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Dumbo Double Dare Training - Week Twelve

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"There is a great advantage in training under unfavorable conditions. It is better to train under bad conditions, for the difference is then a tremendous relief in a race." - Emil Zatopek, Olympic distance runner

I’m in Austin this week and at 6:40 p.m. the temperature was still a sizzling 101 degrees. Team MousePlanet padder Jodi is visiting in WA State and is dealing with unseasonably hot temps in the high 90’s. My good friend Runner Bob, who is currently working somewhere in the middle of the desert, sent me an email today where he described the lengths he had to go through this morning to get a long run in while the temp was ‘low’ 86 (!) instead of the triple-digit of the day. His solution involved getting up at 3:35 a.m., hitting the road by 4:00 a.m. (under a beautiful full moon), finishing around 6:30 a.m. after which he showered and headed back to bed to get another hour or two of sleep. Ouch…

No matter where you may be, everyone seems to be dealing with high summer temperatures. Prime running temperatures are generally somewhere in the low 50’s and there are those of us who prefer it even cooler if possible. Given I’m a total weather wimp who has a history of heat exhaustion issues (both times at Disneyland Half Marathons), training at these temps can be a challenge.

In week seven of this blog, we discussed how to survive the very hot weather that typically occurs during the Dumbo Double Dare weekend in Disneyland but given the weather in most of the country has turned pre-seasonably hot, it’s not a bad idea to look at training in hot weather as well and for that we’ll turn to Jeff Galloway who lives and trains in the Atlanta area, for a list of hot weather training survival tips and tricks. I've also added in my two-cents as well.

1. Try Running Early in the Morning
JG: It's the coolest, most serene part of the day, and there's nothing like a morning run to boost your mood all day long.

RF: On the plus side, getting up early in the morning to run is great prep for the 5:30 a.m. starts of the Dumbo Double Dare events!

2. Drink Like Crazy
JG: Even if you don't feel thirsty, drink at least 8 oz. of fluid each hour, and more if you're outside or tend to perspire a lot. You'll run better with adequate fluid intake, and you'll feel better, too. By keeping your water storage high, you'll also improve your body's cooling mechanisms.

RF: Just make sure you know where there are available bathrooms along the route and also carry extra tissue (in a baggie to keep it dry) with you ‘just in case’.

3. Acclimate With Care
JG: You need to acclimate to the heat in a safe and gradual manner, not haphazardly. For the first two weeks of hot weather, do no speed sessions and keep your midday running bouts to 30 easy minutes at most. (You can go longer on cool mornings or evenings.) In 10 days to two weeks, you should be fully acclimated.

4. Go Light and Loose
JG: Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. The former will reflect the sun's rays better; the latter will enable you to take advantage of any breeze, including the one you make by running. The new sports-specific synthetics are better than cotton, too. They stay drier and wick moisture better than natural fibers do.

RF: Take this into consideration as you are planning your running attire for the Dumbo Double Dare weekend and that especially includes those running in costume. Many costume materials are not made for running and will not breathe well in hot conditions. It’s not worth being miserable in the heat just to look cute at the start.


5. Screen it Out
JG: To protect yourself from skin cancer and other skin damage use sunscreen liberally. Do so even on partly cloudy days; harmful ultraviolet rays are not blocked by cloud cover. Another benefit: Sunscreen can decrease your skin and body temperatures, so you'll stay cooler during exercise.

RF: Even though may be dark at the start, make sure you sunscreen up prior to leaving the house or hotel if there is a chance you are going to be out past sunrise. Once you’re out and running, it’s easy to forget sunscreen until it’s too late.

6. Maximize Head Room
JG: You lose a major portion of body heat through your head, which is bad in winter but good in summer. So on hot days, don't cover your noggin tightly with a hat. Cover it, for sure, but with a loose-fitting hat, preferably made of mesh or some other breathable material.

RF: Keep this in mind as you are planning running costumes for the Dumbo Double Dare weekend. While Mouse ears or a Stitch head may look cute, they do not breathe well and will hold heat in. You may also consider running with a neck cover as that is a prime burn area.

