Hot running is here again this summer. A little too soon for me! It’s 80 degrees at 6:30am, 100 degrees by 1pm; and let’s face it: it’s really hard to get motivated to run!
Goals are important during the summer training months. When you look at your calendar and see the races you have penciled in, getting out of bed is a lot easier. Pick a race in the fall and enter! I have already entered the Ironman 70.3 Pocono Mountains in October and the White Rock Marathon in December. The power of the race calendar gets me motivated to get the workouts done on these hot, hot days.
I also encourage everyone to try to get their workouts in either early in the morning or inside at the gym in the afternoon. Ozone is so high during the afternoon hours and poor air quality warnings abound this time of year. No reason to stress your upper respiratory system; do it early or do it inside!
Just a few tips to keep yourself safe this summer while running in the heat:
Get motivated and get out there, but run safely in the heat so we can all enjoy the fall race season!
Seriously, I crawl over the finish line and the first thing I want is a beer (or twenty)! I think that beer is a great adjunctive therapy for injury rehabilitation. Think about the benefits of beer:
1. It relaxes you.
9. It makes the ride home so much more comfortable……….and the next morning if you don’t have to go to work
Ice versus heat? This is a common question a lot of athletes, coming into my Grapevine, Texas office, ask. Most understand that ice immediately after injury is very important. The questions usually revolve around when to use heat. There are some basic guidelines that every athlete can use to reduce confusion.
Immediately ice the “fall down, go boom injuries.” Ice works well for reducing redness, swelling and internal bleeding in acute injuries. It also is a great pain reliever. Acute injuries and post surgical pain and swelling usually respond well to 10 to 15 minutes of ice every few hours. This should be done for up to several weeks after an injury or surgery. Ice can be in the form of an ice pack (ice wrapped in a protective towel) or ice massage (massaging with a frozen water bottle or block of ice).
Ice can also be helpful in reducing swelling in a chronic injury like runner’s knee or plantar fasciitis. Icing immediately after activity can prevent further inflammation of an already annoyed area and help in recovery.
So where does heat come in? Heat can be used in several different ways. Contrast baths with ice/heat/ice can be helpful in chronic injuries. Especially those joints or tendons that still have just a little inflammation or edema. Heat should never be used alone in these cases. Moist heat is best for chronic stiffness and old injuries with scar tissue. It can also help in the rehabilitation process. For example, when plantar fasciitis becomes plantar fasciosis after four to six months (which is a chronic degeneration of the plantar fascia), deep heat therapy with ultrasound or moist heat packs can help increase range of motion of the area and increase the effectiveness of physical therapy. Heat actually temporarily increases inflammation in an area, but this is often helpful in kick starting the healing process. Heat can also be used to calm muscle spasms and relax a tight muscle.
Heat causes an increase in circulation to an area, so it should never be used in acute injuries or chronic injuries with a lot of swelling. It can actually make an injury worse if there is still a little internal bleeding going on. A great way to heat a joint or tendon is to use a reusable heating pack or an electric heating pad for about 20 minutes before stretching, massage or other therapy. Heating an old injury before exercise can also be helpful in warming up the area to ready it for increased activity.
The simple rule of thumb is that ice is used for acute, swollen injuries and heat is used for stiff, chronic injuries. This subject is debated continuously, but I hope this discussion clears up the mystery of ice versus heat!
I declared myself heat tolerant this weekend in my recent Twitter. I did a 3 hour bike ride in 99 plus heat at 5pm in the Texas heat and could still spit when I was done! That’s a success in my book! It definitely took 2 full weeks of suffering in the heat and a good hydration plan to finally feel like my body had made the transition to feeling relatively comfortable in the soaring Texas summer heat.
Dehydration, heat stroke and hyponatremia are your biggest worries while training in the summertime. Whether you are in Texas or Rhode Island, when the temperature soars over 90 degrees, heat illness can seriously hamper your endurance training. Most of us have an “A” race on the calendar in the fall and require a lot of base training in the summer. No way around those long runs and even longer bike rides in the heat. The average triathlete can sweat up to one liter of fluid an hour while training and sweat contains about 3 grams of salt per liter. How can we conquer the heat? Preparation and constant hydration! Diligence is the key! Always stay one step ahead of the hydration curve. Remember that heat illness really can kill you and hyponatremia has taken out more than one healthy marathon runner and triathlete!
Here are some simple tips that will help you train safely in the heat:
Heat-illness is real! Be smart while training this summer! Follow these tips, heat acclimatize over a period of several weeks and be diligent about your hydration plan while training in the heat. Let’s get to those fall races stronger and without any heat-related training drama! See you on the run! Run Happy!
I have to admit, it was too hot for me to handle this morning! I ran the 15K at Whire Rock Lake this morning and perished at about 5 miles into the race. I managed to hang on, after puking at 5 miles, to finish in 1:17....not my best showing by far! 95 degree heat coupled with minimal shade and way too fast first 3 miles was my undoing. This is one of the times when the doctor needs to take her own advice!
Congrats to all the winners who handled the heat much better than I did! My running peep, Heather Wallace, took second in our age group with a 1:13 and looked strong as she passed me walking at 5.5 miles! Lot's of Lake Grapevine Runners and Walkers were out and the club made a good showing in the age group ranks including a first place overall woman's winner!
RunOn! was a great host and Stampede beer (infused with B vitamins) tasted wonderful after the run! Nothing better than a few beers after a less than successful race! And a good excuse to drink a few beers before 9:30 in the morning!
I survived for another day! And the technical shirts and hats were a great give away!
Run Happy! Keep Cool....the summer has just begun!
As challenging as heat and humidity are, people can acclimate. Blood volume expands, which reduces the strain on the heart from the increased demand for blood flow to the skin and muscles. And sweating increases — people who are heat adapted sweat sooner and more profusely, allowing their bodies to cool more efficiently.
The key to acclimation is to exercise in the heat daily and to be sure you are sweating profusely — wearing extra layers of clothing can help if you are exercising indoors or in cooler weather. Given a choice between spending more time in the heat but exercising less intensely, or less time and exercising more intensely, it is safer to choose to go longer and work less intensely.
For the complete article click here.
Run Happy! And sweat on.........
It that time of year again; School is getting out, Memorial Day weekend is here, and summer sports are starting in full swing. Age-group track meets in 100 degree heat for 10 hours, football summer workouts on fields so hot the rubber on the cleats is starting to melt and soccer games in humidity that can actually kill you! Whether you live in Texas or Rhode Island; the summer heat kills child athletes every year! If you read this blog regularly, you know that track season is here again and my girls are already sweating at practice before school even ends! As a runner and a mother I am concerned about the safety of this Texas summer tradition of having track meets on a track that you can fry an egg on...
Heat-related illness claim young lives every year. Don’t let your athlete be the sun’s next victim! Follow these tips and discuss heat illness with your child athlete before it’s too late! And remember....following these tips can save you from an untimely trip to the hospital yourself! Let this year's Chicago marathon be a lesson to all of us! Heat Kills!!
Run Happy and Well Hydrated!
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