To run or not to run during a heat advisory? Nike got it right when they coined the phrase, “Just Do It.” Or, looking at it another way, will the temps suddenly plummet for your summer races? How then, will you be prepared if you skip the workout because it’s 92 degrees?
Obviously, common sense has us backing off just enough to ensure we don’t pass out or throw up, so we dropped the intensity just a touch for last night’s South Riding Running Club track workout. Yasso 800s were on the schedule, which I generally like. I don’t worry too much about the question of whether or not they’re a predictor of my marathon time. For me, they’re a great way to practice consistent pacing. Of course the first one was too fast, as my group of 5 tried to get our legs into the right rhythm, but the remainder were spot on, and we were pleased with our consistency.
I led the first 6 repeats but started to get a cramp in my side and thought I’d have to sit out #7 while I worked it out. The cramp started in the front, which I can deal with, but when it started spreading out around my back I found it hard to breathe. We were jogging 400m in between repeats so I walked a shorter distance instead and made sure to drink more fluids. The cramp eased up and I was able to continue, but for the last repeats I let someone else lead and tucked in right behind. It’s amazing how much easier it is when you’re not pulling the group. Also, I had taken some flack when my 200m splits were a bit too fast in the early repeats, so I enjoyed returning the favor when the new leaders weren’t right on with theirs. A little trash talking is good for the psyche.
An essential item during hot track workouts is a cooler full of ice. You dump a towel in the ice and take it out and put it around your neck between repeats to keep your body temperature down. I resisted the temptation to stick my head in the cooler because it was for communal use, but may have to bring my own next time. In fact, I have one that I can probably stick my whole body in. Before you think that’s too crazy, there’s a guy who runs Badwater ultramarathon who brings a coffin full of ice and lays down in it halfway through the race.
Bring on the heat.