Friday, June 22, 2012

New Flash: Heat Makes Running Harder

Those of you living along the eastern seaboard have probably been experiencing the same heatwave that struck us this week in New York. We went from temperatures that were slightly below average for June to temperatures that are slightly above average for a pizza oven. I don't mind running in the heat so much, but doing speed work in the heat is a whole different story.

When it comes to speed work in the heat, there are several options. The first one is: don't do it. But, any of you who read about my Boston race know I refuse to let heat stop me. You could also take your run inside to the treaddreadmill (but then again, you could also put a sharp metal object in your eye--that doesn't mean it's a good idea). Another option is to do your workout in the pre-dawn hours or after sundown. This is what I did last summer, but now that I'm running with a team, I have to run when they do.

Alright, so I just laid out three ways to cope with the heat and shot each one of them down. Why? Because there's a fourth option--adjust your workout. You can still get a great workout by either slowing the pace a little, reducing the number of reps or total distance, or doing some combination of the two. If you want to know how to adjust your speed for the heat, this handy calculator lets you plug in your normal speed and what equivalent speeds are as the mercury rises.

I used the adjustment strategy in my workout last night. We were scheduled to do 6 sets of 4x200 at 5k pace. Rather than adjust the pace too much, I cut the final set (so 5 sets of 4x200) and increased the rest in between sets. That way I was still able to get in a decent workout without killing myself. And then of course, I had my secret weapon lined up, a post-run ice cream from Ample Hills Creamery.

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