Hot running can mean a lot of things depending on context. As in “wow you are running really hot at the moment” which you might say to a club mate reeling off PB’s. You might hear someone say about a runner “I think He/She is really hot!”, which is probably a reflection on their physical rather than running form (but could conceivably cover both!) Or, as has recently been the case, it could simply be a comment on running in this extraordinary summer of 2018.
Like a lot of us in the UK I am used to running in a variety of conditions ranging from the artic spring we had in 2018 (Do you remember all the races that cancelled in March because of snow?) through to baking hot spring/summer runs and many in between. So what to do when the temperature soars?
My best runs and race times tend to occur when its cool but not cold, not too windy and possibly with a little refreshing light rain thrown in. But realistically if we are to run throughout the seasons we have to be adaptable. And adaptability just happens to be the most important attribute for the survival of the species.
I wouldn’t presume to offer coaching tips for quick runners (and they know who they are!) but for us guys who aim to finish the race and achieve personal satisfaction my advice is: Don’t go out too fast, whatever the distance. For your best race result you should probably be at the edge of your comfort zone but not max effort over the first part of the race. Then once you establish your pace, stick with it. Drink lots of water (slow sips) before and during the race. Don’t use the heat as an excuse but factor it in. And remember, most runners will record slower times on very hot days.
My most recent race was the Elmbridge 10k last Sunday. This is a long established event with a very high standard of runners taking part. The pre-start giveaway to this was the majority of entrants were in club singlets.
We lined up on the new running track start and even at the 09.00 start time it was very warm. I positioned myself towards the rear of the field with a few runners I knew were a similar pace to me. I’d done some warm ups and felt loose but slightly “under the weather”. The race started and I went off OK but noted that my marker runners were receding into the distance. After about half a mile I looked at my Garmin and saw why. Although I felt as if I was running at around 8.10 mile in fact my pace was showing at closer to 08.45. Perhaps I was overdoing the easy start! I did manage to pick up speed but it was quickly apparent that my target time of sub 52 minutes wasn’t going to happen today. In the second half the heat took its toll and despite making up quite a few places I dropped to about 8.40 pace for an average overall of 8.36 and a finish time of 53.41. Position 409 out of 590. I can say that I almost brushed shoulders (literally!) with race winner Scott Overall. We passed pretty close when he was coming back along the towpath while I was still heading out. Scott recorded 30.53. I don’t think the heat had much effect on him.
Not so hot timewise but in the circs a pretty good effort and very pleased I did it. Doubtless we will all complain when it gets cold and rainy again.