Wise Running

Train smart, eat well, and enjoy the run.

Tag Archives: heat

Slaying the Specter of a Bad Run

I had a horrible run yesterday and it was killing me.  Not during the run, mind you, but after the run.  During the run I was merely overtired and dehydrated.  That was bad enough, but this bad run was hanging over my head… calling me names…taunting…telling me that I was not good enough.  The hills were huge.  As I remembered the contours of each hill, they seemed to come alive, grimacing and laughing at me.

cross country shoesHow can one run haunt me so much so quickly?  Probably because I have chosen some lofty goals and a short timeline.  With all of that pressure, I had no time for a bad run.  Bad runs, however, are inevitable.  We can’t control all of the things that life throws at us and we are certainly prone to making mistakes.   Logically, this was not the end of the world, but it felt like it.

How did I slay the specter of the bad run?  I rested up for a day, I was well-fueled and hydrated, I set a realistic goal for today’s run, AND… most importantly, I set the course for today’s run in the toughest part of yesterday’s run.

I looked those grimacing hills straight in the eyes and shouted, “NO!  You will not win. I may not be as fast as I want to be, but I am on my way.  You will not win. “

I did not set any new records today, but I did run a reasonably good time for course and conditions.  I faced the specter of doubt cast upon me by yesterday’s fiasco.

Tomorrow looks pretty darn good.

“Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!”  — P. Mark Taylor

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Check out these books by P. Mark Taylor for more advice on running:

 

The Gift of Running: A Book for Runners & Future Runners  Wise Running Book COVER mockup

&

Wise Running: Thoughts on Running and Life

The Gift of Running: A Book for Runners and Future Runners

My first book, The Gift of Running, is available in both paperback & ebook

- Paperback Version – Amazon.com   $9.00

- Ebook Version – Kindle Store $2.99

I wrote this book for several reasons.  Many of the books on running are tough to read, a lot like technical manuals.  I wanted to offer something more personal, runner to runner.  Moreover, I wanted it to be easy to read for the inexperienced runner.  I think I have accomplished this with The Gift of Running .

Below is the official description.  A small excerpt is included at the bottom of this page.

Book Reviews by Runners:

Book Reviews on Amazon.com:

If you would like an autographed copy of the book, please email me at pmark67@gmail.com

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The Gift of Running: a book for runners and future runners

by P Mark Taylor

Running is a gift, but not only for the gifted.  Whether you run just for fun or want to become a more competitive runner, The Gift of Running is for you. In The Gift of Running, P. Mark Taylor shows runners how to get started and stay motivated.

The book includes:  advice on how to get started as a runner, tried & true methods of running faster and longer, how to prepare for a marathon, tips on staying healthy & happy, motivation to keep you running, an insider view of the running community, & training programs for a 5K, 10K, half marathon, & marathon.

P. Mark Taylor is a runner & author of the blog at http://www.WiseRunning.com.

Publication Date:    Jul 20 2012
ISBN/EAN13:    0615668607 / 9780615668604
Page Count:    196
Binding Type:    US Trade Paper
Trim Size:    5.5″ x 8.5″
Language:    English
Color:    Black and White
Related Categories:    Sports & Recreation / Running & Jogging
 
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How to read this book:   (an excerpt from the book)

“This book is not a technical manual.  I have intentionally tried to keep my explanations brief and simple.  I have avoided technical terms and explained what I mean whenever needed.  It does offer important research-based information, but it offers more than that.

The book is about:

  • the human side of running,
  • becoming a runner,
  • working to become a better runner,
  • & staying safe, sane, and happy as a runner. 

It moves back and forth between personal stories, quotes from runners, and advice on running.

Most of the subsections of the book could be read independently, but I encourage you to read it from front to back.  This is especially true for the inexperienced runners.  Read the whole thing first, then go enjoy the run!

This book is the culmination of years of running, studying, and life experiences.  Most of all it is about the love of running and my respect for runners.

