Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Minnesota heat wave

I wilt in heat, but jealously wish for a precious few days so that I can run in it.

Minnesota and the entirety of the Midwest has been in a heat wave since Saturday. Temps have approached or hit 100, and dew points have been in the high 80s. Taken that combination and the heat index makes it feel like something north of 110 or 115. We've been under heat advisories and the old, young, and ill have been advised to stay home. Youth sports have been canceled, postponed, or moved earlier to the day. And it's not supposed to break until Friday.

What does this all mean? First, my glasses fog up when I walk outside. Moisture from the air condenses on the lenses because their temperature is less than the dew point. The same occurs on my windows. Second, it means heat training. Lots of heat training.

Running in hot weather puts tremendous stress on one's body because it limits our ability to dump heat via sweating and other methods. Heat builds up, and at a certain point other systems start to slow or shut down. And once your stomach stops processing calories, its all a downward spiral from there. Do too much damage and you're run into heat exhaustion and stroke. Eventually, you'll pass out and potentially die, your brain simmering in the pressure cooker that becomes your skull.

So what to do? I take is slow and easy; your training becomes more about time than miles. I ran a route yesterday that I under normal conditions would have taken by 35 or 36 minutes; I did it in just over 39 because I slowed down up to 50 seconds per mile to accommodate the temps. And you take ice water. I knew I was in for a hard run the other day when my ice was gone within 10 minutes.

How people run Badwater (held last week!) is beyond me.

1 comment:

Chris Wallace said...

Sounds like every Summer in GA. :-)