Sunday, May 23, 2010

Heat Nausea Spreads Through the Southeast.

 Cattails on my run this morning.
(Really appreciated the excuse for a break)
Brought back childhood memories.

Many runners in the southeast have recently been posting about heat issues on blogs, fb, twitter, etc.  I have posted several times about April and May being tough months for me and running.  We have roughly 4 seasons here, so it takes some doing each spring to get acclimated to the heat.   This year, we had a cooler than normal April, but now we are having almost record high heat daily.   Below I listed the things I do to run in the extreme heat and humidity of South MS, and even worse, South LA (more humid).

This is what I do: 
*during my running break,  I walked in the afternoon heat to try to get ready for my return to running.
*I eat before 85% of my runs.  I am weird in that I get nauseated if I do not eat prior to a run.
*I'm also sure to drink a LOT of water before heading out the door in the summer, probably around 16 oz. of water,  plus several cups of decaf coffee.
*I drop waters so that I have water every 20 min. or sometimes I wear a hydration belt.
*If I'm going over 1:40 (10 miles for me in the summer), I will also drop some Gatorade too.  I drink some Gatorade and some water.  I have Gatorade around 45-60 min. and then every 45-60 min., and continue with water every 20 min
*If I'm going over 2:00 (12 miles for me in the summer), I will also use gels (I prefer Gu chocolate), starting at 1 hour and then every 45 min beyond that. 
   I started experimenting with Accelerade gels over the winter which have an "all-natural whey protein and carbohydrates in a patented 4:1 ratio to help aid athlete performance and speed recovery."
*My pace naturally slows with the heat.
*When I get back, I drink another large glass of water and continue drinking throughout the day.
  If I'm running in the evening I try to drink extra during the day and drink a large glass (16 oz) prior to running in the evening. 
* A nice extra treat - a couple of years ago we started putting rags in the cooler with the drinks.  For our long runs we run a 5 mile loop and we put coolers out around 2.5 miles and 5 miles with water, Gatorade, and wet icy rags to cool our face.  It's so refreshing.   Depending on our mileage we may be doing the loop several times, but it's convenient for water stops. (we alternate water/Gatorade duty each week).  If I run solo, it's typically not as luxurious.  It may be hot waters, and hot Gatorade by the time I make it to my stops.
*If I plan to race, I plan runs that will be run at the same time as the race.  Last year in June, I ran a half marathon that started at 6:00 am.  In preparing for it, I had several runs that started at 8:00 which should be the time that I was finishing the half marathon.  Also, this year, I plan to run some 5ks later in the summer, so I will have many runs that start at 8:00 or 8:30 to get ready to run a race in the heat.

This seems to work for me.  Several years ago a friend and I were out on a run in Aug.  We did not have enough water and we both had a horrible, horrible long run.  We both still remember that day clearly.  Yes, it's a pain to prep, but for me, and her, we decided on that day not to duplicate that run.  I takes some extra work, but  it's worth it, for the hopes of a decent summer run.  It seems to work, I haven't had another run as memorable as that horrible run several years ago.   Typically, by mid June I have adjusted to the heat and it doesn't seem to be as big an issue as April and May when I am getting acclimated to it.

Some of the recommendations on a fb comment yesterday:
These were posted by Ben and Terry - good info for most people

*drink a lot of water throughout the day. Even on days when you are not training. 
*it does take some time to get acclimated to the heat. 
*try Endurolytes. They are capsules with electroyltes/salts/etc.
* slow down. Running in the heat is hard, even when acclimated to it. You can't run with the same speed you did a few weeks ago when the temperatures were cooler and the humidity was lower.
* Start out your runs hydrated and continue to drink fluids during the run. Especially if the run exceeds 40 minutes. For my lunch runs in the summer I make sure I drink a 20 ounce bottle of Gatorade/Powerade 1 hour before the run and another 20 ounce bottle right after the run.
* Sports drinks are better than water for drinking during exercise. They absorb more quickly, help prevent hyponatremia, and provide muscles with energy.
* Run when it is cooler if you can – early morning is best.
* You will gain a considerable amount of heat acclimation within the first two weeks but your body will continue to adapt for weeks as the temperatures continue to climb.
*Slow down. Even after your body has reached its maximum acclimation to the heat you can't excise as hard as you did when it was cooler.
*Try the electrolyte tablets that Ben suggests. I do use them (on occassion) prior to a run if the run is going to take me an hour or more, but I don't normally use them during the run-just Gatorade/Powerade.
* If you are taking gels during the run I'd suggest drinking water, not a Sports drink, with those. Too much sugar in your stomach will SLOW absorption. Gels should be taken with water. AND
First week back!
14 miles of slow running
2 runs with friends
1 yoga class
4 days of core work, yoga poses, and some stretching
9 miles walking

One last note:  If you are not a summer runner, you can become one if you WANT to.  Many years ago, I would cut my mileage WAY back during the summer and I would say "I just can't run in the summer."  A few years ago, I was determined to do it.  I wanted it, so I made it happen.  Now I have learned to really enjoy summer running, especially when I make it to the middle of June.  

