Well, I'm back in Orlando now and the first couple workouts here have gone well. But this was sort of a recovery week and Mother Nature foiled my plans to run 8 miles in the heat of the day by brewing up a thunderstorm. It was 91 degs (heat index 99) when I started out and it dropped down to 82 degs (HI 87) by the time I got done -- Heavenly!
But I know I won't always be so lucky so I must continue to fight the pudge. Pudge?
Yes, for me, this is mainly excess adipose tissue in between my ears that causes me to want to be lazy and take the easy way out, or seek comfort in doing only the things I want to work on, which are not usually the things I need to work on. It has also been known to lead to FS (Fathead Syndrome) whereby I think I can pull a rabbit out of a hat without having either a rabbit or a hat.
Like here at my first-ever tri.
What idiot thinks you really don't need to be comfortable in water to swim 400m?
But this year, I'm committed to fighting the pudge, specifically, training hard but also training smart. The Great Floridian, the first of my two iron tris, is notoriously hot and hilly (for FL). Only the swim will probably be in sub-80 deg temps.
So I've been compiling a list of things to help me stay motivated out in the heat whilst most folks I know near me are doing their best to avoid it. FWIW, here's what I got:
- Make sure to stay well hydrated. This is an obvious one but one that I still struggle with as I hate to stop to pee during a bike ride or run. It's getting better, though. I'm planning my routes more carefully to go by places to refill my fluid bottles and make pit stops, as well as giving my body more time to do its business before heading out. One good thing about "wanting" to train in the heat is I don't have to leave super early and can go whenever I feel ready.
- Prepare for the worst. Coach says there's nothing like training in heat - painful sometimes but it will really help you get your nutrition down and be ready for anything on race day. Nuff said.
- Bring a little of Hawaii with you. This may not apply to everyone but wearing one of several colorful items I bought there makes the heat seem more tolerable. I remember the island's beauty and am also reminded that someday I hope to qualify for a certain Kona race and that racing well in heat is a must for that.
- Log weather conditions and HR too. Like logging food or weight, numbers only make sense if you know their context and what's right for you. Faster is not better if you're working way outside your target HR zone and progress can be seen even if you don't go any faster in the same conditions but are able to do so at a lower HR. Weather numbers will also be useful for the next item.
- Use the Daniels Running Calculator. Seeing what your equivalent running times/paces would likely be in cooler temps will make you feel better about running slower in heat. My recent Kona half marathon time of 1:40:26, for instance, is equivalent to a 1:37:33 in 60 degrees or less. Only 26 seconds off my half mary PR!
- Compare your performance relative to others'. Just because a PR is unlikely at a hot race doesn't mean you can't still race well. More often than not when it's hot, I find that I move up in the AG and overall standings, which is always nice. Bring on global warming! JK ;-)
- Remember that training in heat will make you stronger. It's a hardship that your body and mind can adapt to and will become stronger from. I should be taking advantage of all that I have right outside my door. Do athletes who live in Colorado avoid training on hills or at altitude?
- Cool your body down ASAP when you're done. Dipping in a cool pool or sitting in an ice water bath while sipping a cold recovery drink feels soooo good after a hot long workout. They are also great for short term memory loss so I can get out there and do it again.
Feel free to leave your tips on embracing the heat or fighting pudge in general!