Friday, March 31, 2017

Heat Training

Leading up to my half marathon in San Antonio, TX, the Alamo 13.1 I spent a lot of time keeping tabs on the forecast. This is not atypical of my race day countdown, but in signing up for the race, I strongly suspected that race day would be much warmer than what I had been training in. But I wasn't race-racing it, so it wasn't *too* big of a deal.

A couple of years ago, I vowed to no longer run spring marathons. Our winters are so cold and so brutal, that the bulk of our training is done in below freezing temps. Outside of a random week and a half of beautiful temperatures mid-February, I can say that almost all of my runs have been in negative temps to 20 degrees.

I know my body fairly well and have a pretty good understanding of how my body performs best, and what conditions cause me to struggle. I am NOT a warm weather runner. My heart rate shoots through the roof, I sweat uncontrollably (causing the aforementioned heart rate to sky rocket as it works over time to cool me from the soul crushing temps). I sweat so much that I have to be mindful of taking salt replacement pills so that I don't get sick and queasy when attempting to replace the fluids lost. A warm/hot long run will typically cause me to lose around 4 pounds, and that's with drinking a ton of fluids throughout the run.

So back to the marathon. I know that it takes me a couple of months to acclimate to warm weather, so it doesn't make any sense to train from January to May for a race that will always be warmer than the temps I have trained in. Even if the day is cool at 50 or 55 degrees, it's still twice as warm as what my body is used to doing. Barf.

On the flipside, our summers can be brutal here! (Sidenote: Why again do I live here??) They're nothing like you folks in the south, but it's not atypical for us to have 100% humidity almost the entire summer, and certainly in the morning when you're apt to get out and get in your runs and long runs. In the past, I've looked at the forecast, and pin-pointed the "nicest" pocket of weather for the weekend to get my long run in. I don't want to be miserable, so why make a long run more miserable, right?

All of this summer and warm training is great preparation for a fall marathon, because it's almost guaranteed that you'll get a cooler day on race day in the fall than the culmination of your summer training (save for that one brutal Chicago Marathon, 2011? barf...). Which is why you'll only find me sweating through 16-20 mile long runs in the summer for a fall 26.2.

Last summer, something switched in me. I think part of it was my mom's declining health and needing a physical outlet. We had a couple of weeks of brutal heat and humidity, crazy heat indexes and warnings not to be outside. You should've seen me be crazy pug mom making sure Ollie didn't suffocate during her potty breaks! (Flat-faced pups are prone to overheat or suffocate in super hot and humid temps!)

It was too hot to exist, let alone exist outdoors. But when it was too hot to run outside, I would download a couple of good podcasts, grab a water bottle, and go on a massive walk around town. By massive I mean 5.5 miles, because that's essentially the perimeter of my town. Ha. Once the major heat wave passed, I found that I was better able to run in the heat.

So that's the plan over here once it starts to warm up again. I'll continue to do my speedwork during a comfortable time of day, and probably most of my long runs too, but trying to make a point to runner some of the other more general aerobic or recovery runs in the heat of the day might give a nice advantage on race day, or at the very least, not make me wilt and die if my fall goal races happen to have a heat wave come through!

No comments: