Wednesday is my run day, and while I haven’t been having the best or longest runs lately I feel like as long as I stick to the routine, as long as I get dressed and I know it’s a Wednesday, I will always maintain Wednesday as my run day (i.e, I’ll get off my ass and run regardless). But not only is it the first day of summer, it’s going to be 100-degrees here today. It has officially become the season to question if you can 1) get out of the house early enough to run or 2) run at all.
So what’s a girl (or boy) to do? First there is the issue of pre-run fuel. I need it, but if I have to run to beat the heat that’s too early for food. This morning Matt suggested I drink a Muscle Milk and after 15 minutes just go. I generally don’t do well with protein pre-run but I figured it was worth a shot (I’m always willing to experiment).
This is what I learned though:
1) 9:30 am was just too hot to run. I’m going to have to get out much earlier on days like this if I insist on keeping this Wednesday routine.
2) Oddly, the Muscle Milk was great for my legs. I felt like Popeye with the can of spinach. At one point I even thought, “Whose legs are these?” Everything else was falling apart but my legs were at their best.
3) The Muscle Milk was awful for my stomach. I wasn’t 2 miles into the run before I almost threw up. I ended up having to walk back home.
Since the weather is changing, even though I know obvious things like don’t run in the middle of that day and drink plenty of water, I’m always willing to learn. For instance, after some research this morning, I learned to, “Avoid excess protein intake. Protein metabolism produces extra heat.” Good to know.
The other thing I learned is you need to acclimate to heat before running normal your normal miles. According to Mindy Solkin, the Owner and Head Coach of The Running Center, this takes two weeks of consistent running. Furthermore, when the weather stokes up like this is better to shorten and slower your runs until you get used to it (two miles and a walk back, check!). You also need to measure not just temperature but the heat index and then add 3 or so degrees more on top of that. It’ll feel hotter than it is when you are running. And the obvious, Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. Or in the end just go to the gym.
For more in depth information, here’s a list of hot weather tips from the Road Runners Club of America.