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5ksandcabernets: It’s getting hot, and I’m getting slow

5ksandcabernets

Thursday, May 29, 2008

It’s getting hot, and I’m getting slow

No matter how much I lay off the wine the night before, no matter how much I hydrate during, I have found no magic remedy to run in the heat.

A lot of runners have ideas about it, like those over at the Runners Lounge who are participating in discussions about running in the heat. Lately, the scientists over at the Science of Sport blog have shed some interesting insight into, well, the science of running in the heat.

They are using a lot of big words and heavy terminology, but basically, what they are saying is this: Your body anticipates how good you feel, how long you are running, how fast you are running, and how hot it is outside and automatically helps you control your pace in either a race or a training run.

And, the scientist say, this all happens before you’ve run very far. Something about your brain taking all of this information and activating enough muscle fiber for you to do your workout.

And because this happens before you’ve run 1 mile, your slow pace has to do with -- get this -- your body’s anticipatory regulation.

In other words, your body knows when you’ll start to feel like shit before you start feeling like shit and it helps you slow your pace so you can do your entire workout.

People who get heat strokes ignore their bodies’ cues and keep going harder and harder and longer and longer distances, or so the scientists say.

Anyway, the only way to get better at running in the heat is to run in the heat, say the experts, and I believe them. During my 6- and 7-mile tempo runs in the cool mornings of March and April, I could easily run under 8-minute miles. This month, especially the last two weeks, it has been 70 to 75 degrees in the mornings, and I’ve had to slow down to 8:30, sometimes 9:00 miles to finish.

And I know it’s going to get worse before it gets better. If you run into me on the Trinity Trials in the July or August, I’ll be shuffling along on long runs at a 10:30 or 11:00 mile clip.

My advice: Run slow, hydrate (but not too much), and don't be too proud to walk some.

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9 Comments:

Blogger Jenny said...

Aha! So that totally explains why my pace that should have been a 9 this morning was actually a 9:30. This summer is going to be humbling.

May 29, 2008 at 1:47 PM  
Blogger Tree said...

True words. I will have to embrace it, too. My runs have been sweaty and somewhat painful in the humidity. I know it will only become worse before I acclimate.

May 29, 2008 at 1:57 PM  
Blogger Bryan said...

Kevin, you've seen my Runners' Hell post, so you know I'm right there with you. But even after that run, I still wasn't sold on it being the effects of the heat and humidity--that is until I knocked out an easy 5 at a 10:01/mile pace on Tuesday evening (was supposed to be @ 10:41/mile pace), after the storms blew through, along with cooler temps. (And by easy, I mean my avg heart rate was in the 140s.)

May 29, 2008 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Ok, I so don't envy you folks down south. It's hot even in the mornings! I'll take our -20 winter over your heat any day! :)

May 29, 2008 at 5:10 PM  
Blogger merrymishaps said...

Our weather keeps flip-flopping from hot to comfortable ... hard to adjust that way!

But, I have no problem stopping when my body insists!

May 29, 2008 at 10:20 PM  
Blogger Victoria said...

Just ran the Ohlone 50K two weeks ago, and we had a sudden heat wave that week-- two people had to be airlifted out (one was in a coma-- very scary, actually), several people had to drop and most others ran substantially slower than they did the year before. (As another runner stated, "I ran a new Personal Worst") Heat= yuck.

May 30, 2008 at 1:52 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

After reading the scientist's explanation I think I like your's better:

"In other words, your body knows when you’ll start to feel like shit before you start feeling like shit and it helps you slow your pace so you can do your entire workout."

Now that I can follow :-)

The last couple days we have had 88°F and high humidity, phewy!

May 30, 2008 at 5:59 AM  
Blogger Amy@RunnersLounge said...

Thanks for sharing this post in TIART! I have really enjoyed the 5 part series on running in the heat that you mentioned, but I like your easier to understand explanation.

I think other runners would enjoy this article, would it be ok if I added it to the Know How section in the Lounge (www.runnerslounge.com)?

Amy
amy@runnerslounge.com

May 30, 2008 at 9:13 AM  
Anonymous Nat said...

I love the title of this blog!!

Interesting piece must check out the five part on heat... Thanks for this.

May 30, 2008 at 7:49 PM  

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