I got a variety of comments and emails from my post where I shared that I went for a run on a very hot July day the other day. I was a little surprised by how concerned some of you were for both my safety and sanity. I am so appreciative that I ahve blog friends who care about me.
It got me thinking a lot about how things that are normal to us might not be so normal to other people. Running in the heat is kind of one of those things.
Going for a 6-miler in a 98° heat index may not be the sanest thing to do, but it really wasn't as dangerous as I think maybe some people might think. I'm not a doctor or any other kind of credible source on this, but I do know enough to know that our bodies are capable of acclimating to various temperatures.
When I was in high school, I really did run outside every afternoon in the blazing heat. I don't prefer running in the heat, but in the grand scheme of things it's not all that different from everything else I do in the heat.
For example, yesterday I worked in an office that was holding steady at 86° because our A/C wasn't working. I was hot. I was dripping with sweat. But I was ok.
I hardly ever fix myself up much in the summer because the second you walk out the door you break into a sweat. Tennessee is freaking hot and humid. All. the. time. in the summer. (and sometimes spring and fall.)
You kind of get used to it. I know there's a difference between running errands around town in the summer and actually going running. You're raising your body temp just from the running, and then you're doing it in the heat. I'm not saying it's ideal, but it's also not impossible.
The key is making sure you play it safe. I never run without either a buddy or my cell phone. Regardless of the weather, this is smart. I always make sure I have water when I run in the heat, and I usually try to make sure I run a route where I can easily get back to my car for more or to some other water source. I sometimes run with a few dollars so I can stop at a store for more if I really need it. I also run a little slower to make sure I'm not overdoing it.
Running in the heat can be done and done safely. I don't really LIKE running in the heat, but I know I can tough it out (even if I am cursing myself the whole time).
When it comes down to it, I'm hopeful that all this summer training will make running Chicago that much easier. It should be much cooler than what I'm training in (fingers crossed that we don't see a 2007 meltdown repeat). Don't get me wrong. I'll do most of my runs inside or at a cooler time of day. At the same time, it's not THAT much cooler other times of the day.
I think the key is to make sure you're staying in touch with your body and know what it can handle. Be safe out there this summer. And hey, after a nice hot and sweaty run it's lovely to go jump in the pool to cool off.