It seems funny to be sitting down to write this blog while the rain is pouring down and the wind is howling, but this is British summertime!
Over the last few weeks the temperatures have soared, to the extent that we even cancelled two of our runs as we felt it was just too hot to run.
The topic of conversation on many runs has been along these lines
"What's wrong with me? I can't run any more"
"Why am I so slow!"
"I can't get enough air"
"My legs are SO heavy"
Any of these sound familiar? Well, running in the heat is harder, we just aren't used to the temperature fluctuations in the UK, by the time we have realised it's hot, got the sun cream out, found our caps and remembered we need to drink more, it's winter again!
There are some real reasons why running in the heat is more challenging though.
Have a look at these two extracts from Runners World articles, the first mentions heart rate, you don't need to have a heart-rate monitor to know when it's raised, the feel of your run will tell you!
The second talks about how your body uses your blood in the heat.
I have included the links so that you can read the full articles.
So, for those of you who feel like you want to give up summer running, please don't. Respect the heat, make sure you are well prepared with the correct clothing and hydration and as long as the temperature isn't too intense, get out there and enjoy it....we will be moaning about the cold before long!
"....Heat and/or humidity increase the physical stress on the body and therefore, increase the intensity or effort of the run, which results in higher heart rates.....Hot, humid weather can easily add 20 beats or more to a runner’s average heart rate.....The higher heart rate makes..(your normal).. run pace uncomfortable; hence, we are forced to slow down. The "slow down factor" varies from runner to runner, but in general, slowing down 30 to 90 seconds per mile is common in hot/humid weather.
Runners hate slowing down because they fear losing their conditioning and/or not being able to achieve their goal race pace on race day. Put your fears to rest because you can turn running in the heat to your advantage. A large part of training is related to the heart rates achieved during training. Even though your training pace has slowed down, your heart rate will still remain in the.... (same)...range and possibly be even higher because of the adverse weather. Your body becomes conditioned to that heart rate range regardless of the actual run pace. When the weather cools down, and you run at that heart rate, you will find you are able to run your...(normal pace).... and probably even a bit faster after slogging through tough conditions! Come cooler temperatures, you'll feel like you lost 10 or 20 lbs. overnight and have to be careful not to go out too fast on race day!.....By focusing on your heart rate instead of run pace, you can learn to use hot weather to your advantage.
".....Physiologically, running in heat produces a cascade of reactions that begin with the fact that our muscles aren’t all that efficient.
In fact, says Yannick Molgat-Seon, who spent more than two years at the University of Ottawa’s Thermal Ergonomics Laboratory, 80 percent of the energy generated by our muscles winds up as heat.
In cold weather, that inefficiency is what keeps us warm. But during exercise, the body has to get rid of it. One way is by sweating. “Less obvious,” Molgat-Seon says, “is promoting blood flow to the skin.” That’s important because it’s what carries excess heat from your muscles to the skin, where it can be lost to the environment.
But the body only has so much blood. “You have a competition between blood going to the skin and blood going to the active musculature,” Molgat-Seon says. “In that battle, the muscles always lose.” Even when you’re barely sweating, your muscles are getting less oxygen and therefore are less efficient."