You may think that by running at night, it is much cooler and because of that, you won't heat up and get dehydrated as fast as you think you would. However, that is not the case
In Singapore's horrid humidity, you wouldn't know you are dehydrated until the effects hit you like a truck. By then, it would already be too late.
During the night, the humidity is higher. Have you ever exited a swimming pool and felt cool? This is because evaporation is rapidly taking place and as the faster-moving molecules escape, the remaining molecules have lower average kinetic energy, and the temperature of the liquid decreases. In the night, this process is slowed down rapidly which causes your perspiration to evaporate slowly because water vapour stays closer to the ground with absence of heat from the sun.
Sure, you'd be drench in your perspiration and tasting it - having the feeling that you are hydrated - but don't fool yourself. Have a sip of water and/or isotonic drink even if you don't feel like it. Stick to your normal hydration and fueling routines like what you have practiced in training. You'll thank yourself for doing so late in the race.
Many of us are okay and are used to having little to no food when we race in the mornings. Racing at night on the contrary presents an exceptional challenge of knowing what to and not to eat before your race. Fueling your body throughout the day is important because you cannot just reply on a banana or gel as your pre-race meal. You don't go to work having just an energy gel for the whole day right? Same concept here.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day; especially race day! Have a hearty but balanced breakfast with sufficient carbohydrates and proteins - which would serve as fuel later on. Starting your breakfast late, around 10AM, would be perfect as you'd feel full longer with ample time to digest.
Lunch would be your next crucial meal. It should be consumed 4 to 6 hours before your race to ensure you have enough time for full digestion to occur. Skip your favourite Laksa and anything else that doesn't sit well in your stomach -save them for the post-race celebrations.
Dinner takes place 2 hours to 90 minutes before your race. These meals should typically shadow your pre-race meals for morning races. You should already know what worked well for you in the latter; so apply them to your night race!
Running in the night is difficult because it makes it harder to see your surroundings - until you are very close. It wreaks havoc on your visual perception and you'll feel like you are running faster than you usually are.
As Singaporeans and a majority of runners in the world, we struggle with the problem of starting a race really fast - not only because we kiasu, but also the race adrenaline and excitement running in our veins. It is amplified further when your perception of pace is affected - which would have repercussions late into the race.
When do you not control your pace, you may feel like you are increasing your effort even though you are slowing down. It is important to run by feel the first few kilometers to warm up you 'engine', and then ease into race pace.
Enjoy your race!
These tips are just general tips on what you can do on race day. There is still 2 weeks to the Sundown Marathon, so you still have time to find out what works by experimenting in training. Come race day, get ready to CONQUER THE NIGHT!
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