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Posts Tagged ‘race training’

Summer HEAT: How to Run, Train, and Race!

Summer Heat: How to Run, Train, and Race!

Ambassador Blogger: Meghan Kennihan

MeghanKennihan-bio_pic

 

Medi-Dyne Ambassador: Meghan Kennihan

@TrainWithMeghan

It’s that time again. The hottest part of the summer.  Heat is probably one of the worst uncontrollable elements runners face. The effects of heat and humidity on your training and racing not only cause suffering in the moment but also hinder your recovery.

The Problems with HEAT:

Sweat and Fluid Loss:

Running in the heat causes your core body temperature to rise which means you start to feel worse and worse just like when you have a fever. Heat impacts runners at a physiological level through dehydration, increased heart rate, and reduced blood flow/oxygen to the muscles used for running. Your body cools itself and maintains balance through sweat. Sweat has a cooling effect on the body because it removes excess heat through evaporation. However, the rate of evaporation and how well the body is cooled depends on the humidity. When humidity is low, evaporation increases and you will be able to cool yourself better but you will be losing fluid quickly. When humidity is high, evaporation decreases, less cooling occurs and you suffer even more. The fluid loss and dehydration from fluid loss also effects running performance, a loss of 2% of body weight leads to about 4-6% drop in performance.

Heart Rate and Blood Flow:

Another problem is that temperature and humidity increase your heart rate and amplify these effects. At 60-75 degrees your heart rate increases by 2-4 beats per minute. From 75-90 degrees it can increase up to 10 beats per minute and the humidity will make it increase even more. Rate of perceived exertion are much greater as temperature and humidity rise too. Making matters worse is that when you sweat your blood volume decreases which means  less blood returns to your heart, less reaches your hard working muscles and  you produce less energy. This will cause you to run slower at a given effort level.  For every 10 degree increase in air temperature above 55 degrees there is a 1.5-3% increase in average finishing time for a marathon. (i.e. An extra 3-6 minutes for a 3:30 marathon with every 10 degree increase).  Another issue is that when the heat needs to be dissipated, a lot of the blood also gets diverted to the skin.  Again, the oxygen is redirected via blood flow to your skin instead of your muscles, thus you have less energy for running and your heart and lungs have to work harder to make up for the loss. Higher heart rate at a set pace and higher perceived exertion are the result.

Slow Recovery:

Heat and humidity effect your recovery too! After you exercise in hot conditions, your body needs to spend more energy on cooling itself rather than delivering nutrients to your muscles who need the repair. The muscles have been damaged by the workout but  can’t get the nutrients they need to repair  and recovery is slower. Slower recovery can mean that you might not be ready for  your next hard workout or race.

Enough of the BAD NEWS! Let’s figure out what to do about it!

Train in the Heat:

Training alone provides a bit of an adaption because a side effect of running is an increase in total plasma volume and blood which plays an important role in the cooling process, so the fittest athletes typically have the highest plasma volume and can therefore adapt more easily to heat. Running in hot conditions can result in making it easier to maintain a faster pace, reduce rate of perceived exertion, higher blood plasma volume, increased sweat rate, decrease in salt in sweat, reduced heart rate at a given pace and temperature, and a quicker onset of sweating.  How about that for some great changes just from training? And bonus! it only about 2 weeks of heat exposure. Still, heat acclimatization can only take you so far…

Adjust Your Pace Expectations:

It is smart to adjust expectations when running in the heat… learn to adjust the level of effort or intensity based on what your body is signaling to you.  It’s important that you find ways to adjust your workout times and race paces to reflect how you’ll perform in hot conditions. There are plenty of “temperature” calculators for running where you enter your race times and the temperature and they will adjust your expectations for you. Thank you technology!

Hydrate Properly:

Staying hydrated is essential to your run performance and training.  Dehydration in athletes leads to fatigue, headaches, decreased coordination, and muscle cramping. In extreme cases heat exhaustion and heatstroke, can occur. Runners need to pay attention to what and how much they’re drinking before, during and after exercise especially in the hot summer months.

 Before Your Runs:

If you are training or racing for an hour or more it’s important to make sure you are well hydrated for a few days before. How do you know you are well-hydrated? You should eliminate pale urine at least six times a day. In days leading up to your long run, race, or hard training day make sure you drink plenty of water and nonalcoholic beverages. Alcohol Before your run drink about 16 ounces of water or electrolyte drink like Nuun or coconut water.

During Your Runs:

Drinking on the Run is EASY just drink to thirst. Scientific evidence says that drinking when you’re thirsty can help prevent underhydrating or overhydrating.

Research has shown that sports drinks enhance performance significantly more than plain water in high-intensity and long-duration runs and races.
Some good sports drinks are Nuun, Osmo, Skratch Labs, and Hammer Nutrition.

Your Unique Sweat Rate:

Everyone’s fluid needs are different. The above guidelines are general but some sweat more than others. If you want to get scientific about your hydration needs. You can determine your sweat rate by weighing yourself naked before one of your training runs, and then again after. One pound of weight loss equals 1 pint of water loss. Calculate your sweat rate and use this to determine your fluid needs during a run or race. For example, if you lose 3 pounds during an hour run, that’s 3 pints or 48 ounces. So having about 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes would be helpful to your performance. Weather conditions will also affect your sweat rate and hydration needs so doing this test in different temperatures will provide you with even more accurate results.

