Kelly the Culinarian: Heat training in Texas

Friday, July 1, 2016

Heat training in Texas

The joy of a September Ironman in Wisconsin is that the weather could really run the gambit. It could be crisp and fall-like. It could also be scathingly hot. Maybe even in the same day.
Training for fall is easy - it's my favorite season for so many reasons, not the least of which is that it's runner's weather. The unknown is how high the mercury will go. I would venture there are very few runners who would say that high temps are their jam, but we do what we have to to finish the race.

When I was in Texas, I basically tried to embrace the suck. There was plenty of it to go around - the Austin area was experiencing an unusual bout of warm weather, with each day reaching at least 96 degrees (real feel of 100ish). As much as possible, I got up early to run in that golden area of the Venn diagram in which it's light outside but the kids aren't awake yet.

The challenge there is if it the sun isn't hot yet, it's humid because the moisture hasn't been burned off. Win some, lose some. With this strategy, I set out to gradually build up my tolerance. The first few days, I didn't even try to measure distance. I just went for as long as I could, and sometimes, I wanted to quit in the first 10 minutes. I tried to go a bit further every day. I made it to 3.5 one morning, so the next morning's four miles felt like a marathon.

It took a little more than a week before I actually felt acclimated to the heat. I wished I had brought a handheld with me on this trip. Music was key to this evolution. I don't usually listen to anything while I run since music is illegal in most triathlons, but it did help ease this transition. By the end of my 12 days in Texas, I was able to run 8 unbroken miles in the heat. Here's what I learned:

  • Start slow
  • Listen to your body and use perceived exertion, rather than distance or time, as an indication of how hard you're working
  • Mix up the routine - on the days I could only run two miles, I would add a quick travel WOD in to work my muscles and extend the time I was working out
  • Don't get discouraged 
  • Hydrate all the time so you have something to sweat out

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