Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hot and Bothered, Part 2

And I thought it was hot at Promise Land... I'm running a hundred miles next Saturday and the extended forecast predicts temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s. With the varying temperatures that we've had lately, acclimation has not been ideal. We go from 80s to 60s within a matter of days. As I sit here and look at the weather bug on my computer, today's high is supposed to be in the 70s, Friday's in the 90s.

Remember this chart?

When it hits 90-degrees on Saturday, my running will be degraded by 20-40%. Of course recent acclimation, while not ideal, will help with this. But then again, I will have run around 30-50 miles before it starts to get real warm on Saturday... So my performance will already be degraded before the heat starts to take its toll.

OD100 starts at 4am. That gives us the opportunity to run a good chunk of miles before the heat really starts to climb. Jay points out that many runners go out too fast, neglecting the fact that they have the toughest trail and hottest temps yet to come. But I wonder if it might be smart for me to go out fast (not too fast) and build a good base. That would allow me to slow down once it got hot, then hopefully have some gas left once the sun goes down. Jay agreed that this could be a sound strategy, if done carefully. He still plans to start slow, then pass everyone who didn't once they bonk.

Searching for some tips on how to handle the heat, I decided to hit up some of the hottest races. Badwater, known for its heat (way beyond what we will see in Virginia this Saturday), turned up some good articles.

The Dangers of Hot Weather Running, by Claudio Piepenburg
Dangers of Running in the Heat, by Jason Hodde

And from another hot one, Western States 100. Lisa S. Bliss, MD, writes about hydration issues in the participant guide.

Maintaining Hydration and Peak Run Performance, by Kim Mueller, provides information on how dehydration affects our performance, a breakdown of electrolytes, a case study and much more.

And then those scientists from Science Of Sport have several good articles on heat and exercise that challenge some of the traditional thinking.

Basically, here is what I hope to do to get around the potential heat issues this weekend:

Start smart. Eat & drink early, try to get some good miles in before it gets hot. Don't get too crazy in the early hours, but enjoy and take advantage of the cool weather while it lasts. Don't forget the sunscreen before it's too late!

Slow down a bit once it gets hot. Eat while I still feel like eating. Seek out foods with high water content (fruit). Dress smart. Stay cool by pouring water on my skin. Use ice if available. Drinking does little to lower body temperature. Shade, application of cool water, and wind are much more effective at lowering body temperature.

Look forward to sundown. If I'm lucky and I've paced wisely, I'll have some energy in reserve and be able to pick up the pace a little.

What other tips do you have for running hot hundreds? Please post to comments. I need all the help I can get.

Stay cool out there...


David Ray said...

Electrolytes? I didn't see a mention of S-caps or E-caps or similar.

Plan to use those?

Neal Jamison said...

I use nuun and Clif Shot Bloks. But my preference is to get most of my nutrition from real food.

David Ray said...

Food is good. I was just wondering about the pills.

There's been a lot of talk on the lists about the electrolytes lately. :)

Anonymous said...

Coach Nippert has me downing at least 1 S-Cap every 20 minutes or so in the warmth - makes a HUGE difference. Nuun does taste good in warm weather though, but does not have the sodium you will be losing. You have ran and finished Hellgate though, so you know what you are doing, so I have no worries, i'd go out a tad fast and slog through the heat of the day from 12-7 and you will be ok if you can keep moving and minimize down time. A trick I learned - take a dip/swim in creeks when you get the chance, even if you have to go off course for a few minutes - the time you make up and lowered core body temperature will make a world of difference. I did many dips at Bull Run and still broke 8 hours. After a puke episode, I went to the boat ramp - off course- and jumped into a marina - the aid station people flipped out and thought I'd drown, I came out a new runner!

Neal Jamison said...


1 cap every 20 minutes! You should see a counselor about that. ;-)

What are the short term risks of too much electroytes? Seems to me there must be some...

I'll be combining shot bloks (70mg sodium per serving) with nuun (360mg sodium per 16oz bottle) and real food. So that would be at least 430mg of sodium every hour, probably more depending on how much and what I drink/eat at aid stations. S-caps are listed at 341mg per cap. So I'm still behind what you are doing. I'll do some more analysis tonight...

nuun really helped me in cooler races, now we get to see about a hot one.

David Ray said...

I'm also doing 1 S-cap every 20 minutes or so since the weather heated up.

But I'm huge and sweat accordingly.