HELLO SUMMER !!!
The weather-gods have spoken – it WILL be a sizzling Indian summer ! The big races are over and the fire for chasing goals through a structured training program has dimmed. Most of us find the idea of waking up at 4 AM to run in the heat quite daunting. Confronted with this double whammy, the intrepid runner seeks answers to two questions ; How to keep the zest for running alive in summers and how to run in the heat and still shine.
The weak amongst us will find one excuse or the other to give up running in the discomfort of the heat, but the crazy runner in you will not stop for thou shalt find the answers and still run ! Call it off-season training. It allows you a lot of room to experiment, maintain your current fitness (maybe even improve !) and have some fun while doing it !
Some options and some tips from wellthy.fit to help you make the most of it:
Reset and Recalibrate your Aim - Speed and endurance goals are not recommended. Instead opt to maintain your running fitness while working on core strength, mobility, flexibility and running form. Be ready for a pleasant surprise when you begin your serious training later in the year.
Augment Your Fitness Regimes - Experiment with reducing the frequency of running to three/four times per week and augmenting it with two/three sessions of activities such as swimming, cycling, roller-blading, crossfit, weights, kettlebells, yoga for runners, etc. Each of these activities actually helps you become a better runner !
Avoid da Sun - Run before the sun rises or do it late or go indoors and do the dreadmill / crosstrainer. Choose your route well – shady parks and trails are ideal. The asphalt retains and radiates heat.
Dress for the Heat - Wear light coloured and loose clothes. Avoid cotton. Moisture wicking, breathable tech fabrics are better. Wear a cap/hat with a visor. The max heat is lost from the head. A tight cap made of thick fabric inhibits the same. Try one with a mesh. Pouring water on the head or using a sponge is a good idea. A good pair of sunglasses and sun-screen complete the summer running ensemble.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate - Drink water before, during and after the run. But how much ? Each runner has a different sweat loss rate. As a ballpark figure – 500ml of water 30min to 1 hour before, 500ml for every 30-40 mins during and 1 litre after the run. Start sipping early during the run – don’t wait for the thirst to hit you. Invest in a good hydration bottle or pack. Alternatively set up a water point and run loops around it with pitstops after every three/four km.
The Electrolyte Balance - The salts (sodium and potassium) are lost through sweating. They must be replenished in a timely manner to prevent dehydration. Sports based drinks such as Gatorade, Enerzal, RRunn, ORS and coconut water are good for maintaining the salt balance in the body. Salt capsules are another alternative. Try them and home onto what works best for you. Be liberal in their use !
Recognise the Signs of Distress - Dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke may occur under extreme conditions of weather, effort and physical condition. It is important to feel and recognize the symptoms early – light headedness, parched tongue and throat, unnaturally high heart rate vis-à-vis the effort, paleness/unnaturally flushed skin, etc. The runner can actually miss or refuse to recognise his own symptoms. Running buddies are the answer. Better to have a DNF and run day !
Running Groups and Running Buddies - They are the best source of motivation to firstly show up for the run and secondly to put in the optimum effort and have an enjoyable running experience.
Enjoy - Ditch your running watch (naked running) and run for the sheer joy of running. Your natural pace will take over – so there will be no loss of running fitness. Bond with your buddies to make light of the distance and the weather. Running without the pressure of speed targets while bantering with your buddies is truly enjoyable…same is the result of a solo run without the urge to constantly improve – zen or soul running.
The hot Indian summer can be quite a dampner for outdoor physical activities. But you are made of stronger stuff. Running in the summer can be fun too and running in the rain…bliss. Have a strong summer of running…Happy Feet.
You can throw in the towel or use it to wipe the sweat of your face !!!
This Summer Running piece is written by Gee Ess. Always looking for the next big high -physical, social, intellectual or spiritual, he got hooked onto endurance running with ADHM 2014. Having run many full and half marathons, he enjoys penning down his learnings and intriguing nuances of running.