The Beach Blog
by Bill Longenecker
Posted July 03, 2011
Not exactly a news bulletin: It's hot outside!
It may be very difficult to find the motivation for summer outdoor work outs. Here are some suggestions that may help runners and bikers beat the heat of this summer's test.
The right synthetic "wicking" fabrics help me. They wick sweat of my skin which gives me a very realistic illusion of being cool. On a recent 18 mile run, my singlet remained fairly dry. Cotton fabric simply becomes saturated with sweat and one is made miserable with that wet rag draped over you.
A runner's cap with generous brim keeps you face in the shade. Enhanced by polarized sunglasses, a cool, shady facial "cove" is created. That illusion has a very real effect on your mind.
Run early. The slot between 5:30 AM and maybe 8:30 is likely to be the coolest time of the day until very late after 7 PM. Choose the east side of the street while running south and you will be in the most shade possible.
Run into the wind on the return trip. The breeze will help evaporate sweat and, depending on breeze or wind strength, you will be cooler.
My "Halo" brand sweat band has been a true savior on hot bike rides. It is very good at keeping that burning, salty sweat out of my eyes by channeling it well away from them. A well vented helmet with visor helps create the cool, facial cove while biking.
Sunscreens that do not bleed while sweating should be applied about 30 minutes before the run or bike ride. Drink while waiting for the sunscreen to soak in. I carry money with me to allow a store stop about half way through a run. I walk and drink my Diet Coke fountain drink. I think that carbonated water with flavoring may be the secret to my 36 year history of long Saturday runs.
The caffeine keeps my kidneys working on such long runs. Publix stores open 7 AM and make great water and bathroom stops for me. (No money was offered for this shameless plug.)
Learning to pick routes with the most shade is an art. On south San Pablo Road, I run WITH the traffic in the bike lane to take most advantage of its shade. It's only about 2.5 miles and I am a bit uncomfortable with the traffic at my back, but, at 8:00, cars are few and it's shaded.
Dog fennel is a local plant with soft bright green foliage and a woody straight stem. There are always dead branches growing with this common plant. That easy-to-break-off branch becomes my "tail" during long runs. It is very light and stiff enough to scratch my back and wipe away the nasty deer or horse flies attracted by my sweat.
The "tail" is biodegradable and just be dropped off to melt away after helping to win the Great Dear Fly Wars.
Thin, wicking socks and shoes a half size larger that winter wear help with hot swelling feet.
The best time to run in the summer comes with those too rare sudden thunderstorms that sweep in from the west. The perfect storm rushes in and sucks away the heat and the air becomes dry and almost cold for maybe even an hour on otherwise hot summer days. If one has the flexibility, it can be the most perfect time to run all summer.
The caveat says there must be no lightning with that storm. There may be enough time for a bike ride, but a run is usually the best choice for that intense work out.
Revel in sweating! Some people pay for the right to sit in a steam room to do it under controlled circumstances. You can enjoy the rivers of salt waves by just taking a simple run or bike ride. Burn those calories!
You can reach Bill with your comments at (904) 246-0417 and firstname.lastname@example.org