This book is dedicated to all of those who share my passion for running & to all those who are trying running for the first time.”

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 Click here to see my second book on running:
Wise Running: Thoughts on Running and Life
Wise Running Book COVER mockup

Hydration for Running

wise running logo 7_25_12

 

 

Your body is mostly water.  It only makes sense that a hydrated body functions better.  If you want health and performance, you will keep your body topped off with liquids as you go.  So, on a hot day, you might drink as much as a cup of water or watered down sports drink every 15 minutes. If you put it in as fast as you sweat it out, your body will thank you by staying healthy and performing as best as it can.  On the water hydration coupleother hand, it is possible to drink too much.  Current recommendations are to drink to thirst. If you are thirsty, drink.  If you are not thirsty, don’t. Any way you handle it, make sure you have access to plenty of water and/or sports drink while you run.

You should still be careful after the run! Most of us continue sweating long after the last step of the run.  Hence, it is important to keep your tank topped off!  There are now quite a few choices for sports drinks to recover after the workout.  The top choice remains the same as it has always been… good old water!

Electrolyte Supplements

Water is not all that leaves as we sweat!  We also lose minerals that play a critical role in our bodies.  They are called electrolytes.  Without these minerals and enough water, the muscles begin to cramp.  Muscle cramps are painful and cause damage.  Even if you do not reach the point of cramping, failing to replace the electrolytes means poor performance and frustration.

For some, simply drinking a sports drink provides enough electrolytes.  Other need more than the amount offered through sports drinks.  Electrolyte supplements come in powders, tablets, pills, & capsules.

Even though I require much more electrolytes than the average runner, I use the strategy of taking as little as possible.  You discover this by starting with the minimum suggested dose on the supplement label.  How do you know if it is enough?  Personally, I know that I have not taken enough Endurolyte Capsules if my leg muscles are twitching as I am relaxing after the run.  If so, I will take another capsule or two until it subsides.  Over time, you begin to learn what is right for you.

Regardless of which drinks and supplements you use, it is your job to make sure you get enough.  Your body is depending on you and so is your running performance.

Train smart, eat well, and enjoy the run!

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Effects of Heat and Humidity on Running Pace

I ran a 5K last night at 9 pm.  For the previous three nights, it had been 100 degrees at 9 pm.  Thankfully, it had cooled off to a frosty 85 or so.  Still, that made it 15 degrees warmer than the race in which I set my recent PR back in April.

My PR pace was 6:11, but in last night’s race, I ran a 6:35 pace.  That got me to wondering about the impact of the heat and humidity.

How is running pace impacted by heat & humidity?

Heat

When you run strenuously in temperatures above 60°F, your core body temperature is raised.  Your body’s natural cooling system kicks in; some of the blood that would have been going to your running muscles gets diverted to the capillaries of your skin to cool it off.  That cooler blood then returns to your core and that brings your core temperature down.  What a great invention!  Unfortunately, that means less blood in your running muscles.  That means less oxygen.  It also means that your system of removing the waste byproducts from the muscles can get backed up as well.  Both of these result in a slower pace.

Temperature changes also alter the density of the air.  More dense, more oxygen with each intake of breath.  i.e. colder weather makes you faster.

Add it all up and you get:  cold weather facilitates a faster speed.  Heat slows you down.  This is one of the main reasons you see the majority of marathons in the Spring & Fall.

Humidity

Humidity also affects your core body temperature.  This is because sweating is one of the main functions of your body’s cooling system.  For sweat to do its job, it needs to evaporate and take some heat with it.  Unfortunately, high humidity means slower evaporation.  Slower evaporation of sweat means slower cooling.  That means that your body’s core temperature is not being lowered effectively.  Final result: high humidty leads to slower pace.

Conclusion

I have not found a formula that can tell us how much we will slow down, but you need to understand that you can’t run at your optimal pace in less than optimal conditions.  If you slow down a little in the heat & humidity, give yourself a break.  Your body is doing the right thing.

