Thursday, July 20, 2017

Summer Running...

For those of you that aren't aware, Tanya and I are signed up to participate in the Humana Rock 'N' Roll half marathon at the end of next March. We've been training by working up to a decent 5k, then we'll train for a 10k, THEN finally get on the half marathon program. Hence, we've been running off and on since April/May of this year.

However, now that Texas summer is fully upon us in all its hot and humid glory, we realized that it's more difficult to get good performance in those conditions. Tanya recently read an article on "running in the heat" which further validated our experiences.

The good news for us is that it's possible for a human to relatively quickly adapt to running in the heat. The bad news is that the adaptability is highly individual, meaning one person might have a harder time adapting than another, or one person might not adapt as well as another. Case in point: Tanya gets overheated relatively quickly, while I seem to be able to soldier on through more hostile areas of the thermometer.

We also learned a couple of things with regards to performance at various temperatures.

From 50 - 59F: "Most runners don't think of these temperatures as hot..." Being from Texas, these temperatures could be considered downright chilly. Tanya and I would most likely have running pants and jackets on in order to get a run done in that coolness. Apparently, we're delusional. These are pretty ideal running conditions.

From 60 - 69F: "These are the temperatures at which most start to view conditions as less than optimal." Hehe, suckers! Upper 60s/lower 70s is where I'm most comfortable while running. But, according to the article, these conditions will slow a 40-minute 10K runner down by about 6 seconds per mile.

From 70 - 79F: Sub-elite marathoners can be expected to slow down by about 20 minutes.  That translates to just under a minute-per-mile pace loss. For reference, my current level is sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-elite 5Ker, I think.

From 80 - 89F: "There comes a point where additional sweating doesn't do you any good." This is where Tanya and I typically run, even if we're out the door by 7:00 a.m. It feels like stepping into a sauna that's just getting under steam. I start sweating about 7 seconds after exiting the house, just before I start the timer for the run.

At 90F+: "The hotter it is, the harder it is to excel." OK, this entry isn't all that helpful or enlightening. The summary is about training in conditions similar to those you expect to race in.

We commonly run in the upper 70s/lower 80s with about 80% humidity, provided we start before the sun rises. Once the sun is up, the temperature seems to climb in direct proportion, as if each passing minute were somehow incrementing the numbers on the gauge.

Given all of the above, perhaps we should take up swimming for the rest of the summer...? :-D

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