After Your Run:

Drink 20 to 24 fl oz. of water for every pound lost after your run. If your urine is dark yellow, you need to keep rehydrating. It should be a light lemonade color.

Dress the Part:

 Dress appropriately for the weather. Your running clothes including your socks should be light in color and made of a wicking technical fiber. Technical fabrics pull moisture away from your body, keeping you cooler. Try to avoid 100% cotton, these fabrics absorb sweat and do not dry quickly which weighs down the clothing and can cause chafing. Make sure you apply 2Toms to all possible chafing areas like toes, heels, nipples, between the legs to ensure a comfortable run.

Pre-Cooling:

Another technique is pre-cooling. Pre-cooling is a technique that is used to lower your core body temperature before running. This ideally extends the amount of time you can run before your core temperature raises so high that it hurts your performance. Recent studies have shown that pre-cooling can significantly improve performance in hot and humid conditions. One study reported that pre-cooling can boost performance by 16%.  The best way to pre-cool is with a cooling vest that you wear 10-20 minutes before your run or race. However, if you don’t have the money for a vest you can eat a freeze pop or frozen sports drink slushy 10-20 minutes before your run. Another option is using frozen towels on your head and neck on your way to the track or trailhead.

You can do EVERYTHING I have mentioned above but when it comes down to the bottom line. It’s YOUR ATTITUDE. Instead of getting discouraged because you have to train, run, or race in the heat realize that everyone is dealing with the same conditions and have faith in yourself and have FUN! Be grateful you are running!

 

About Meghan:

Meghan is a USA Track & Field coach and a RRCA (Road Runners of America) certified distance coach. She is a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and a level 3 USA Cycling Coach. She has over 12 years of experience teaching spin classes, weight-lifting, and group exercise. Meghan is also an experienced runner, ultrarunner, and triathlete competing, winning, and placing in 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, marathons, ultra distances, and triathlons. She also holds multiple state Powerlifting records. Learn more about Meghan www.trainwithmeghan.com

Medi-Dyne is proud to have Meghan as an Athlete Ambassador.

Flexibility During Marathon Training: The Stink Scare

Welcome to Craig’s Corner: Running, Stretching, and Training Tips from Craig.

Craig DiGiovanni. VP of Sales & Marketing, Medi-Dyne Healthcare Products. Avid Runner. Wannabe Marathoner.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, being flexible helps you to stay quick on your feet… and may even keep you smelling better.   Yes, this is a bit of a tease, but it does have some relevance.

Just before dawn I was out for my morning run with my trusty sidekick Sunnie (my yellow lab and constant running companion).  About a mile into my run I caught a quick glimpse of something moving on the path ahead of me.  At about the same time that my eyes began to focus my brain began to register what I was seeing, the unmistakable white stripe on the black tail sticking up in the air.…..SKUNK!   A quick pivot put me into an immediate about face. Thankfully Sunnie hadn’t seen the skunk otherwise the chase would have been on and so would the STINK!

I am now running in the opposite direction. I get about 200 yards down the path when all of a sudden, Sunnie growls and takes off running toward the woods.  Yep, another SKUNK!    First, I yelled, “NOOO!  Heel!”  And then my fight or flight instinct kicked in… I RUN!!!!

Flexibility does not wait in situations like that.  You either have it or you don’t.   (Of course, the onset of a day’s worth of adrenaline didn’t hurt!)    A few strides later I smell that distinctive odor.  With miles ahead of me my only focus now was on an unavoidable tomato juice bath for Sunnie and the trashing of my favorite running clothes and shoes!   Not a happy runner at this point.

As I continue to run the smell seems to dissipate.    Not sure at this point if it is my wishful thinking or not, but I figured I might as well keep going.  Thinking the worst is behind me, I start to smell the smell again, and it’s getting stronger.   Putting two and two together I realize that it must be in front of me.   Thankfully the sun had begun to rise, bringing enough light to see the now too familiar, dreaded black tail ahead of us on the trail.  Cue the quick pivot change of direction again!

About a mile into yet another alternate route, I let down my guard and set in to enjoy the rest of the run.  But no!  Reminiscent (no pun intended) of a “B Horror” movie, the enemy kept popping up everywhere.  It was after this final sighting that I decided home might be the only safe place at this point.  Once I got there, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that neither Sunnie or I were casualties of the “Stink”.  All’s well that ends well.

But I did learn a few things…

  1. Flexibility is often needed when you may least expect it. This would include not only running from Skunks, but also avoiding things on your running path that come out of nowhere.  But you can’t rely on what you don’t have.  Therefore, flexibility preparation is critical.   If you don’t prepare, injury beware!
  2. As my grandmother used to say, don’t count your chickens before they hatch. There are many things that might affect your training sessions, so being able to adjust your plan is essential to success. Again, being prepared is key.
  3. If there is one skunk around, there’s a good chance there are more!
  4. Running isn’t just good exercise and mind clearing, it can also be a real adventure.

OK, enough about the “stink scare”.   Maybe next time I’ll take on less of a challenge.  How about Achilles tendonitis?