Boston Heat Didn’t Steal Dreyer’s Chi

By:  Michelle Pafford Helms

Soaring temperatures in the high 80s  surrounded much of this year’s Boston Marathon, giving 427 runners who did not race the option to defer to the 2013 race, as reported in Runner’s World Magazine, and contributing to hundreds who dropped out along the way. Of the 22,426 participants who reportedly began at Hopkinton, 21,554 finished the race according the Boston Athletic Association’s (BAA) website.  

For runner number 15654, Danny Dreyer, this year’s 116th Boston Marathon was something he felt well prepared to run, thanks to the technique-based and race-specific training he underwent leading up to the event. So after learning about the anticipated heat, the co-founder and president of Chi Running said once again, he understood that being prepared would be paramount.

“I knew it was important to have a plan for fueling and cooling myself, because I have so much experience with ultra marathoning and running at very hot temperatures at much longer distances,” Dreyer said.

Dreyer’s fueling plan involved taking an electrolyte capsule every 25 minutes to prevent cramping; he also wore a water belt just to be certain that he would have enough to drink. His cooling plan involved the use of a white hat (to cover his black hair) that he used to his advantage.

“Along the course, I’d fill my hat with a handful of ice. That kept my brain temperature cool – which nobody thinks about. . . If you have ice in there, it really works and it keeps your brain temperature cool, and you make better decisions,” Dreyer said. When it comes to making clear choices, Dreyer said it is a “big thing” for a runner to remember not to do anything dangerous to keep their time.

“It is not a healthy condition to think that you could run as fast at 87 degrees as you do at 60 degrees,” Dreyer said. “It is really not in the same ballpark.”

In his work, Dreyer teaches the importance of a mind and body connection and encourages runners to intuitively listen to their bodies and make adjustments when necessary. However, Dreyer believes that runners often choose the mind over the body—which can have dangerous repercussions—as he witnessed last spring in Boston.

“A lot of people are going to run it anyway—or they are going to give it their best shot,” Dreyer said. “I saw people down on the pavement. I saw ambulances hauling people away.”

Dreyer applauded the BAA’s decision to allow runners to opt out for 2012 due to the weather and run the race in 2013 for being “completely smart.” Yet, he said most people didn’t take advantage of it because of reasons such as work schedules, travel arrangements, and training time invested.

When he crossed the Boston finish line this year, Dreyer said he “felt great”—but that the heat did take a toll on his feet. He said that running on hot pavement caused blisters that slowed him down in the second half of the race.

To help athletes address the weather, Dreyer was quick to point out that the race organizers did an exceptional job of placing aide stations at every mile—which was an improvement from when he ran it back in 2004—another extremely hot year—when aide stations were traditionally only set up every two miles. He also said that the number of race volunteers and local residents that supported the 2012 race was extraordinary.

“There was so much ice along the road. People were giving away popsicles. Little kids were standing there with buckets of oranges. People were handing out water. Everyone had their hoses on and they were spraying the people. It was a cool site to see,” Dreyer said. “They literally saved the marathon for a lot of people.”
Photo courtesy of ChiLiving, Inc.

To read more about this year’s Boston Marathon and finishers, click here.

One Response to “Boston Heat Didn’t Steal Dreyer’s Chi”
  1. Ice was the crucial factor for me – in my hat and stuffed down my jog bra! Good job to all of us out there on that brutal day!

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