This summer, the heat has really been a factor in training.
Thanks to record temps across the west and midwest, where I do the majority of my overnights, running outside has been, interesting, to say the least. I've done some morning runs as early as 4 am to beat the heat, and even those have been hot at times! Furthermore, I've learned a few things about my body and how it responds to uber hot temperatures.
I run very hot. In other words, I heat up quick and I sweat a lot. I remember when I was younger playing hockey I was a sweaty hockey player, which is kind of ironic when you're playing in a 10 degree ice arena (or -20, if it was a high school home game!). I also have learned something about taking in fluids. It's best to take in a ton of fluid the day BEFORE I do a long run, so I don't get that sloshy feeling in my stomach.
Today, I went for a 7.5 mile run in Wichita. It was 97 degrees. About two weeks ago, I did this same run at a 9:52 per mile. But I did it at 7:15 in the morning, when it was 65 degrees, so we're looking at a 32 degree difference. Very significant. I forced myself to dial it back, because I knew I had a long way to go. I also cherished every ounce of shade on the run and every breeze that kicked up. I carried my fuel belt with water and flat Pepsi. Although both got warm, they were very refreshing and kept me going.
I'd say around 4 miles in, after I made the turnaround point, my body decided it had enough. I kind of felt like a horse who fell apart at the 3/4 pole and needed a whip to get moving. I've noticed on hot runs, this happens. My body breaks down very quickly. The important thing is to keep moving, even if I walk. I think about the Ironman that I want to attempt in 2013, and I know as a weaker runner, that if I stop, I probably will stop for good that day. So it's a lesson in determination and drive.
Running hot definitely wears me out, but there's a bit of pride in it. While other athletes are sitting inside taking the day off, or are on the treadmill, I'm out there putting in the miles I need to succeed. :-)