Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hot, Hot, Hot

Hello lovely people! Monday being a holiday totally messed me up and I keep thinking I'm a day behind (not that I am complaining...the weekend is that much closer!).

This past week was weird exercise-wise. Last Monday, I went to a trainer through a Groupon deal I got and she kicked my behind. I actually think she wasn't concerned enough about my form and for the next few days, I had insanely tight quads and IT bands. This was problematic and made running very painful. I had to listen to my body (#1 rule I try to abide by) by slowing down the runs I did and taking more rest days.
Source
When I finally felt ready to tackle my 22 miler this weekend, it was during a heat advisory in Philly. I went out early for me (10:30 am), but in retrospect, it wasn't early enough. At first, the heat didn't seem that bad as there was a slight breeze and I was running along a mostly shaded path. As the long run progressed, the shade disappeared and so did my ability to run decently. My pace slowed down a lot and I struggled to breathe at times. I was only able to finish 20 miles, which says a lot; I never cut runs short, so if I do, it's for a really good reason.

With the heat wave we're going through and summer approaching, I figured I'd give some tips on exercising outside in the heat. 
  1. Hydrate, hydrate hydrate: Make sure to be extra hydrated and that doesn't mean just drinking right before your workout. Make sure you are hydrated the day before and that you hydrate seriously after your workout.
  2. Consider time of day and location for your workout: Think about getting up a bit earlier than normal to avoid the heat. Sometimes it is cooler at night, but when I got home today, it was still 90 degrees. Also, think about working out in locations that have a good amount of shade and if possible, water fountains so that you can stay hydrated. 
  3. Dress for the weather: This sounds stupid, but make sure you dress appropriately. I try to avoid black when I can in the heat (even black hats!) and I try to wear clothes that properly absorb my sweat. There are some runners who run in long-sleeved compression shirts and they say this helps to spread out their sweat, which leads to quicker evaporation. I haven't experimented with this, but it's something to consider. 
  4. Lower your expectations: It takes people 2-6 weeks, on average, to acclimate to the heat. Some people adjust more quickly and it's easier to do so if you aren't spending the rest of your day constantly in air conditioning (like I do...whoops). Know that while your body acclimates, a normally easy exercise for you will be much more taxing. Relax and don't beat yourself up about it. 
Hope everyone stays safe in the heat! Can't believe it's already the unofficial start of summer!

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