Friday, June 24, 2011

Talk to me Blogosphere ....

Just Your Average Houston Summer!

As you can see from the temperatures above it has been a blast furnace here in South East Texas.  Add in the ridiculous humidity levels and when you walk outside it feels as if you are draped in a hot wet blanket!  Lovely, huh?

I hear the term Heat Acclimation tossed around all over the message boards, Twitter, and other blogs.   With the weather here I even toss around the Heat Acclimation phrase quite often and over the last couple of smoking hot runs this term got me thinking:

  Am I getting the most out of my training by doing it in these ridiculously hot conditions?  

Now this mostly applies to running as I already spend a fair amount of time on the indoor bike trainer.

Here is a list of Pros and Cons I have come up with in regards to training in the extreme heat:

- It builds mental toughness and teaches you how to suffer.
- It teaches your body its needs and limits in terms of hydration and dehydration.
- Forces you to go slower and thus builds aerobic capacity.
- It does seem to help improve performance when you enter/race cooler environments.

- It wears you down thus your body needs more time to recover.
- Due to increased fatigue from the heat your form may breakdown and then you are just practicing bad form.
- You go slower so you do not cover as much distance so you might not be maximizing your time that is committed to training.
- You can hurt yourself.  In these temps a point is reached where the sweat output far exceeds the water input.

Over the last year I have ran well over 1000mi and only about 8 of those miles have been on a treadmill.  The current consideration is to up the indoor miles.  With the extreme heat I have REALLY been suffering on my runs.  On Wednesday I ran 4mi and finished at 7:30pm.  My pace was around 8:30/mi and I was exhausted and lightheaded after.  I was so exhausted that I was unable to get out of bed at 4am the next day for Masters Swim.  This wasn't the first time the heat has zapped me of energy just the most recent and it is concerning because it was such a short run.

Here are the questions I need help with from you guys:  Should I move my runs indoors?  Or is it better to just suck it up and keep running outdoors as it will help me in the long run?  Can you think of anymore pros v cons? Am I just being a baby?

Thanks for Reading,



  1. I'm going to be stalking you comments as I'm struggling with the same thing. The heat is sucking the life (and joy) out of my runs. I keep thinking I'll get used to it...and I just need to suck it up, but its not happening.

  2. Its 69 here right now

    The danger of heat stoke or heat sickness would drive my workouts indoors or early in the morning, its not worth almost dying to train

  3. Somewhere in between lies the right answer. Move a run or two each week indoors. Do the rest in the morning or at night when temps aren't quite as brutal. (Yes, I know mornings are still warm. I'm in Dallas and my 6am brick was still in the 80s)

  4. I'm with Tri4Success - I've been to Houston during July, that place is just insanely hot. I couldn't imagine running outside while the sun is up.

    I would move at least 1 or 2 runs inside, maybe even more. Because by running outside in those hot temperatures, you are subjecting your body to undue stress. Seems like you have already experienced this by not being able to get up the next morning for a workout. It just tires out your body too much I think.

    So I would say to run either at 6 AM, 8 PM, or inside for runs.

  5. As long as EMZ doesn't catch wind of this post we are alright... haha.

    Ummmmmmm I think this is a total personal deal. Everyone deals with stuff differently. Personally I love the heat, I love running in a pair of shorts and shoes and just pouring out my pores on the trails in the middle of the day here.

    I don't typically train with water unless I am over 16 miles or 3hrs of running... that is just my own personal thing. So I might be fine down there... I also don't sweat that much though haha.

    Personally I would do my long runs early in the mornings and anything middle distance or speed work, definitely on the treadmills. Treadmills are not bad, in fact if you want to BQ, I strongly advise you learn to deal with the treadmills. The FORCE you to be a good runner, I have talked to the locals around here, all sub 2:30 marathoners... they use treadmills (a-holes) haha.

    Swallow the pride buddy. Set the IPad up and get comfy on the machine.

  6. ugh so glad i dont have to deal with that....

    unfort i have the new england winters.

    i would say workout as early or as late as possible in the day.

  7. hydrate hydrate hydrate and run outdoors at a reasonable hour.

  8. You Yankees and your low heat tolerance ; )
    You know I have no problem with the heat most days, but I've had 30+ yrs of "heat acclimation", you can't grow up here without that lovely benefit.
    You and Annie both suffer in that heat, I think you're just not used to it yet, and it's going to take more than a couple of summers of running in it to get there. I agree with Tri4Success, try to find a balance, maybe?

  9. I can also relate to this "problem". Living in NC we have to deal with the same heat (more or less) as you have in TX.

    My workouts are about the same as Matty O. Long runs in the morning before it gets too hot.

