Yikes. We have been going through a hell of a heat wave here in Eastern Ontario with daily temps reaching the mid-30C and the high humidity making it feel like 40+C.
I’ve heard a number of people complain out this crazy weather to me and asking how it’s possible to run in it. While it’s very easy to get discouraged about it and want to just not bother, the best thing that you can do is accept it and treat it as an opportunity to benefit from a different type of training affect and try to acclimatize yourself to it.
With running, it’s always going to be a challenge dealing with the heat, so now is a great chance to get a bit of training in that will help for the next hot weather race. I can’t help but think that all of the folks who were spending time doing heat acclimatization in a sauna for their buildup for Western States 100 miler, would have much preferred to run in these type of conditions that we currently have.
While I do see the huge benefit to heat training, here are a few of the things that I have found that have helped…
- Modify the length of your training runs. Make sure to get out there for your daily regular runs, but it’s ok to cut back the volume a little.
- Modify the intensity of your runs. Whether it’s an easy run or a hard session, you may find that your pace per km may need to be cut back by up to 30secs or more per km compared to normal. Accept this and don’t overextend in these conditions.
- Leave the Garmin at home. No need to try to get X kms at X pace in during a heat wave. Just another reason why I am a big believer in the benefits of running by time and not distance.
- Stay on top of hydration before, during and after your training. Sounds simple, but can be overlooked.
- Don’t forget your electrolytes. You are sweating more in training and just daily living as well.
- Run with handheld bottles for all runs, even short runs. I tend to use a waistbelt hydration system more in races as I find it a little more comfortable, but there are times when if your stomach isn’t feeling so well in a race that handhelds will be more comfortable. This is a great opportunity to get used to them. You certainly don’t need to have two handheld bottles of water with you during every run, but it’s great training to get used to it and also nice to cool down a little if needed.
- If you are running longer, do smaller loops with cutoff options or options to replenish with more water along the way.
Our bodies really are amazing machines and I have found in the past week that even on some of the hottest days that we’ve had, that I’m already finding it much easier to tolerate the heat. There’s just nothing quite like the feeling of turning a potential negative into a positive training experience. Though I have to say that I am looking forward to the upcoming break in the weather and some cooler days ahead.