The good news is that even though your training might be slowed a great deal during the summer, your training will lead to MUCH faster times when things cool off again.

Have patience.  Forgive yourself for the slower pace.

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“Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!”  — P. Mark Taylor

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Check out these books by P. Mark Taylor for more advice on running:

The Gift of Running: A Book for Runners & Future Runners  Wise Running Book COVER mockup

&

Wise Running: Thoughts on Running and Life

.

BANA Berry Flavored Hydration Drink

Serious hydration is the promise of BANA.  Serious hydration is what has been needed all summer.  I tried out BANA last week on a serious 14 mile run.  I was running with a new friend and he likes to run fast.  I normally run my long runs at about a 10 minute mile or maybe a little slower.  He wanted to “keep it slow” at an 8 or 9 minute pace.  :)

I drank one bottle (500 ml; 16.9 fl oz) of BANA before we met for the run.  Before you drink it, you need to know what it is:  a drink based on the concept of an IV.  A doctor decided that if dehydrated people needed IV fluids, then serious athletes probably should be receiving the contents of an IV.  He altered the formula a bit and added cherry flavoring.  As you might imagine, it has a high sodium and potassium content as well as many other electrolytes.  This means that the berry taste has a very salty character.

I was wearing my fuel belt with its four bottles full of BANA to drink while we were running.  And run we did!  We covered about 14 miles at a 8:23 pace.  As you might anticipate on an August morning, I was sweating like a pig.  Hence I was very happy to gulp down the salty mix.

Important detail:  I normally use Hammer Endurolyte capsules on a long run to replace my electrolytes.  Without Endurolytes, I get leg twitches at least and my legs just shut down at worst.  On this run, I was testing out BANA as the electrolyte replacement – so I did not use any Endurolytes.

At the end of this very challenging run, I chugged another bottle of BANA as fast as I could.  No twitching muscles, no cramps, and my muscles felt fine.  2 points for BANA!

I had one remaining bottle of BANA that I saved for after today’s run, a 20 mile jaunt.  I did use Eundurolytes, but apparently not enough of them.  About 20 minutes after completing the run, my leg twitches started up.  I had forgotten to drink that last bottle of BANA.  Once I realized what was going on, I wobbled as quickly as I could to get the bottle and downed it in about 20 seconds.  In about 15 minutes, my leg twitches had stopped and my leg muscles were also generally more relaxed.  Thank you BANA.

They call it “Serious Hydration.”  I call it hydration with a serious supply of vital electrolytes.  None of the other sports drinks that I have ever tried have packed such a powerful punch.

Based on these experiences, I would recommend BANA to anyone that has had issues with electrolytes and hydration.  It works on the road and is an effective recovery drink.

Happy Running

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The Gift of Running is now available in both paperback & ebook

- Paperback Version – Amazon.com

- Ebook Version – Kindle Store

The Truth about Sweat

We all know that sweat is your bodies natural cooling system.  To maintain a healthy body temperature, your body releases sweat which cools the body as it evaporates.  But for many of us, the summer has been dreadfully hot.  For runners, that means sweating buckets of sweat every mile.  There are some important things to be concerned about:  how hot is too hot, if I sweat that much how much do I hydrate, are sports drinks effective?

When it comes to sweat, some interesting things are going on in your body.  Here are some true/false questions regarding sweat from a recent article in Shape magazine.

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• True or False: You burn more calories during hot-weather workouts.

True. Your heart needs to work harder both to keep your muscles well oxygenated during cardio and to send extra blood to the surface of your skin to keep your body temperature safe. Unfortunately, the calorie numbers are pretty low, so don’t think you’ve earned an ice cream undae. Think more like one bite of chocolate.

• True or False: You sweat all the time.

True. You are always releasing moisture from your skin to help regulate body temperature, although usually not enough to be noticed. This is taking place over almost the entire surface area of your body.

