running in the heat!

Cross Country has officially started.  We had our first meet today at the Cotton Wood Complex and it was quite eventful.  Two boys collapsed with heat stroke, one of the collapsee’s was a member of my team while the other was from ogden.  There I was cheering my runner to the finish line.  Suddenly he slowed way down, slower than walking speed.  his strides became short, choppy, and unbalanced.  “come on!” I yelled.  “The finish line is so close.”  Then I shut up because he started to zig zag down the funnel and then passed out.  Describing it now makes it seems a little funny, but watching it happen was actually pretty scary!  Next thing you know, another boy collapses a short minute afterwards! Today was a hot day to run a hard race.  the course at Cotton Wood has very little shade and has some big hills.   There are many things one needs to prepare for when racing in the heat.  The most important of these is dedication.

Firstly, you need to train in the heat.  training in the heat is tiring!  You get fatigued so much quicker, you feel like you are going your normal pace when you are actually going slower, and your mind becomes easily lethargic and tiresome.  My team has been training everyday in the heat for about two weeks now.  Two weeks is not enough time to become completely acclimated to extremely hot temperatures.  it’s not nearly enough time to even get in shape for running.  That is why running before the season starts is so important, which we didn’t do as a team… but expected them to do on their own.   I doubt they were all completely dedicated to running routinely throughout the summer.

secondly, hydration is critical… duh!  You should be drinking enough water to sustain you.  How do you know how much is enough?  By looking in the toilet!  When your pee is clear you are good to go.  if it’s yellow you are not drinking enough.  You’ll find you get pretty close to the toilet as you become a runner.

When I go running in hot weather I always chew a piece of gum.  It keeps the juices flowing so you don’t get cotton mouth as easily.  It helps keep your ability to swallow and even spit, which is sometimes needed when running.  yeah…. running isn’t always pretty.  All you have to do is look at racers facial expressions and you’ll see that.

Running in the heat is a great training exercise.  It can help you become faster and stronger.  It can improve your VO2 max and make running in cooler temperatures easier at faster paces.  But, you’ve got to know your body and how much it can take.  You need to take care of you body and make sure you are replenishing what your diminishing after workouts.  I have say, however, that a runner who pushes themselves passed their limit to the point where they pass out five feet from the finish line, definitely has a good work ethic.  I can’t believe that I saw girls in the meet today walking in their race.  They were walking!!!  The only thing that stopped my runner was his loss of consciousness.  Which I realize seems crazy and possibly stupid, but at lease he let us know he is dedicated.

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