Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"It's too hot to run"

This has been my excuse for the past several days.. and for good reason too.. it's been in the 90s for about a week now. And not a nice dry heat, but a stuffy, humid heat. Its flat out HOT.

I wanted to get up this morning and try to run at 6am since it was definitely cooler (try 76) but my body told me I needed to stay in bed and sleep an extra hour. So needless to say I haven't ran since last thursday. This is not good for my training schedule. I have to figure out a way to run in the heat so I can stay on track.

I looked up some advice this morning on this topic and thought i'd share it with you.

Tips for Running in the Heat (sources mainly active.com, I have combined similar topics)

Switch gears and adapt. It takes about two weeks for your body to adapt to the heat and cool itself more efficiently. Slow your pace and reduce your intensity and get the run in rather than pushing through it. Doing so will allow you to more efficiently acclimate and continue to run. Your body will gradually become better at cooling itself in the warmer weather allowing you to continue to run at your normal pace.

Work with the heat. Run by your effort level rather than your typical pace until you acclimate. If you are new to running, add power walk breaks every 4 to 8 minutes to cool yourself during your runs. It is all about managing your body core temperature and not allowing it to rise too much, risking overheating and really slowing down. Like a car, if the temperature rises too high you will overheat. Ease into the heat. Do a slow, two- to three-mile walk or very easy run at the hottest part of the day two times per week for three or four weeks to acclimate to the heat. "It makes the morning run feel cool," says Brookner.

Accessorize & Screen it out. Wear light colored, loose fitting wicking running gear. Technical apparel will allow moisture to pass through them to be evaporated, keeping your cooler. Wear sunglasses that filter UVA and UVB rays, waterproof sunscreen, and a hat or visor to protect your skin and eyes from the sun (Cover it with a loose-fitting hat, preferably made of mesh or some other breathable material.) To protect yourself from skin cancer and other skin damage, use sunscreen liberally. Do so even on partly cloudy days; harmful ultraviolet rays are not blocked by cloud cover. Another benefit: Sunscreen can decrease your skin and body temperatures, so you'll stay cooler during exercise.

Timing is everything. Run at cooler times of the day in the morning or in the evening. If you run in the morning, you'll avoid the heat, but may encounter a higher humidity. The air quality is also better in the morning, since ozone levels increase soon after dawn, peak at midday, and then again in the early evening. Times to avoid running are noon till 3pm.

Train at 5 a.m.
It's the coolest, most serene part of the day, and there's nothing like a morning run to boost your mood all day long.

Extreme measures. If there is a heat alert or poor air quality day, take your workout indoors. You won't get any super-human reward for pushing in dangerous heat and it most likely will take your body longer to recover from the workout. Train smart.

Heed the Heat Warnings. You need to be very sensitive to the warning signs of heat illness, which, if it progresses, can be fatal. If you feel trouble coming on, you need to stop running, find some shade, get liquids and then find a ride or walk home. Following are signs of impending heat illness:

• Headache or intense heat buildup in the head.
• Confusion or lack of concentration.
• Loss of muscular control.
• Oversweating followed by clammy skin and cessation of sweating.
• Hot and cold flashes.
• Upset stomach, muscle cramps, vomiting, dizziness.

Hydrate during your workouts. For workouts shorter than 45 minutes, water works just fine. For longer runs, research suggests consuming about a cup of sports drink every 15 to 20 minutes to fuel your muscles and aid in maintaining electrolyte levels. Have a hydration plan before you start. Know where your water stops are, either by plotting your runs in areas that have water fountains or by stashing bottles at strategic points along your route ahead of time. Also get in touch with local running clubs and training groups to find out where they might put out jugs, so you can share. Don't just drink the water. A combo run-and-swim workout is perfect on really hot days. One of Brookner's favorites is a three-mile run from the Cocoplum traffic circle to Matheson-Hammock Park in Coral Gables, Florida. There, he and his buddies dive into the cool, clear waters of the nearby lagoon, swim for 15 to 30 minutes, get out, and run back. You can re-create this duathlon anywhere there's a body of water, or even a local pool.

Drink Like Crazy. Even if you don't feel thirsty, drink at least 8 oz. of fluid each hour, and more if you're outside or tend to perspire a lot. You'll run better with adequate fluid intake, and you'll feel better, too. By keeping your water storage high, you'll also improve your body's cooling mechanisms.

Cross-train indoors. Build your cardio base while taking a break from the heat and humidity by swapping an outdoor bike ride for an inside spin class.

Head for Water. Running near water—whether it's along a river, lake or ocean—is usually cooler and breezier. Urban streams often have paths running alongside of them, if you take the time to explore. And even if the air temperature is about the same, you'll likely feel cooler just being near water.

Plan to race in cool temperatures. For Brookner, registering for a fall marathon "up north," such as Marine Corps or New York, basically guarantees relief from the heat. And the cooler race temperature is like a key unlocking the sultry shackles that have bound his feet throughout the summer. "When I show up in New York for the marathon in November and it's in the 70s, the New Yorkers are all like 'ugh,' and I'm saying, 'Bring it on!'"

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know you were a runner! I've been struggling with my running too in the heat. I have had two terrible half marathons, the first weekends of May and June because of the heat, and just haven't been able to get back to my training since then. Good luck!