For all those who are complaining about the temperature these days I have two words for you ” Polar Vortex.” Just remember how cold it was last winter and how if and when you ran you were so bundled up you looked like a Yeti riding a musk ox. It was so cold my shadow froze to the ground. Yes, it was that cold.
It’s June, it’s supposed to be warm, after all it’s summer. Here’s how to run through the season:
Wear white as much possible. Old man sun loves dark colors. Wear a visor that has a dark color on the underside of the brim. There is a reason baseball hats are grey or green under the brim – it’s to keep the glare from bouncing up into your eyes. Wear wrap around sunglasses. They keep out dust and bugs and keep you from squinting. Scrunching up your face and eyes takes energy.
For racing – Ditch the i pod, the phone and your other music gadgets. Running is mostly a solitary endeavor anyway. We don’t always get a chance to interact with a couple of hundred other like minded people all going in the same direction. We seldom get a chance to run on protected course where we can turn off our unleashed barking dog, car approaching radar. Talk, make friends, make jokes. You aren’t going to win anyway. Those XC hotshots from the local D-1 program are already on the way home by the time you approach 4 miles. Yes, I know you used to be fast but you aren’t anymore and there is no sense in trying to PR on a 90 degree day. Steve Prefontaine you’re not.
Also – in the racing department: On the course cut the tangents just like the pros do. If you recall your high school geometry and I should since I repeated it three times the tangent is the shortest straight line through a curve. Don’t run deep into a corner and then make the turn. Set yourself up a little wider going into the 90 and then glide right through it.
Drafting – just like in NASCAR. Don’t lead the pack. Tuck in behind someone, preferably behind a guy who is somewhat larger than you and let him break the wind. Stop snickering. If you are running with a sidewind get on the off side of the guy and let him shield you from the breeze. Drafting works.
Run in the shade even if it’s during the first half mile of the race and you feel good. Your body temperature will thank you later at mile 4 when the early morning temperature has already climbed to 87 degrees. Run in the shade even if you have to cross the street and run a little farther distance. Shade is your friend.
Wear sunblock – I always am sure to smear a bit under my eyes like a football players’ eye black. You can pretend that you are Tom Brady playing the Jets or Joe Namath on the field against the Raidahs baby. I’m still an AFL guy at heart.
Do wear your watch because nothing looks cooler than when your’e not wearing it and you can proudly display your watch tan. Same goes for socks, I always run in the low cut variety for that sexy ankle tan look.
Finally, get yourself some kind of Road ID that lists your name age, contact info, allergies and blood type and wear it every time you run. I can’t imagine what goes through an EMT’s mind when they find an inert body on the course and they have to start from square one in diagnosing you and your issues. Give them a good head start on your first aid.
Take a couple of Bikram yoga classes where the temperature inside is 104 and the humidity is at 40%. That will acclimate your body to working efficiently in the heat and besides the stretching is good for you.
Remember, we waited a long time for the chance to run in just a t shirt and shorts. These miles in the heat pay off next October and November when you hit mile 17 or mile 19 and you swear that the marathon course has been laid out incorrectly and that you should already be at mile 24.
This is our time to shine and sweat. Run Happy !