Whenever I connect with someone online – one of their first questions is always about the weather
“How do you live in that hot of weather?”
Allow me to put aside some myths about our weather
1. It is not 120 degrees year round
2. We do have seasons – and I have seen it get so cold, it will snow (in the Winter)
3. We have exceptionally dry heat and YES, it is different than humid weather (vs. the TN humid weather I lived in for 9 yrs)
4. Heat is nothing to fear. Weather is to be respected and worked WITH, not against. Even in the hottest of weather – you can find a way to get a good workout in.
We (Las Vegas residents) survive because you learn to adapt to the weather in your lifestyle. My hometown of Seattle – it rains, it drizzles and everything in between. You live in Seattle with an umbrella or get soaked. Adaption.
In Vegas – when that month or two comes around with triple digit heat – you adapt.
You don’t go outside in the afternoon – unless you have to. You get use to getting out of the house in the evening or early morning. You learn to carry a bottle of water with you, at all times.
I began running last year just as the weather was starting to get warm. As a newbie – I immediately turned my runs to the park, at night. I was scared to death to run in the heat.
Since that time and lots of research and trial and error. I am now the middle of my first true summer of running and racing. I have no choice but to run in the daytime, often. I had to acclimate myself to the heat or not race, this year.
Below are some steps that I have done to acclimate myself to the heat. While it is NEVER advisable to run in 120 degree weather – even running in 90+ can be hard.
So, I hope you take some of these tips.
- Give yourself 2-3 weeks of acclimation runs. Not 2-3 runs, but 2-3 weeks. Put your speed intervals, race pace run to another time. Consider acclimating yourself to the hot weather as part of your training. You are going for time – neither speed nor distance.
- Run for 30-45 minutes each run as a moderate pace. At least 3 times a week. Run IN the sun, but don’t torture yourself.
- Learn to run with a hydration system. Even if you don’t plan to use one in races. You don’t have aid stations on your routes. Remember, these runs are to acclimate yourself to the heat. No tempo runs.
- Drink plenty of fluids hour to half hour before your run.
- Run in area’s there are local stores (in case you need to use the restroom or get a cold drink)
- Freeze your hydration bottles with fluid. By the time you start running, it will melt but still cold enough to help quench your thirst.
- Pour water on your head, back and your quads. Those little burst of coolness will help you get through it.
- Make sure you consume plenty of potassium. Bananas, Baked Potatoes and Cantaloupes are excellent sources of potassium. In addition, you might want to add a Potassium supplement to your diet.
- Take a salt tablet just before your run
- Drink electrolyte drinks DURING your run.Sip your hydration during the run. No need for stomach cramps.
- For me, I don't wear a hat. The hat keeps in heat - but I do wear a visor to keep the sun out of my eyes. If I was to wear any head covering, I would wear a bandana - it's looser than a hat and allows more air to pass through.
- Lastly, your breathing. Deep breathes in through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Your brain is telling your body to slow down with the heat. Get more oxygen into your blood system to keep a clear head and oxygen flowing to your muscles.
Remember, you must acclimate yourself to running in the heat. Just like you have tempo, speed or slow runs. You need acclimation runs. Give yourself plenty of time to do this – plan ahead and you will be glad you did, come race day.
Stay cool and Train Smart.
(c) C. Ragsdale 2011
Celebrate Your Finish,
Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
Certified Sports Nutritionist, Athlete and Public Speaker
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