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Training as the Mercury Soars – How I Survive!

Tonight, in Melbourne it is a very balmy 35 degrees, or at least when I went for my run tonight at 6.30pm it was, the mercury is currently hovering around 29…. It makes for an interesting training session. On the plan for me, tonight was a 70-minute hilly trail or road set. I had my route relatively planned out, I was going to do a very similar route that I completed a couple of weeks ago in the same time set (notice that right here I am setting myself up to beat myself up as I can compare tonight to the last time which was in totally different weather!!).

The temperature made tonight’s run interesting. Given the heat I felt I had a few options:

  1. Stay home in the air conditioning and stretch or simply state it was too freakin hot to run (tempting, but I also knew that I would not be very happy with myself if I took this option)
  2. Head to the gym to run on the dreadmill in the air-conditioning (honestly, I seriously considered this… but getting my pace just right on the dreadmill sucks and it is so freakin booooorrrrrring!!! Besides I just wanted to be outside if I went, not stuck on the darn gym equipment for 70 mins tonight.
  3. Run the entire way and kill myself or worse collapse and end up in hospital – no thanks
  4. Trian smart – guess this was the best choice!

What did training smart entail for me tonight? Simply put, I dressed appropriately. I am not a skinny athlete. I am strong and robust, I refer to myself as a staffy, strong and powerful but certainly not svelte. I am ok with that, my body has achieved some amazing things and my body type is never going to look like the marathon runners you see on TV, so be it. I refuse to get caught up in that anymore I am going to celebrate what my body can do and what it can achieve. Keeping this in mind I dressed in my runners, socks and bra with a crop. I set my middle free and to be honest I only started doing this last year and it really is empowering to join the #sportsbrasquad. It should NEVER be about what we look like, only what we can do, regardless of what “society” thinks we should look like to achieve this!!! I am so very sick of that attitude!!

As I step down from my soapbox and get back to my original point….

I dressed appropriately, including a hat and buff to keep the sweat out of my eyes and mop it off my face. I waited until the real heat of the day had passed. I also made sure I had all the nutrition and hydration on board I could through the day to keep my safe. While I ran I took my vest with 2L of ice and water in a bladder, 1L of ice and electrolyte and chews and some baby food as well (yep I am trialling this as nutrition as I run, so far it’s working great! But more on that another time!!).

Yep, the pack was heavy, but I knew that no matter what I would be cool – the ice in the water helped keep my body temperature down – and I had hydration and electrolytes as I needed them.

I took off at super turtle pace and just took my time. Kept plodding one foot in front of the other. I took the first couple of hills at a super slow run pace and then I started to feel the heat getting to me. Instead of panicking and freaking out I just slowed it down. When it got to the hills I fast walked up them as much as possible and ran the flat bits and the downhills that I could. I kept up with my hydration and electrolytes and kept my body temperature down, so I didn’t overheat. I paid attention to my body and what it was telling me!!!

When I first started running I would have panicked and pulled the pin super early, so early in fact that I wouldn’t have even gone. Granted running tonight in that heat would not be the safe thing to do for everyone, I fully acknowledge that! I am just talking about me, my tactic and how I got through it. When my 70 mins were up I called hubby and he came and got me with an iced water face washer to cool me down and an air-conditioned car.

I played it smart tonight. I got the distance and time in my legs in tough conditions. I paid attention to my body and what it was telling me. I also had a contingency plan in that I knew I could call my pit crew at any point if I needed too. I dressed for the conditions and knew how to keep my body as cool as possible. I took more than I knew I would need out on my run with me in regards to hydration, electrolytes and nutrition in case the worst happened.

I want to be clear. I am NOT recommending that everyone trains like this! Today this is what worked for me and me alone.

My take away point from this is train smart!! Yes train hard, but don’t hurt or damage yourself in the process. You need to be smart about what you do. This includes having a plan but also being adaptable within that plan, something I am getting much better at!!

Take care out there this summer you awesome Glimmer Family. As a trail runner, there are so many hazards that can cross the path, from the need to carry hydration, nutrition and compression bandages, right through to sunstroke, heat stroke and the dreaded live sticks. No matter what the situation, be prepared for it, have a backup plan, be smart about the situation, listen to your body (some days are good, some just suck), but most of all be adaptable!!

Trian Hard, Train Safe,

Sa x

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