Lying on the beach is a good form of training!

I’ve been meaning to do Take It And Run Thursday for monthly, but I am finally making the commitment. From now on, expect my contribution weekly. (If you don’t know what TIART is, check out the bottom of this post).

I have a feeling that most people’s articles this week are going to be about how much they hate the heat and how to avoid running in it. Run on a treadmill, run in the early morning or late evening, run in the pool, run in Antarctica, etc. For the other crazies out there, I’m going to take a different approach: how to run in the hottest possible weather so you’re a complete badass and ready for anything. I mentioned yesterday that I’m considering Running With the Devil, and when I looked into heat training, I found some wise advice:

Your body is a machine that cannot be thrown into a very foreign and hostile environment such as extreme heat and be expected to perform at its usual high caliber. No matter how tough you perceive yourself to be, simply dealing with heat and accepting it won’t be enough; you must physically adapt to the rigors of heat beforehand.

I perceive myself to be very rough and tough, and we all know that I usually don’t train for anything, but apparently I can’t just go into a desert race without heat training. That quote comes from Stephen Simmons, a pretty tough 1999 finisher of the Badwater Ultramarathon. Badwater is a 135 mile ultramarathon through Death Valley to Mount Whitney California, known as the world’s toughest foot race. (No, I don’t have any delusions of completing this someday). If he says you can’t do it without training, I’ll take his word for it. So I commenced researching.

Arthur Webb, an eight time finisher of Badwater, recommends training in the desert, but I don’t think there’s one of those in Boston or in Manhattan. Does drinking a lot and running the next day when your throat is as dry as a desert count? Lacking a desert, Arthur suggests training in a sauna for long periods of time, and says that the intensity of the workout isn’t as important as the ability to stay in there for a long time. I’m going to take this to mean that lying on the beach will improve my ability to run in the heat. Sweet! I’m also happy to note that Arthur claims that “heat training in the sauna should take no more than four weeks and usually three are sufficient.” I’m all about training plans that are less than a month in duration – heat training sounds like just the thing for me.

Tim Kjenstad, a finisher of Badwater 2006, has another approach that fits right in with my jet setting lifestyle. To find out what it is, click here.

One last form of heat training involves… actually putting some effort in and running (yeah, I’m not picking this one). Several Badwater finishers recommend a technique in which you wear as many layers of clothing as possible, so that the actual temperature outside doesn’t matter. While I’ve never tried this, it reminds me of the time when I moved into the apartment I was subletting for a semester, and the girls decided we should have a “hazing” night for me to fit in (note that this was all in good fun, was not done in a mean spirited way at all, and we are all best friends years later). They discovered how much I love pink, so they told me to put on every article of pink clothing I owned (simultaneously) and then head out to the bars like that. Unfortunately, I couldn’t walk because I have so many pink clothes. Once it was determined that I could not get down the stairs and to the bars like that, we stayed home and played Edward Forty Hands instead. In the midst of this, they jokingly told me I had to rearrange the living room furniture with the forties still strapped to my hands. They then left the room for a few minutes, and I actually managed to do it (I swapped the futon and the couch), though they never believed me that I didn’t take the forties off to do so. Perhaps I missed my calling in drunken home decorating.

This post was written as a part of Runner’s Lounge’s Take It And Run Thursday, in which runners from all across the running blogging community come together to post about a single topic. This week’s theme was Running in the Heat.

Comments

  1. After my long run in the heat, humidity, and wind this past weekend, I had decided that I definitely need some hot weather training (shouldn’t be hard…I do live in Texas).

    I was all prepared to suck it up, and get out and run at the hottest time of day for the next couple of weeks, but I like your beach plan much better!

  2. I’m thinking you meant to say “dessert” instead of “desert” throughout this post.

    I love the tip about running in the sauna. That would get me some well-needed attention at the Y!
    (and thanks for the comment!)

  3. I meant of course, the opposite of what i just said.

    sigh.

  4. Training in a sauna… Not a bad idea and that would indeed be very hardcore. I’m like you, I think embracing the heat is the way to go.

  5. The book, “Death in the Grand Canyon” has some great stories about strapping young men who thought, “eh, a little heat, big deal” as their last thoughts. And it points out that by a huge margin, tough young men are the most likely to die in the Grand Canyon because they’re so tough.

    So being a tough young woman would help some, but I’d trust that the heat trainers know what they speak of. Go with the umbrella drinks.

  6. The hotel staff already thinks I’m crazy enough b/c I bought my own stair stepper that I check at the front desk every week. How crazy would they think I am if I dragged it down to the sauna every morning for my workouts??

  7. Have you tried Bikram Yoga? Holy Hot Hell. It’s amazing taht just doing yoga in heat is so hard. But running? Sounds like quite a challenge.

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  9. at my gym I always see a firefighter on the stair machine with complete uniform and his oxygen tank (or whatever firefighters carry in their back, sorry I’m totally ignorant there) he looked like he was hot, maybe you should try something like that :)

    LaPetiteBelle
    http://lapetitebelle.typepad.com

  10. You’ll get better in the heat the longer you run in the heat. (And good post, by the way. Gave me a great idea for my post for today.)

  11. “Does drinking a lot and running the next day when your throat is as dry as a desert count?” Absolutely. :)

  12. First off! I haven’t been on blogs lately and wanted to say Congrats on an awesome race finish for your first Marathon! You are SO meant for this running sport. You’re a natural.

    Heat training! Yeah, I’m feeling this. This week has been hot here and I’ve had 2 TERRIBLE runs in it and I know I need to get my body used to running in it again. It sucks, but it’s gotta be done.

  13. I never heard of “Edward Forty Hands.” That made me laugh!

    Well, I hope the beach/sauna approach works! Sounds like a fun training plan :)

  14. Thanks for your contribution to TIART. It’s getting fun and everyone’s enjoying the collective wisdom.

    It is all about acclimating. Those Badwater runners understand it best.

    Strange as it may seem, I enjoy my runs in the heat after I’ve adapted to it. Working hard in the heat makes me feel more fit.

  15. Um, are you trying to tell us you are doing Badwater?

  16. I have tried the multiple layers before and it does work – but is really annoying to lug around. A few weeks running in the heat and humidity and you will be set.

  17. Really Laura? Tou’re planning for Badwater? You’re so hardcore!

  18. WOW I need to clarify: I am NOT planning on Badwater. I would definitely die if I attempted that. However, I’m thinking about doing “Running with the Devil” in Vegas. The half-marathon, not the ultra or the full.

  19. Nice post although you missed the one where you’re dryer vents into your face while you’re on a treadmill!

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