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Handling changing New England weather

By John Powers
Globe Staff / April 15, 2011

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How do you dress for an event where the weather can range from snow squalls to driving rain to searing heat? “We recommend that people bring a variety of outer garments with them,’’ advises Michael Pieroni, who coaches the BAA Running Club. “You don’t know what to expect on any given Monday around here. You’d rather be overdressed and peel layers off.’’

A disposable T-shirt can be worn over your racing gear and discarded as the temperature rises. If you bring more cold-weather clothes than you need, you can stash them on the baggage bus at the Hopkinton start. On a cold day, keeping extremities warm is a must. “Wear a woolen cap and gloves or mittens,’’ says Bill Rodgers, whose trademark was a pair of white painter’s gloves on brisk days.

If the morning comes up warm, go minimal. “Light clothes, a hat, and sunblock is the order of the day,’’ says Pieroni. A mesh singlet is the best idea. “You don’t want to wear the race T-shirt made of cotton,’’ says Rodgers. “You need to perspire to cool your body down.’’

Watch for signs of heat stroke, including weakness, lightheadedness, confusion, blurred vision, shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting. Staying hydrated is a must. “The professional runners have their own bottles,’’ says Rodgers. “If you don’t get your drinks, you can struggle.’’

The BAA provides ample fluids along the course. But if the weather is hot and humid, discretion is paramount. “If you have any medical concerns, consider not running the race or running it at a slower pace,’’ advises Dr. Pierre d’Hemecourt, the race’s co-medical director. “Running a pace that’s appropriate to the weather and your physical condition is extremely important.’’

JOHN POWERS MONDAY’S FORECAST: Partly sunny, windy, high of 56 degrees, according to accuweather.com.

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