• True or false: A human can sweat a maximum of 3 liters per day.

False.
This is one of the most common sweat myths. A person in a colder climate can sweat up to a liter per hour. A person in a warmer clime can lose between two to three liters per hour.

• True or false: Sunblock makes it harder to sweat.

False. Don’t let sweat myths like
these keep you from being sun safe. “Sunscreen does not affect the sweating
mechanism, which is your body’s way of cooling itself,” says dermatologist
Brooke Jackson, of the Skin Wellness Center of Chicago. Also note that no
sunblock is truly “waterproof or sweatproof” so make sure you reapply every two
hours.

• True or false: Sports drinks really do make a difference.

True. Remember in moderation. When you’re sweating heavily, you lose electrolytes, which need to be replaced through food or drink. Sports drinks can be a quick way of doing that, but keep in mind that sports drinks are often fairly high in calories. Make sure you don’t drink down empty calories that you just got rid of with a hard workout.

• True or false: Your body works harder when it’s humid?

True. Your skin relies on the air being somewhat dry so that the moisture from our body can easily evaporate. In humid conditions, the air is saturated with moisture and that makes it harder for the sweat to evaporate. This keeps your body temperature elevated and is why it can feel like such a struggle to do even easy workouts in humid conditions.

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Click here to read my blog on running in hot weather.

Happy Running!

Feel the Heat! Staying Healthy in Hot Weather

Summer is known for fun times with family and friends, but it has another side to it…the dog days of summer. These are the longest, hottest days of the year. For people that only work out inside, it is not much of a bother. For the runners and other patrons of the great outdoors, however, there is no escaping it for very long. With a heat index over 100 degrees, how can you get in a good workout AND stay healthy? Here are a few pointers:

Staying on Course

The right course for running on in the heat is shady. Even among shady areas, some paths are naturally cooler than others. A low-lying path next to a cool stream will be much cooler than your average route. Find a cool, shady course and it will be much easier to stay on course with your workout.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

Water and sports drinks are your friends. Staying well hydrated before, during, and after a run in the heat is absolutely critical. You should be drinking water all day. Not all liquids are good for hydration. Stay away from diuretics such as caffeine, as these can dry you out and set you up for disaster.

A hydrated body functions better. If you want health and performance, you will keep your body topped off with liquids as you go. So, on a hot day, drink about a cup of water or watered down sports drink every 15 minutes. If you put it in as fast as you sweat it out, your body will thank you by staying healthy and performing as best as it can.

You should still be careful after the run! Most of us continue sweating long after the last step of the run. Hence, it is important to keep your tank topped off! There are now quite a few choices for sports drinks to recover after the workout. The top choice remains the same as it has always been… good old water!

Ease into It

Imagine you are about to get into a really hot tub of water. Do you jump in as quickly as possible or do you ease into it slowly and get used to it. If you are smart, you choose plan B and ease into it slowly. The same idea applies to running in extreme heat. If you have been running just about every day for moths, then it is likely that you gradually acclimated to the rising temperature as summer approached. Now that it is oppressively hot, it is only a little different than what you have been doing. That is easing into it. You still have to be careful, but the heat is just not a big deal. If you have been on a treadmill every day in an air conditioned gym, however, switching to running outside can be deadly if you choose to make the switch on an oppressively hot day. Don’t even think about it!

The Alternative: Heat Stroke

What if you were not careful? What if you ran in direct sun and failed to stay hydrated while you run outside in the heat for the first time in a long time. What would that be like?

Cause:   Extreme exertion and dehydration impair your body’s ability to maintain an optimal temperature

Symptoms:  Core body temp of 104 or above, headache, nausea, vomiting, rapid pulse, disorientation

Treatment:  Emergency medical treatment is necessary for immediate ice-water immersion and IV-fluids

Conclusion

Play it safe!   Stay hydrated and go easy so you can stay healthy and survive to run hard on a cooler day.

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Train hard, race easy, & enjoy the run!

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