Sunday, July 14, 2013

037 : Marathon Training : Week 78

Marathon training posts on the other blog and on this blog...

The heat of summer has finally reached NEOhio, and it's not nearly as hot as elsewhere in the world, but it still affects running, so I just wanted to take the time to write some tips for running in the heat. I've decided to write some running advice, because I have tumblr followers who have asked me questions about running. This blog is not a fitness blog and my decision to run a marathon is not about fitness or weight loss...HOWEVER, there isn't always a lot of easily accessible information for newbie runners, and I've got a platform here, so I'm going to use it.

Running in the heat:

1. By now, everyone in the world should know about dehydration...humans need water, SO DRINK IT! However, a lesser known problem is hyponatremia, which is drinking too much water. When you exercise, especially running and distance running, your body loses water with sweat and also looses salt. Salt is important for your body to function and needs to be replaced when used up. With newer runners entering more marathons, being slower, and less experienced; a growing problem is not dehydration but drinking too much water. When you have too much water in your body, it displaces the sodium your body uses and can have serious complications, including death.

It's important to drink water on your off days, so your body best knows how to use it effectively. But it's also important to regulate your water drinking. I started in the spring, when the temperature rose about 50 degrees F. I started pacing myself and my water drinking so that I'd be drinking effectively and not over drinking. You should be wary of over drinking and know the symptoms of hyponatremia. Be aware of your body and what it's doing.

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2. Humans should maintain a core body temperature of about 98.6 degrees F in order to function properly. It's fairly easy in the summer to overheat, and it's important to cool properly. There are a lot of ways to help your body remain cool. You can run earlier in the morning or later in the evening...basically, when the sun is not out. For humid places, like Florida, the humidity tends to be highest in the morning, and running in shade during the day might be the best way to remain cool and avoid the humidity. For dry places, like California, the heat is most intense during the day and running when the sun is down is a great option. You should familiarize yourself with the relative humidity of your region, try shorter runs at different times...like before sunrise, after sunset, or various sunlight times when the temp is low or you have adequate shade. I can't know every region, but you can find all sorts of weather information with a quick google search.

Another option is to use water to cool off...I sometimes bring an extra water bottle to dump over my head. I've been known to jump in a fountain at the end of a run. You could run to a lake, river, or ocean halfway through your run and thoroughly soak yourself to keep cool. There is a reason humans like to swim, and that's because water is a great cooling device. Also, drinking waters helps.

You can also remove clothes. Many of us in snowy climates learn that heat escapes from the head...but this is only when the head is the surface left uncovered. Heat escapes from our body from any uncovered skin. Running in sandals (if that works) can help keep feet cool and help release heat. Running in shorts, without a top, or in a sports bra leaves more surface area for the skin to release heat from the body. Basically, the more naked your are, the more heat will escape your body naturally.

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3. Heat training. It's a little late for this, but it's something to keep in mind for next year. In the cooler temperatures, running with more clothes than necessary can train your body to cool effectively and can make the summer months easier. I practiced this in the spring and have noticed a huge difference this summer. I'm able to run the distances I want to run in faster times. When the temperature started to raise about 50 degrees F, I started wearing clothes that were just slightly warmer than I needed. When the summer rose about 65 degrees F, I wore warmer clothes on my short runs. If I think I can, I wear my running capris and let my legs be hotter. Also, I might wear a cotton shirt or a long-sleeved shirt instead of short-sleeved. I definitely feel like heat training has made my body acclimate to the summer temps much better.

4. My final tip is this : DON'T RUN! I know, it seems counterintuitive, but I mean it. Right now, most of America is having its record highs. This is a great time to do something else, and not to run. Instead, take a long, slow hike or go swimming! Maybe go mall walking or hit the treadmill. If it's really fucking hot, you don't need to be out there. A lot of people forego strenuous outdoor exercise when the temperature rises about 80 degrees F. (Also, many people feel the same about temps lower than 20 degrees F.) The thing is, you don't have to run.

I wanna say that again, YOU DON'T HAVE TO RUN!!!!

If you're feeling tired, lethargic, nauseous, dizzy, or just plain yucky, please stop! If it's really hot, don't go out. I mean, what are you trying to prove? Are you trying to prove that you can put your body in a dangerous situation, ignore the signals it's giving you, and endanger your health OR YOUR LIFE? Because, that's dumb. The weight of the world is not on your shoulders and no one's hopes and dreams are tied up in your ability to run in the heat. Seriously, just don't. Give yourself a break.

And if anyone tries to pressure you, tell them you want to take care of yourself and they can just fuck right off! Because you are far more important than covering that mileage in the heat! Seriously.

That is all.

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