down to low teens.

Smart wool t base - http://www.zappos.com/multiview/7701126/3

Half zip long sleeve technical running shirt - http://store.nike.com/us/en_us/#l=shop,pdp,ctr-inline/cid-1/pid-362018/pgid-362014

Driducks jacket - http://www.froggtoggsraingear.com/DriDucks.shtm

Outdoor Research Omni gloves - http://www.outdoorresearch.com/site/omni_gloves.html

Light wool stocking cap - http://www.arcteryx.com/Product.aspx?EN/Mens/Bird-Head

Long tights - http://store.nike.com/us/en_us/?cp=usns_CSE_081109_Froogle&l=shop,pdp,ctr-inline/cid-102201/pid-315542/pgid-315542&CAWELAID=505869577

Mont Bell UL wind jacket - http://www.montbell.us/products/disp.php?cat_id=61&p_id=2303179

Keep fueled up with goo or performance bars

What everyone else said about getting out of the cold wet clothes after the race

03-26-2011, 14:24
You runners are as bad as Katz, dumping pants, and garbage bags along the route.

Except at a race they have a crew that comes along and picks up the stuff and usually donates discarded clothing to charity.