It’s too hot | By MTD Local Hero Mark Cameron
With temperatures reaching record levels over in mainland Europe and the thermometers tipping the 30 degree mark at Maverick East Sussex, our team member Mark has written a piece on how to cope with running in the heat. Mark has given us 6 points on how to cope in temperatures that quite frankly here in the UK we aren’t accustomed to. Enjoy the read whether your cooped up in an office with a stack of work, or basking outside with an iced coffee knowing that as Mark says ‘it won’t last forever’. So don’t use the heat as a reason not to do your running, use it as a motivator to get some serious Vitamin D and some slick tan lines.
Happy reading Mavericks. Let’s just hope it doesn’t get too much hotter as Marks fifth point suggests he copes by wearing fewer clothes… if you’ve ever seen Mark run, you’ll agree with us that he doesn’t have all that many clothes to take off!
It’s too hot | MTD Local Hero - Mark Cameron
Wow, what a scorcher it was this weekend – not just here in the UK but even more so across the channel in mainland Europe where friends were running in the mountains of Italy, France, and elsewhere in temperatures far higher than us Brits were experiencing. As we like to do in Britain, we moaned about the weather – it wasn’t too cold or too wet, it was too warm!
Too warm to run, a reason to not even start because it was “too hot”, a reason to drop down a distance because it was “too warm”, or a reason to not smash a personal best or podium because it was “scorching”.
We get weather like this so infrequently, it appears quickly and then just as suddenly we get thunderstorms, rain, and it’s cooler again. We don’t have time to adapt, so whilst it’s great to kick back, relax, enjoy a BBQ or time at the beach, basically anything that involves a low heart rate, when it comes to exercise, whether it be run, cycle, or whatever else, things become “hard”.
You may not realise it at the time but when things get hard you improve, in “normal” weather conditions things get hard when you elevate your heart rate, and then you rest. You won’t feel comfortable at this higher level, but then over time you adapt, and uncomfortable becomes less uncomfortable. It will never become comfortable, if it does then you’re not trying .
I’m a heavy runner, my doctor and his BMI chart tells me I’m obese, but I like to think of it as well muscled. Regardless of whether it’s fat or muscle, bottom line is I sweat a lot when running, and I melt in the heat. Doesn’t matter if it’s 1km or 50km, once I’m moving I overheat quickly, so “it’s too hot” is a useful excuse to not go out – but that’s not a good enough excuse.
What I’ve learnt over time is to do a number of very easy things to cope;
Re-set my expectations – I won’t smash a time or a finishing position, but I will have a great time out in the country air, soak up some vitamin D and not get cold.
I need to slow down – or even I will run/walk. Yes I will be slower, but then I’ll have more time to enjoy the day out and to chat to other people. This weekend at the Maverick East Sussex I quickly realised I’d struggle to run the entire long distance route so I changed to a run 4 minutes/walk 1 minute strategy, I finished strong and happy and even faster than I’d planned if I’d be running.
I will need more fluid – so make sure I take it with me, don’t prepare to fail or blame others for a lack of water stations. Top up the water with a decent hydration tablet, at Maverick races there’s always a good stash of Precision Hydration options to use.
I won’t need as much food – sounds a bit wrong this one as I will take longer to complete a distance, however by slowing down and even run/walking, my heart rate is lower and so I can cope on less food. I compensate this with more liquid, far more important.
I don’t need as many clothes – I see people dressed as if it’s spring or autumn, long leggings and tops, hats with no ventilation, etc. I really wouldn’t worry what other people think of what you look like, I wore tiny little shorts and a tatty old vest this weekend, I’d worry more about how you feel and if your clothes make you feel hot even before you’ve started then strip back to the minimum. If you turn up at a Maverick race and feel over-dressed for the occasion, go check the Inov8 stand, there’s often a great selection of massively reduced kit for sale.
Bottom line, make sure you enjoy the nice weather – it won’t last forever, soon you can go back to moaning the good weather never lasts ☺.
Embrace the weather, make adaptions, grow stronger by digging in when the going gets tough, and by the time autumn comes along you’ll be smashing those personal bests no problem.