  10. Just be thankful the IMTX wasn't THIS weekend..

  11. I'm running (hahahaha) into the same problem up here in Oklahoma too! I think I'm just going to have to jump on the treadmill. I don't have the luxury of early morning runs because my hubby leaves at 4:30 (I have two little ones) and I don't think he would be too keen on me being out late at night so I think I'm going to have to make the treadmill my friend......

  12. Mornings are better than evenings, in my opinion (even at 6 or 7 pm it's still too dang hot here). You can actually do some pretty intense workouts on the treadmill - great for speed training. Put on your ipod and try not to look at your distance very often. That's a big part of why treadmills can be so horrid, you just keep looking at those numbers wondering why they don't change faster!

  13. I found a couple good articles on heat training when I was training for Hawaii... this one's on pre-cooling:
    This one's good as well, by Torbjorn Sindballe:

    Good luck! While I'm usually glad I moved from Texas, I do miss the heat on occasion. But the humidity in Houston is definitely tough!

  14. Hey, at least you had those couple of days when it was 96 - 97, right? Ha ha! No, I agree with many of the previous posters about adding a couple of indoor runs while keeping the others outdoor. I'd really try to get the runs in the early morning if possible (running in 80 ain't fun but it's nothing like running in 100) as much as other immovable schedule things like masters swim permit. Good luck!

  15. How about this? 1/2 indoors, 1/2 outdoors. I'm serious.

    If you are interested I can forward your question to my Coach who is unbelievably knowledgeable. Tweet or email me if you want me to.

  16. I think training volume and quality trump head acclimatuion any day. Do what you gotta do.

  17. I'm a wuss when it comes to heat. I try to time my outdoor runs when the neighborhood sprinklers are on to make it a little cooler and if I can't do that I stick to indoors :( Good luck, hope you figure out a solution!

  18. You could train yourself to be heat tolerable, you are in good shape and in good health. One of the questions though, is do you need to right now? Do you have any super hot races coming up in this training cycle?

    If you do, then you'll have to do it. If you don't then I would avoid the heat as much as possible to keep from getting too burned out which will then have an adverse affect on other parts of your training...

  19. That's too hot for anything! Get a some ice water and sit down. You're the man for training in the heat. Way to go! I wish it were cooler for you.

  20. I run outdoors. I just enjoy it and I know that my HR will be about 10 bpm higher and I am ok with that b/c if I maintain decent speed at 10 bpm when the weather cools off then I will be faster b/c of that.

    I don't hydrate on anything 1.5 hours or less for the points you make about pro but I also know that I am properly hydrated all throughout the day to do that as well.

    I guess what I'm telling you is that it is up to you. If you don't like the heat and you are not racing the Leadman Tri tomorrow then take it indoors. I think it is a personal preference but I love to sweat and so I go outside.

  21. I am tough in the cold for sure, but I am a complete heat pussy. If it were me, as much as I hate TMs, I would run indoors with those temps.

    If you want to run indoors sometimes, then do it - you are not being a wuss. I promise I would say so if you were :)

    Now I think more about it, just sort of knowing you - you will want to do both - so TM some and to keep your sanity run outside early early AM.

    Good luck. It was <50 degrees and raining here yesterday. I was freezing all day.

  22. Can you realistically do your running starting at say 4am? All of my runs are done super early as you know we have pretty much the same issues with weather here. All of my long runs last year for GFT were done btw June and October and all outside but early as hell. Sure I sweat like a pig still BUT not having that sun out made all the dif. If I couldn't do early then I would most def do it on the treadmill. I've done plenty of 20+ milers on the t-mill while training for a marathon and never felt like a wuss. My pace was "on" regardless of where I ran.

  23. You know I go at 5:00 AM, in evenings the black top and cement and other structures are still radiating the day's heat. In the AM at least that has had a chance to wear off and it's a bit cooler. Indoors would just suck the life out of me.

  24. i have been told if you run in the heat you will be faster in the winter

  25. Love your pro's list. Def mix it up and do some of each...both have benefits. Your already getting the crushing workouts on the trainer which to me are the sessions that teach suffer suck it up and build mental toughness. Give yourself a 1 in 3 treadmill run or something like that...


  26. Because I am just now catching up on my blogs, nothing more to add really.

    Although, we have a spare bedroom whenever you are ready to give up on TX and move to a #WINNING state. :)

  27. We're in the furnace in Oklahoma too. I hate treadmills so I do most of my runs outside. I try not to beat myself up on pace or if I need to take a break under a shade tree. To me, running inside is almost like torture. I'd rather cut a run short outside than be stuck on a treadmill for 2 hours. I'd say be creative with your schedule as best you can and get outside.

  28. I don't know jack about thevright thing to do, but in my mind, I would split the difference if possible. Some in some out so you balance out the pros send cons? Just a thought.