As I sit at the computer and begin to type, I’m sweaty. My arms stick to the desk, my shirt is stuck to me, and I may or may not smell. Its August, the temp is around 90 and the humidity is belly deep on a cat (if it gets any higher, they’ll drown as they can’t swim). Today is the type of day any athlete dreads, especially a runner. Days like today, are days you must just slog through, pace will suffer, your effort will feel labored, and your shoes will be damp and smelly for days.
These are facts.
You can go early in the morning, or late at night, the afternoon is ill-advised, either way you’ll arrive home looking like you were out for a dip in the pool; wet, but not refreshed. You could take the day off, but then an empty box will stare back at you reminding you of your cowardice.
The treadmill for me is worse then death, if I need to run on the treadmill to be a runner, I’ll do something else. The bottom line is you will run; the only question is how productive will the workout be. This statement solves the first dilemma that I so often see posted, each day there is no debate, workouts are simply completed.
I have gone to extreme measures to ensure the daily temperature isn’t my master. I run outside all year long. I’ve returned from summer runs resembling an old prune, wrinkly and shrunken, but I’m aware of all the water fountains in town. I’ve even done a run where I simply linked up water fountains, feeling like a conquering hero each time I arrived at my next destination. At each stop I drank then bathed, people already look at me weird just for running, the bath just confirmed their notions.
If you are in a new town, and are asking around for good running loops, be sure to ask where all the water fountains are located. If your supposed guide stammers and looks confused, you aren’t speaking with a real runner, run away quickly (they won’t chase), and find a more reliable guide.
What else have I done to beat the heat?
I’ve crawled into a stream and rolled around for a bit much like I’ve seen elephants do on nature shows. I’ve ran on the wrong side of the road, just for the shade it offered, I’ve hidden water bottles in bushes, and I’ve manually pumped water outside Amish school houses (and been devastated when the pump didn’t work).
These are extreme and maybe even life threatening (wrong side of the road running) measures you may be thinking; to which I reply, they don’t give out lumps of polished coal, cow shaped trophies, or apple pies as age group awards just for being an age. These treasures aren’t handed out at the start, nor are they won on course, but rather they are earned during the preceding months, a little bit each day.
Equally important to my training-run cooling techniques, is that sometimes I’ve revised my goals for the workout, knowing that one workout won’t make me, but it could break me. Even now, I’m acclimatizing, as I sit in my non- air conditioned house, in which the thermostat reads a nursing home like 84 degrees. Allow your body time to adapt, be willing to adjust your workout, and you can handle any conditions, you aren’t a martyr if it’s hot on your track day, just adjust your pace, and mentally prepare, knowing it will be harder then normal. Its summer, if your shoes aren’t squishy when you put them on you aren’t doing it right.