7. Pour it on
JG: There's nothing like the psychological relief of pouring cold water over your head on a hot run. But don't depend on it to keep your body temperature down, because it won't. To help you do that, you need to drink the water.

RF: Put a sponge under your cap to hold in any water you may dump on yourself. Keep an eye out for sprinklers running in the early morning as well and if possible, revisit your childhood and make a quick pass through them to cool off.


8. Start Slowly
JG: I'm a big proponent of doing this in all seasons, but starting your run slowly is particularly beneficial on hot days. The slower you start, the longer you'll keep your body heat from reaching the misery threshold. If you normally run at an eight-minute mile pace, for example, do your first mile at a 10-minute pace.

RF: At this point in the training program, it should be all about getting out and getting your mileage up. Faster times will come later with cooler temperatures.

9. Head for Water

JG: Running near water—whether it's along a river, lake or ocean—is usually cooler and breezier. Urban streams often have paths running alongside of them, if you take the time to explore. And even if the air temperature is about the same, you'll likely feel cooler just being near water.

RF: I’ve found a small battery-operated personal-size fan and a water spritz bottle work well if you are stuck indoors running on a treadmill. Just set the fan up where it will blow on you and every mile or so spritz yourself with the water. It may look funny but it really does help.

10. End With a Dunk
JG: There is absolutely no better place to start a run than at a pool. Why? Because when you finish your run there, you can take a refreshing dip. Once a week or so this summer, bring your bathing suit and running gear to the pool.

11. Make Like a Camel
JG: Especially on long runs or trail runs where you'll be away from water sources, bring your own. Use a water belt, pouch or holster for bottles or simply carry it (you'll get used to it). Another option: The night before your long Sunday run, take your bike or car out and stash several bottles along your next day's running route.

RF: If you have a very supportive partner / sibling/ child have them meet you at pre-determined stops with a cool bottle of water as well.

12. Heed the Heat Warnings
JG: You need to be very sensitive to the warning signs of heat illness, which, if it progresses, can be fatal. If you feel trouble coming on, you need to stop running, find some shade, get liquids and then find a ride or walk home. Following are signs of impending heat illness:
  • Headache or intense heat buildup in the head
  • Confusion or lack of concentration
  • Loss of muscular control
  • Over-sweating followed by clammy skin and cessation of sweating
  • Hot and cold flashes
  • Upset stomach, muscle cramps, vomiting, dizziness

RF: I know from personal experience that heat exhaustion can sneak up on you and once you have had it, you are more susceptible to further episodes. No run is worth becoming ill over.

13. Lower Your Expectations
JG: In training and in races, you won't be able to run as fast as you would on cool days. If race day comes, and it's super hot that morning, ease back and treat it as a training run — and drink at all the water stops.

RF: Personal records can always come later when temperatures are cooler. The goal in hot-weather is to finish with a smile and feeling good.

14. Watch What You Drink
JG: Both caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, which means they increase urine output. This puts you at greater risk of dehydration. Since hot weather is already causing you to dehydrate faster, be especially careful about your caffeine and alcohol intake in summer. People in my part of the country drink a lot of iced tea. Be careful if you do, as iced tea contains a significant amount of caffeine. An alternative: herbal iced tea.

RF: I’ve learned to watch my fingers. If you start to see them puff (or if you start tasting salt on your lips), you may be flushing more salt out than you are taking in. Make sure to balance your water with electrolytes and/or salty snacks. And for comforts sake, leave any unnecessary rings at home.

15. Bag it if it's too hot
JG: Some days are going to be unsafe for running, especially if you live in an urban area where air pollution is also a concern. On those occasions, consider skipping running altogether. Or run inside on a treadmill. Or hit the pool for some water running.


We’re 45 days from Disneyland and the start of the Dumbo Double Dare! We’ve got back-to-back runs again this week as well as a long Sunday run. Keep safe in the heat!

  • Monday – Barre3 (video)
  • Tuesday – 30 to 45 minutes running
  • Wednesday - weight training
  • Thursday - 30 to 45 minutes running (travel day)
  • Friday – rest
  • Saturday – 3 mile run
  • Sunday – 11 mile run (travel day)

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Updated 07-13-2014 at 06:59 PM by RunningFool

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