Saturday, June 22, 2013

How to get used to running in the heat...

As the pleasant smell of mouldering baby poop ignites my senses, it can only mean summer has arrived and I need to take out the garbage. For runners, it means yet one more reason to wear booty shorts.

You've been waiting all winter to sport those bad boys!

My method for acclimating to the heat makes it less likely you'll end up convulsing on the black top due to heat stroke. By the way, I'm not a doctor. I'm not a running coach. Heck, I'm not even fast. But I do live in the desert, Las Vegas to be precise, and it gets freaking hot here in the summer.

The Uncle Trentie Method for Summer Running Acclimation

First off I will not include information such as drink lots of fluids. Any dingleberry knows that.

Step 1: Don't be an idiot. Unless you're training for BadWater, there's limits. Be aware of them.

Step 2: Wear a heart rate monitor. Your body has to work harder when it's hot. Sometimes you don't realize just how hard it's working until your tongue swells and you're sprinting from imaginary snakes. A heart rate monitor gives you instant feedback.

Step 3: Run with your heart rate in the aerobic zone (70-80% of your max heart rate). If you're not sure what that heart rate is, simply subtract your age from 180. You should not exceed this heart rate during your acclimation runs. There are other variables you can discover with a simple "heart rate monitor training" Google search. I, for example, can run 5-10 beats higher than that number because I took the time to figure out what my max heart rate really was, but that's for the experts to explain to you. I strongly urge you to study the teaching of Phil Maffetone.

Step 4: Run with your heart rate in the aerobic zone. I included this twice because you will think it's too slow and start running faster. Notice this post is titled how to get used to running in the heat. That's all you're doing. You're not racing. You're not doing intervals. Most importantly, you're not dying. When your heart rate gets above your aerobic threshold, slow down. If the rate doesn't decrease, walk. It's ok. It's 100 freaking degrees. It's ok to walk 20 yards to avoid ending up face down in a piss puddle on Fremont Street.

If you're running in the Vegas desert and see this, you're probably hallucinating.
Step 5: When you have to stop, and you will have to stop, eat an orange slice. If you've ever had an orange slice during a race, you probably found it to be the most disgusting fruit ever created. That's because those oranges have been sitting out in the sun for three hours. Put a few oranges in the refrigerator. Cut them in to fours. Put then in a plastic bag. Put them in your pockets. When you stop to walk or slow down, eat one. They're freaking good. Trust me.

Step 6: Remain near a water source. I happen to have a swimming pool. I understand that in some parts of the country a swimming pool is a luxury. In Las Vegas, everyone has one. When the temperature gets above 95, pretty much every day between June and the end of September, I'll run a loop that passes my house and dunk my head in the swimming pool every 2-3 miles. Sprinklers work to. So does a hose. A bottle of water as a last resort is sufficient.

Nothing impresses the ladies more than a sweaty man wearing nothing but a heart rate monitor dunking his head in a swimming pool.
 Step 7: Run near a park. Parks have drinking fountains.

Of course if you had any sense, you'd run at night or early morning.

In case you were wondering who Phil Maffetone was, it's this guy.

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