A coaching friend used to say “Heat is our Friend” It didn’t seem that way today as I slogged along miserably, forced to take several walk and shade breaks to cool off during my long run!
The summer temperatures and brutal humidity of Eastern North Carolina make for a nasty combination. Running in July can be akin to training on a treadmill in a steam room, you go nowhere while drowning in sweat! You can’t run fast enough to improve speed or run long enough to improve endurance before core temperature and dehydration become a limiting factors. Throw in pancake flat terrain and minimal shade, Eastern NC in July becomes what one of my runners once described as training in “Satan’s Anus"!
I once thought it impossible for a distance runner to train successfully in these conditions. But my coach (Bill Carson) pointed out Florida Track Club (with Olympians Frank Shorter, Jack Bachelor and Jeff Galloway) successfully trained in Gainesville Fl back in the 60’s and 70’s. Carson had been an assistant at Florida in the 60's so he saw firsthand the results of training in the heat. So how did they achieve such success in the heat?
It turns out that training in hot and humid conditions can produce effects sim
ilar to altitude training. The basic premise is hot and humidity forces the body to utilize H20 to aid in the cooling process, thus reducing blood volume. The result is a higher ratio of plasma to red blood cells (which carry hemoglobin), causing the body to overcompensate by producing more hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is where the blood carries oxygen, which distance runners need for to fuel their activity. You gain positive training effects training at higher volume with lower intensities. The body also becomes more efficient at cooling. With altitude training you see the results you see the results when you return to sea level, with heat training you see the results when the weather cools off.
For a more scientific explanation (in common terms) read: https://www.outsideonline.com/2415257/heat-training-benefits-2020-study
Now, running in the heat can be miserable, and even dangerous! As you sweat more your hydration level drops. Dehydration diminishes your body’s ability to cool itself so your core temperature rises to unsafe levels!
Here are a few tips on how to get the most out of summer training while staying safe:
Finally, realize that running in the heat will sap you, make you feel out of shape and that can demoralize a runner! Keep your focus on the long term benefits and know that you will reap the benefits if you are consistent (and safe) in your summer training.
ACCEPTING THE CHALLENGE
The first step in becoming a serious runner!
That was the title of a column I read in "Running" magazine back in the early 1980's. It was written by Marty Liquori, a world class runner, and one of my running heroes. The column was summary of the book Marty had written on training for a serious runner. Over the years I have searched for a copy of the article and was thrilled when the article below popped up on my suggested reading list.
On first reading it I thought Marty was a little over the top, but eventually I began to understand his concepts. His point was, if you want serious results from your running, you need to be serious about your running. A serious runner makes running a focal point of their daily routines. It's OK not to make running the focal point of your life, but don't expect extraordinary results with a less than great commitment.
You can be a runner with/out eating/sleeping/breathing the sport of running, BUT if you truly want to achieve great running results, you have to make running your focal point. This is true with most any endeavor/sport that you want to be great at. Don't fool yourself into thinking you are serious unless you prioritize your running. This doesn't mean that you can't do other things, but make a point of planning out your running so that you get it in, and that it doesn't take a backseat to distractions and other things. Take care of getting rest, eating properly, etc.
This concept made a lasting impression on me as a young runner. It changed how I thought about my training and commitment, and set me on a a course to become a true competitive runner.
I recently found the complete series of articles (19 pages total) of which is a condensed version of Marty's book on Training, it is well worth taking a few minutes to read!
As the Styx song says - "Too much time on my hands"!
Being at home offers us more time to run, but also more opportunity for procrastination! Most runners are used to squeezing runs into our normally busy schedules. Now, rather than getting up early we sleep in. When we do get up in the morning we decide to wait until the weather is warmer, or until the wind stops blowing or some other reason. Then the afternoon comes and we get side tracked, or the rain comes, etc.... You know the drill!
Here are tips for adjusting to our new norm.
First have a plan! Know what your running plan is for each week. Start with a rough mileage goal, then plot out your days. Avoid running the same distance and pace each day. You need a long run, some easy days, maybe a tempo day and a day that you can work in some faster "pickups" or "Intervals". Also plan days off as needed!
After you decide what type of run for each day, plan what time of the day you are going to run. Morning, noon or night! Once you make that decision, tell someone in your household so they can help you be accountable!
Finally, decide where to run. A confirmed course gives you a defined start and finish point, so you are less likely to cut your run off early. Loops are sometimes mentally easier to complete as opposed to out and back courses. New locations are often mentally invigorating and make the time go by faster!
A few minutes planning out your run week takes all the decision making out of the day to day so you can accomplish your goals!
To quote Quenton Cassidy (Once a Runner) " These questions had been considered a long time ago, decisions were made, answers recorded, and the book closed. If it had to be re-opened every time the going got rough, he would spend more time rationalizing than training; his log would start to disclose embarrassing information, perhaps blank squares."
Congrats to the DH Conley Vikings for winning the Boys and Girls ECC XC Championship!
Peyton Walters of Conley was the boys champion and Hana Smith of New Bern was the girls champion.
Results are posted online at NC.Milesplit.com
Photos courtesy of Coach Val Rutledge
Boys Mile marker and Finish Line photos
Girls mile marker and finish line photos
Pitt County MS XC championship
Tue, Oct 22, 2019 at Boyd Lee Park
Online web results posted at NC.Milesplit.com
Boys Championship (download PDF)
Girls Championship (download PDF)
Boys JV (download PDF)
Girls JV (download PDF)
PHOTOS - Boys Championship
PHOTOS- Girls Championship
Photos - JV Race
Thank you DH Conley runners for all the help at the finish line!