Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fight the Pudge

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!

26 comments:

DaveP said...

You forgot "train with a partner" They sould keep an eye on you (and vice versa) in case there are any problems.

I'm just lucky to be that partner for the bike.

Mel-2nd Chances said...

great post and list of reminders. Sadly, I think global warming and summer have forgotten about Toronto, so we're patiently waiting for some warmth and seasonal temps to arrive.

Wendy said...

Training smart -- it's the best!

My mantra these days is "Keep on Thinking!". Training with good technique is the only way to race with good technique -- so no junk miles!

jen said...

I like your list. I think it is a great idea to embrace the heat- Like hills, or a wind on the bike, it definitely makes you stronger. And it lets you enjoy the cool, flat runs even more. I'm going to keep all your ideas in mind as it is going to be very hot here this week!

Jade Lady said...

So methodical! I say you're much better than fighting pudge than I!

The Alien said...

That's a great list to help during training. I have to start using some of them!

RBR said...

Great advice. Thank you. I am a serious "heat avoidance" offender and I am concerned that this will cost me at Barb's (AGAIN) this year. I prefer to run very early when it is cooler, but that is NOT when you run for a triathlon, now is it? I am going to remember this for next summer as I build to Vineman and not make this mistake again.

Thank you!

Cliff said...

I love the heat.

I remmeber a few years ago i was training in hot temp to the point where my body adapts to it.

Very cool (or hot) stuff.

Yes training in the heat makes you stronger mentally.

EndorphinBuzz said...

I think about ice cream to get me through the hottest parts.

Bootchez said...

See, my problem is that I embrace the pudge. I've got something wrong with me . . .

Seriously, thanks for the great tips. I *do* try to embrace the heat, and find that hydration is the key. I don't quite know how I would deal with HUMIDITY, which I would think would be even harder than heat.

Marlene said...

That's some great advice and good reminders - thanks!

Runner Leana said...

Embracing the heat...heat... What's that? We are finally getting some days here where the temps are getting into the low to mid 80s. Nothing compared to what you have to deal with, so I don't have any tips!

X-Country2 said...

All great tips. I take the time to appreciate the tan on Monday morning after a hard weekend of working out. Makes it just a little easier to sweat it out the following Saturday. Bronzer be damned!

WADDLER26.2 said...

I hate the heat and don't do well. But cold beer at the finish is always good incentive

WADDLER26.2 said...

I hate the heat and don't do well. But cold beer at the finish is always good incentive

lizzie lee said...

I know the feeling, when people tell me: are you gonna run in the rain? If not I would never run... as it always rains around here... Though since June we have had a long and stubborn HOT summer between 75-85... !!!!!!!

aron said...

love this list... thanks for posting it!! very helpful. i haven ever seen that calculator either, so that is something i will be using!

cami said...

Great list. Running in Florida temps sound really good right now wish I was there. :)

Regina said...

I wish I had some heat to train in. It has been a very cool summer here. Sunday's race is supposed to be hot and I'm not sure how I will do in heat, since I haven't had a chance to see.

Great list though and some really good reminders, I especially like the last one. I didn't know there were any hills in FL, I always thought it was flat, flat, flat.

I was happy to read your brother is doing so well, thanks for the comment. I am so happy to be doing this race with TNT.

Meg Runs said...

That heat training advice sounds right but it's SOOO hard for me!!

lindsay said...

an excellent list! i know i really need to be better about post-run stretching and ice baths! they feel especially nice in the warm months, and lol about the memory loss:)

P.O.M. said...

It's been so much hotter this year everywhere it seems. I know my training runs are more strenous - but hopefully that will be a good thing :)

I really need the hydrating reminder. I should put it in my outlook so it will alert me every hour. ha ha.

Sunshine said...

You look terrific.. but I sure do encourage you to keep an eye on any little bit of pudge. It does
creep in.
Happy training.

RoadBunner said...

I also want to start logging weather/nutrition. The weather especially makes a huge difference for me!

Petraruns said...

Inspirational list Shirley and I agree. After all my moaning about running in the heat I can't tell you how nice it is to be running in the cool (even though I'm not quite back at where I want to be yet). My next investment is going to a HR monitor - I can see that it is a better way of monitoring effort.

You never strike me as someone who even has pudge but it's reassuring to hear you do - and it makes your achievements even more admirable. Carry on girl you're doing great!

jeanne said...

fighting pudge? pudge to me=that stuff surrounding my hips! and it resists all enemies!

good list. I need to wean myself off the treadmill at the air-conditioned Y!