Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Fun?

Living in the midwest, people constantly ask me, "How do you run in this HEAT?" or "How do you run in the cold like that?" The cold, to me, is actually a lot easier to deal with. It's very easy to add clothes, a balaclava, hat, Yak Trax, etc, but to take clothes away? Not so much.

When this is the weekly forecast, what do you do when you have a training schedule to try to work in (around kids, work, social things, etc) Run early? Run late? This morning it was 86 with a heat index of 94... If you've been running for a long time, I'm sure you already have some tricks & times of the day that work for you, but here are some things that work for me.

After I do my cool down, I always lay on the porch & elevate my legs. This is a trick my husband taught me (he coaches boys track & XC) & it helps to get the lactic acid moving. It doesn't help with the heat, but will you look at that nasty sweaty imprint?! Not surprisingly, my back sweat made the shape of a heart :)

Anyway, I never run in the middle of the day when the temps are this hot. It's just not smart. Forget about all those superhumans who run Badwater, they do all kinds of heat training & who knows what else to get ready for that. One thing we can learn from them is to wear white, technical clothing. It reflects the sun's rays & really does help. I always wear a white running hat & I swear it works. It also keeps the sweat from running in to my eyes since I have no dry fabric on my body to wipe them with. If I'm starting a run, & it's already 90 degrees, I will speed the process of my clothes getting wet from my sweat, thus cooling my body, & I will get my clothes, hair, & hat wet in tap water prior to running. Sometimes I drink ice cold water, or eat a popsicle, in attempts to bring my core temp down, at least 30 mins prior to running. I generally don't take water with me on training runs, I just got to places that have drinking fountains for long runs, & for runs shorter than 6 miles I don't drink any water, but when it's hot I always carry water. It's good to dump some under the hat too.

I read somewhere that one ounce of water takes 15 minutes for the body to absorb, so think about that & don't overdo it with the water. Avoid getting sloshed by taking some electrolyte tabs or salt with the water, or drinking a gaterade/water mix. I use Endurolyte caps from Hammer Nutrition since I tend to get a stomach ache if I drink gaterade/powerade type drinks.

Listen, I know that most all of us have body image issues (myself included) but I have finally gotten over that & have discovered the joy of shirtless running. Generally, I only run shirtless when I run alone, but this was a 92 degree day & we had a track workout. I needed all the help I could get. I would highly recommend it if you haven't tried it. I certainly don't look like the people in Runner's World, etc, & I don't care. You can all glare at my imperfect midsection, & I will no doubt benefit from the effects of nice cool air swirling around my body. Who. Cares.

When all else fails, we must resort to the treadmill. I know there are different schools of thought here, but I really feel like treadmill running is not realistic. I'm no expert, that's for sure, but that belt assists your leg during the pushoff phase of the gait cycle & there is nothing we can do about it. It feels better to me to have an incline, but my experience has been that it does not prepare my body for running on the roads/trails. Nothing can replace running on solid ground, for me. (If you are a treadmill runner, then, by all means, carry on!! Just my opinion).

With a heat index of 113 yesterday, I ran on the indoor track at my gym last night, & it wasn't half-bad, though I don't want to make a habit of it. While closer to the real thing, it offers nothing but a pancake-flat surface. I did some strengthening exercises afterwards to make up for the lack of terrain.

Run early, run late, split your long runs up into 2, managable runs so you don't get over-heated, cross-train indoors when you normally would have a shorter, easier run. Get 'er done & stay cool!

1 comment:

  1. Great sweatprint. You obviously <3 running :-)

    I know it's pretty hot there where you are...but could you send just a few warm degrees our way?! We're cloudy and 60ish right now