With The Boogie 50 just around the corner, and the heat now returning to North Carolina, it is time to acclimate to the temperatures that have been known to beat the best at the Boogie. In fact yours truly totally bolloxed the Boogie 12 months ago.
Here's how I train for the heat… do I really need to do a disclaimer here? OK then…. Blah blah blah, risk of death….. blah blah risk of pain….. blah blah blah… I don't know what I am doing or saying…. Blah blah blah, seek medical advice… blah blah… blah YMMV DYOFR, and above all, just remember DBFS.
Right, now we have that out of the way. Here are my thoughts:
- I don't "beat the heat" – I "meet the heat" (If you want to "heat the meat", I say, "yes please, medium rare"). I know many people who train through the summer for a fall marathon, by running early in the morning, then of course wonder why there marathon attempt falls apart 20 miles in and they are totally dehydrated and suffering early signs of heat exhaustion. So yeah – I run in the afternoons. I avoid the shade. A treadmill run in an air conditioned gym doesn't get me acclimated.
- I don't run for pace. I run by perceived effort. As the weather heats up, my pace will suffer, I am not surprised to see my pace 1, 2 or even 3 minutes per mile slower than I can normally do in cooler weather. It doesn't matter. As I acclimate, my pace will pick back up. I normally notice that this is true if we get a cool spell, or once we get into the fall temperatures, I suddenly find myself going much much quicker. Forget tempo runs, and running "x miles at goal race pace" – I think in terms of "y minutes at easy/medium/hard/maximum effort". I genuinely believe that running in the heat has a notable effect on endurance
- Electrolytes are important – I read about them, experiment, study different products, and come up with something that works for me. I don't assume that because I was doing x, y, and z at the end of last summer, that I will need to do the same again this year.
- If I start getting dehydrated, or feeling the early signs of heat exhaustion, it is time to stop. (This is what happened at Enoree)
- This one makes people go "LOL WTF?!!" I have a 30 minute commute home – I drive home with no a/c, in fact I turn the heat on full blast. Last year the hottest I got my Explorer too was 130oF, best so far this year is 120oF. There is no better way to make 95oF feel cool. I only do this for a couple of weeks – I am not sure there is much benefit after that, because this combined with the "meet the heat" runs gets me acclimated pretty quickly.
- I experiment with different ways to cool off during a run. I have yet to find anything better than ice. Drink some ice cold water/sportsdrink, it seems to cool the core quite quickly, ice around the neck helps too, ice under the hat, ice water poured over my head are all pretty effective ways of pulling down the body temperature. This year I will wait until I feel acclimatized before I experiment with this.