What works for you to conquer summer running?   What about runners in areas that have much less variation in season like South FL and Southern CA?  Do you stay acclimated to the heat year around, or how does the heat effect you? 

Weight Loss Mama is doing a giveway.  Check it out here.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

1 month of walking

1 1/2 days from now I will start the long journey back into running condition.  Most of you know on April 19th, I ran my first Boston marathon.  That was my last run.  I promised myself I would take a month off after Boston, and I have honored my body and mind with a break.  Why would I do it?  For me, it seems to be that running is very deep in my soul.  I like to think I will still be at it 30 years from now.  Will I, only time will tell, but in the mean time, I like to increase the odds of that happening by taking some mini breaks.  The other reason is I think our bodies deserve and need some down time to be able to climb to the next level.  I know mine does anyway.  One other reason is the whole "trick the body" type of philosophy.   When I start back, my body will be revving into high gear again, and hopefully burning some extra calories. 

So for the past 4 weeks my exercise has been walking.  Nope,  I never aired up the tires on the bike.  Each day I walked my minimum, which is 30 minutes, and that was it.  I think I had 2 or 3 days that I walked a little longer.  No yoga, no stretching, no weights, no schedule, no demand,  just walking. 

MS Therapy!
Horses on the hill!  More therapy! (MS)
LA Bayou therapy!
Back in MS - new pavement - just in time to welcome me back to running. Nice and cushiony!
Thoughts from 4 weeks of walking
1st 3 weeks - "I can't wait to run again"
4th week - "I may be too lazy to run again"
This week is another year of my exercising streak.  9 years ago, I said I would exercise for 30 minutes each day.  (2 other ladies committed too, I will not mention any names, but let me just say,  this has been a solo streak)  (also in full disclosure - I did have 1 day when I only went for 20 minutes - also some days would barely qualify as exercise - so I say 9 years of 30 minutes of movement.  When I'm sick- it's down to a stroll)
I am very thankful for my health, desire, and hard-head to "get out the door" each day.  Also, I'm thankful for family and friends who occasionally go with me to complete the daily task.  (my sister has been with me at 11:30pm to get it in just in time, and she has also been at the unGodly hour of 3:30 am.  In fact, in the 9 years, I may have covered every hour on the clock, just to "get it done"  Hubby and Scarlett (our dog) have been with me many days - I love our walking time together)
 One of my favorite pics of Scarlett.  (that's some photographer to get her sticking her tongue out, right?)

So YES, I'm a streaker!  I never told you that :)!   I will keep it going until something comes up that keeps me from getting in my 30 minutes during a 24 hour period.  
I like to say 
"It Must Be Done!"

Saturday, May 1, 2010

2 weeks AB (after Boston) - Serious Slacker here!

Today I have been catching up on bloggie world and what becomes apparent over and over ....
I promised myself I would take a month off of running after Boston.  I am sticking to that promise, but as I read all of the blogs everyone is back to running and many are even racing already.  Wow!

For me, it has been a long hard FIGHT to get to Boston (years).  After finally qualifying in Oct. 2009, and becoming even more motivated, I injured my hip in a half marathon PR race at the end of Nov.  So, I didn't get to train exactly as I wanted to Boston, but I did manage to complete my long runs and made it to the starting line.  Woo Hoo!  Mission accomplished!  With that all said and done,  I will continue to honor my efforts with 2 more weeks of rest from running.  In the mean time, I will continue to walk, or possibly bike some, if I get motivated to air up the tires.

What's next?  Upon my return to running  - 2 weeks and 1 day from now - oh yes, I'm counting,  I will work on getting my base back for the first 4 weeks.  After the 4 weeks of grueling heat acclimation ,  I will then add speed work.  As I type, I can hardly stand it.

Hello speed work - I have missed you so much, I promise to reunite with you soon.    

Later in the summer I would like to work on getting my 5k times down.   I realize summer in MS is not the time to work on fast 5ks, but I will work toward improving my time as much as possible in the heat and humidity.   This will lead me into training for something in the fall.  Currently, I am thinking about the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, AL in Dec., but haven't totally committed yet.   Anyone want to meet me in Huntsville to run a marathon?  What about you Jennifer, have you decided on your next marathon? 

So many marathons, so little time, too much recovery needed.