Here in Phoenix we had a 24 hour transition from Spring to the heat of summer. Beautiful days with highs barely touching the 80s, were suddenly gone. Instead we have been bombarded with 87 degree mornings. And by mornings I mean 6AM. For the exercise junkies we don't have much of choice but to adapt. Below are a few tips that will help you keep up your training schedule, even while the mercury is rising.
- Set an alarm and Charge the Petzl- I prefer the 2-2.5 hour morning run, which does not allow for sleeping in. I guess you could sleep in, but then you will be carrying 3+ liters of water. Make sure the evening before your run you charge your torch and set an alarm. Starting the run an hour in the dark will make a huge difference, and provides an opportunity to see your normal route in a new way.
- Hydrate- Seems like a no brainer, but I can not believe how many people I see on the trails with inadequate amounts of water. A general rule of thumb is a liter per hour. Staring your run early will allow you to stretch your water capacity slightly. Even before hitting the trail try to drink a liter. It sounds like a lot but it can be easily done as you lace your shoes, strap your matching pack on, pick the correct color coded gaitors, poop, change your shoes, fill your water containers, step out the door, return back inside, poop and then finally head out for real.
- Wear Clothes- We all love to show off our runners physique. Who doesn't want to see us bare chested, in the shortest legal shorts, and with no arm muscles. I mean come on! Anyways, if you know you are going to be out in the sun for extended periods (and do not use sunscreen) wear more clothing. A loose fitting long sleeve shirt and a cap with neck protection will keep you cooler, and doubles as sun protection. Looking like a raisin at 35 is not cool, no mater who you are.
- Reroute- If your normal route doesn't pass a water refill spot, then reroute it. In most areas you can figure out a way to allow for a mid run water. Think outside the box. Urban running is easy, just find a gas station. Most let you refill your bottles from the fountain drink machine for free (water only). In most city parks water is available and if in the backcountry, there are always streams. Adding a few miles to your route to access water will keep you running harder and provide extra mileage. Bonus!
- Be an Owl- So you tried getting up before the sun, but it didn't work. You are not a morning person. Lucky for you there are evenings. Running after work allows for longer runs, and the temperature continues to drop the longer you run. Wildlife is abundant at night, especially in the desert, and will provide plenty of entertainment and motivation to run faster.
- Cut Back- Most other places in the country have a season called winter. It is cold, windy, snowy and less races occur. This is the off season. Here in Arizona, we don't have that. Our 'winter' is our summer. Take advantage of this and do some cross training and cut back on your mileage. Recovery and cross training are just as useful as mileage.
- Prepare- There is nothing better then coming home from an early run in the heat and enjoying some fresh cold watermelon juice. Besides being nutritious you have the added bonus of cooling you down and adding water to a dehydrated body. #melonrun2015
There is nothing mind blowing about training in the heat. Use common sense when in hot weather and embrace the heat. You can't fight it, so just suck it up buttercup.