I’ve been meaning to do Take It And Run Thursday for monthly, but I am finally making the commitment. From now on, expect my contribution weekly. (If you don’t know what TIART is, check out the bottom of this post).
I have a feeling that most people’s articles this week are going to be about how much they hate the heat and how to avoid running in it. Run on a treadmill, run in the early morning or late evening, run in the pool, run in Antarctica, etc. For the other crazies out there, I’m going to take a different approach: how to run in the hottest possible weather so you’re a complete badass and ready for anything. I mentioned yesterday that I’m considering Running With the Devil, and when I looked into heat training, I found some wise advice:
Your body is a machine that cannot be thrown into a very foreign and hostile environment such as extreme heat and be expected to perform at its usual high caliber. No matter how tough you perceive yourself to be, simply dealing with heat and accepting it won’t be enough; you must physically adapt to the rigors of heat beforehand.
I perceive myself to be very rough and tough, and we all know that I usually don’t train for anything, but apparently I can’t just go into a desert race without heat training. That quote comes from Stephen Simmons, a pretty tough 1999 finisher of the Badwater Ultramarathon. Badwater is a 135 mile ultramarathon through Death Valley to Mount Whitney California, known as the world’s toughest foot race. (No, I don’t have any delusions of completing this someday). If he says you can’t do it without training, I’ll take his word for it. So I commenced researching.
Arthur Webb, an eight time finisher of Badwater, recommends training in the desert, but I don’t think there’s one of those in Boston or in Manhattan. Does drinking a lot and running the next day when your throat is as dry as a desert count? Lacking a desert, Arthur suggests training in a sauna for long periods of time, and says that the intensity of the workout isn’t as important as the ability to stay in there for a long time. I’m going to take this to mean that lying on the beach will improve my ability to run in the heat. Sweet! I’m also happy to note that Arthur claims that “heat training in the sauna should take no more than four weeks and usually three are sufficient.” I’m all about training plans that are less than a month in duration – heat training sounds like just the thing for me.
Tim Kjenstad, a finisher of Badwater 2006, has another approach that fits right in with my jet setting lifestyle. To find out what it is, click here.
One last form of heat training involves… actually putting some effort in and running (yeah, I’m not picking this one). Several Badwater finishers recommend a technique in which you wear as many layers of clothing as possible, so that the actual temperature outside doesn’t matter. While I’ve never tried this, it reminds me of the time when I moved into the apartment I was subletting for a semester, and the girls decided we should have a “hazing” night for me to fit in (note that this was all in good fun, was not done in a mean spirited way at all, and we are all best friends years later). They discovered how much I love pink, so they told me to put on every article of pink clothing I owned (simultaneously) and then head out to the bars like that. Unfortunately, I couldn’t walk because I have so many pink clothes. Once it was determined that I could not get down the stairs and to the bars like that, we stayed home and played Edward Forty Hands instead. In the midst of this, they jokingly told me I had to rearrange the living room furniture with the forties still strapped to my hands. They then left the room for a few minutes, and I actually managed to do it (I swapped the futon and the couch), though they never believed me that I didn’t take the forties off to do so. Perhaps I missed my calling in drunken home decorating.
This post was written as a part of Runner’s Lounge’s Take It And Run Thursday, in which runners from all across the running blogging community come together to post about a single topic. This week’s theme was Running in the Heat.