Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It's Gettin' Hot......

......out there!!!

Weather in Missouri often takes crazy, dramatic swings. We can have thunderstorms one day and snowstorms the next. I'm not even kidding. This week is no exception when it comes to the temperatures. The high temps are projected to rise nearly 20 degrees. So, yes, that would be temperatures approaching 100. So. Much. Ew. This time of year reminds me of what a sissy I am when it comes to the summer weather and how the high heat basically turns me into a little bitch on my runs. There are some things you can  do to better protect yourself while exercising in the fires of Hell.

First thing's first. No one, not a single soul is immune to high temperatures. You can love the heat and humidity all you want, but it's still going to be a run killer and mood zapper. I'm just being honest. The higher temps mean an elevated heart rate when exercising and an elevated body temperature. Sounds like a recipe for heatstroke. I'm really selling this running in the heat business, aren't I? Sure, you could play it safe and do all your summer runs on the treadmill. What's the fun in that?? I think it's important to do some runs in the heat to prepare yourself for races. You never know what elements you are going to face on any given race day. I have the same mindset about heat as I do about hills. Yes. They suck, but I need to embrace the suck. Learn how to adapt and conquer that shit. Run smart, and you'll come out just fine. Well, you'll be a sweaty mess, but we secretly love that, don't we?

Take your time.
Your body can take up to two weeks to adapt to the warmer temperatures, so slow down. Don't worry about your pace. Focus on effort. Believe me. That little three miler is a whole lot different at 70 degrees than at 90. This includes reducing your mileage and even taking breaks if necessary. Exercise is important but so is living.

Avoid the times the sun is at it's highest point.
10-3, good buddy. If you can, try to squeeze your runs in the morning or evening. If this is just not possible, then run for cover. Try to run in spots that have more shade. Trails are great because your off the pavement which absorbs the heat also.

Proper equipment.
Wear light, loose fitting clothing. Now probably isn't the time to be wearing your long sleeves and capris. I'm the hot, sweaty runner wearing shorts when it's 40 degrees and tank tops when it's 55 degrees. Sunglasses, hat or visor are good options for protecting your eyes. I personally love, love, love my visor because it also keeps the sweat out of my eyes. Don't forget to protect your skin!! Get a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB. One that's resistant to sweat is probably a good idea also. Keep in mind that any prolonged sweating will require you to reapply sunscreen. I really love the line of lotions from Mission Athletecare. They are super light, go on very smooth and most importantly, do not have a scent.

Stay hydrated.
Seems obvious, right? It's important to hydrate before, during and after your run.. Yes. Before. Drink that water like your life depends on it. I try to avoid sodas and caffeine also. You're getting ready to head out on a little three miler. You don't need any water. Sheesh. You ran a half marathon on two sips of water. You'll be fine. WRONG. Take the water. It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. I like to freeze a bottle of water and carry that with me on my run. It melts very quickly and it's nice to have the cold water to sip. Warm water doesn't quench my thirst. I end up drinking too much. If you are going to be doing continuous activity for 45 minutes or more, it may be a good idea to add in some sodium/electrolyte supplements. I typically like Gatorade, and I usually dilute it quite a bit. I find it very sweet causing me to be thirsty. In turn, I take in more water than I actually need and end up feeling sick.

Running in the heat can be a foreboding task. As long as you know what to expect and prepare yourself for what's ahead, you'll be just fine. Sweaty, but fine.

What are some tips you have for keeping cool?

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