A U.S. champion’s tips on how to beat the heat: Nicole Bush did it four years ago today

By Nicole Bush

June 22, 2017

Editor’s Note: Nicole isn’t one to brag about some of her career accomplishments but on this day in 2013, she ran a pretty bad-ass race and won the 3,000 meter steeplechase in very hot conditions in Des Moines, Iowa. If you take a couple minutes to re-watch the race on RunnerSpace, you’ll hear a lot of the same jokes that have been cracked all week on Twitter. Especially the one about taking a dip in the water to cool off. Nicole took the victory wire-to-wire and so we asked her to maybe share a couple tips on approaching and handling the heat as a competitor and spectator.

You can pretend it’s not that hot. You can worry about it. You can let it consume you or you can accept it, act accordingly and think it’s kind of funny.

However you choose to cope with the heat in Sacramento it’s going to be so hot you’ll sweat on the inside. (Shh.. you’re too hot to decide if that makes sense. It does. Drink some more water.)

But please: accept it, act accordingly and realize it’s kind of funny.

Accept it

It’s hot. And it’s going to be hot–as a baseline. This means it’s going to be hard to see, breathe and feel like a normal human being. It’s going to be annoying. Accept it (lol).

Act accordingly

Go to the track with a plan. Whether you’re racing or spectating, know how long you’re going to be there and what you need to bring.

Consider bringing: Sunglasses, hats, visors, umbrellas (cover yo skin!)–don’t get tired and annoyed squinting at everything and getting sun poisoning.

Sunscreen (apply a lot and often, even if you think it’s lame).

Water, something with electrolytes in a separate bottle, snacks, and cash for food.

Ice in a small cooler or lunch box or thermos for small reprieves when you want to shove ice in your shirt, hat, bra, pants, etc.

An extra t-shirt or “borrowed” hand towel from the hotel to get wet and put on your head and neck to shield yourself (it’ll dry in 30 seconds but it’ll be nice while it lasts) and make your own shade.

And realize it’s kind of funny

Because it is.

The U.S. Championship is a very important meet. People are trying to make world championship teams and people paid good money to come and watch those people trying to make the national team. There’s a lot of emphasis on this meet. People and their support teams have worked very hard to get here and set themselves up for success, to create their own opportunities and to accomplish big goals. All of that very legit and inspiring stuff.

And it’s going to be 100 degrees in full sun.

That’s hilarious! <insert hilarious emoji string and end it with three fire emoji>

People are going to be freaking out on their shakeouts and warm ups. While doing strides before getting on the starting line. On the starting line. Even during the race once it gets hard because their inner monologue will go something like, “It’s hot. I’m tired. It’s so hot, I’m so tired. I feel so hot, I feel so tired. I’m just gunna…I’m sleepy/this is hard,” and etc.

The heat’s going to punch everyone in the face. But the people it’s going to go well for are the people who keep swinging back when it gets hard. So be that you.

Have a plan for the track.

Keep your core temp low whenever you have the opportunity (whether it be with a fancy ice vest or the blue collar towel with ice water on your neck, head and wrists).

Find shade. Wear hats. Electrolytes. Snacks.

Have a race plan and an assertive, determined attitude to execute it.

And yeah, it’s really hot.

And that’s kind of funny.