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9 Ways I Handle Running In the Heat

Blogger contacted me a week ago.
Can you believe it? I didn't know there were real people behind this thing. Here's how the conversation went.

Blogger: "Hey, runner guy. You know it's been 90 degrees across the country."

Me:  "Heck yeah I know. I'm sweating out my bone marrow."

Blogger: "Yeah, well, you haven't written that post on how to deal with the heat just yet."

Me: "Everyone writes that post. Isn't it kind of silly to do another one?"

Blogger: "You have no choice. You want your blog deleted? Write this post or your blog is gone. I have powers. You got a week. Do it or else. Do it. Do it."

Me: "Damn! Some people want to fill the world with silly run blogs."

Blogger: "What's wrong with that? I'd like to know?"

Well, that was 7 days ago come midnight, so, here I go, (again.)

9 Ways I Handle Running In the Heat

1. Perhaps the obvious: wake up and get your run in early before the sun preheats the air like an oven, or at night when the sun goes down.

2. Head to the trails. Trail runs that are shaded by trees are so much cooler, and by default, you are so much cooler for running them.

3. Even if you're out running the streets, there's shade to be had. Look for it. You know your routes so well you could run them blindfolded by smell, so think deep on where the shadows lie and run under their cover. Shade is 15 degrees cooler. Science tells us shade is most likely to be on the east side in the morning, west side in the evening, when the sun is hanging low.

4. Are you thinking about bailing out from the outside and hitting the treadmill?  Well, go Halfsies. Run half outside, half on the treadmill. You can do a whole long run this way. Head out for 8, and come home for 8. Or, I have ran 5 miles to my health club, hydrated, ran 10 on the treadmill, and ran 5 back home.

5. And water is the key.  Lay water out under bushes on your route, or put some dollar bills in your pocket and dip into gas stations for water. The high school track where I run has a water trough for football players that is usually available. Be creative. Dip into whatever you need to dip into. I have dranken from random neighbor's sprinklers.

6. Embrace the heat. Forget about pace, and think of heat as a barrier like a hill or doing speedwork. You are running not for time, but to survive your heart boiling in your chest. That's not sweat pouring out of your flesh, that's blood boiling out of your veins. Can you finish your run before all of it oozes out?  fun fun fun heat heat

7. Remember that people run in the heat all the time, and it gets easier each time you do so. Your body can handle more than you think it can. Your brain, like any other organ, just wants to survive and will tell you it's had too much and will urge you to return home before you need to. But remember, your brain is not especially interested in you running your best, even if your spirit is. Sometimes, you have to talk back to it and tell it to STFU. You can handle more than you think you can.

8. Forget I just said that. Be safe. Don't pass out. Don't get heat stroke. We've all seen people drop and fall to the pavement at the end of marathons from the heat, and heard of some dire consequences. Don't be one of them. Live to run a cooler day.

9. I clearly don't know what I am talking about. I am about to be deleted. Tell my family I love them.

You think running in the heat is hard? Read about a marathon weekend where the hardship one runner needs to endure will make you rethink running for your life.

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