Winter Training: Light and Heat

Clouds Take on Light and Heat

Clouds Take on Light and Heat

Many times we shrink from cold weather training because, well, it’s cold out there and we feel chilled, or we imagine what discomfort we will encounter in coldness.

However, like clouds, our water rich bodies transfer heat and light energy, even use them to make nutrients.

We generate heat. Movement circulates it, and enlivens us with it.

If I spend a few hours writing and editing on a winter afternoon, I often notice my hands are cool. If I go outside in the freezing temperatures layered-up to train or labor, when I come back in, for a good long while my hands are warm and very comfortable.

Fueling, Hydration, and Management of Forces Training Dimension: Follow-Up Post

surivivor of heat

Policy on Heat Injury: Prevention, Early Detection of precursors, Awareness, Quick Response. If it happens to you once, as it did to me 21 years ago, you will want to adopt another policy. No Repeats! Adaptive Training has 7 dimensions, and one of them is Forces Training. Forces Training is about intentionally encountering the natural forces, physics, energies, and elements of our training, sport, art, or work environments under controlled conditions for the purpose of acclimation, adaptation, increased capacity, and performance.

This post follows up on the last post, “When a Run Is Not a Run,” thanks to a question from Simone, whose blog is at http://meltdowntoironman.com/ and whose training targets the 2014 IMOZ or Iron Man Down Under. I was laughing as I wrote this because I’m betting Simone knows more about this than I do, but here is my expanded answer anyway. Anyone have wisdom to add? Please chime in.

There are excellent multi-sport resources for fueling and hydration. I’m posting those below. After that, I post my own suggested lessons-learned from the summer weight-bearing running and hiking perspective.

Professional Multi-Sport Fueling:

Master Race Day Nutrition:
http://www.ironman.com/triathlon-news/articles/2013/06/race-day-fueling.aspx#axzz2aAEqlXGN

How the Pros Hydrated At The Hawaii Iron Man:
http://triathlon.competitor.com/2011/10/nutrition/how-the-pros-hydrated-at-the-hawaii-ironman_41584

Fueling for Open Water Swimming (underlying science & practical detail included by USA Swimming):
http://www.usaswimming.org/_Rainbow/Documents/b9df2f1a-cf51-411d-b50d-76aaae75b9ae/Nutrition%20Strategies%20for%20Open%20Water.pdf

Our fellow WordPressers you may already know have lots of practical posts on the swim:
http://waterbloggedtriathlete.com/

http://owswimming.com/

My running hydration lessons learned:

1. Hydrate with electrolytes;
2. sipping not gulping;
3. steady sipping;
4. steady nutrition bearing in mind your temps, climbs, and humidity as they will impact your calorie burn rate (your thermostat and cooling system needs fuel to work efficiently);
5. seek cooling opportunities during runs, i.e. shade, cool presses, ice to rub on your head, whatever’s legal, efficient, and doesn’t overly distract you;
6. use an SPF rated, moisture wicking hat if allowed;
7. use proven moisture wicking training wear (in my book I cite research that such garments have a micro-wind tunnel effect surrounding the skin);
8. if thirsty, you’re already dehydrated, so sip at first sign your mouth feels dry, and boost frequency;
9. recognize climbs or changes in running surface resistance may boost your need for replacement fluid;
10. Have a plan and method for hydration, fueling, transition and practice / perfect them during training and races;
11. Occasionally train yourself for short intervals without adequate nutrition and hydration in arduous conditions to practice adapting to unexpected circumstances, practice distinguishing signs of trouble in yourself early, and to become a more perceptive self-trainer. KEEP THESE TRAINING SESSIONS SHORTER THAN THE NORMAL TRAINING SESSION — you don’t want “authentic battle damage” in training, BUT you do want to very gradually increase your capacity and tolerance for hardship; unexpected snafus, changes in conditions using intervals. Also practice your remedial counter-measures during these sessions, and gauge their effectiveness, try different salves, etc. WARNING: GET YOUR PHYSICIAN’S CLEARANCE TO TRY THIS, AND TO WHAT EXTENT.
12. If you show symptoms of dehydration (thirst, urine darker than a light yellow) boost your continual sipping of electrolyte fortified fluids, redouble your focus on efficient form in your sport; seek cooling opportunities (shade etc.); and be sure you’re breathing as efficiently as possible. Watch for symptoms of heat injury developing (cramps, exhaustion, or stroke), which may be found here:

http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/survivalist/2013/07/survival-medicine-signs-and-field-treatments-heat-illnesses
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heat-stroke/DS01025/DSECTION=symptoms

There are myriad forces, elements, factors, and related circumstances you may encounter to modify your sport, art, work, race, event, expedition, or training day: heat, cold, wind, rain, humidity, pressure, altitude, lack of shade, UV rays, reflection, water, fire, disaster, weather, lightening, mud, bugs, animals, inclines, navigation errors, forgotten supplies, contaminated supplies, and more.

Adaptive Forces, Movement with Forces, and Management of Forces training intentionally encounters these elements and natural forces in controlled conditions as primary and secondary training factors to reduce their impact on the outcome of your effort, and if possible, to find ways that these can help you become better. A more detailed, long treatment of this customizable training dimension is an entire chapter in my book Farm Your Training Day: An American Dream of Sustainable Personal Fitness.

When a Run is Not a Run, But an Encounter with Physical and Energetic Forces and Conditions

Force of Heat

Force of Heat

Yesterday I did not hydrate to prepare for a run.

Yesterday I did not eat much at all.

Yesterday was not a running training day. And although I ran, I did not run.

At the height of the late day heat in the 90’s, in full sun, underfed for the day, and poorly hydrated, I strapped on a hydration system, downed a Gu (Trademarked name) and took off running. I had no distance or pace in mind. It wound up at 4.21 miles.

My sole goal was to encounter heat and full sun while feeling unprepared for my run. I had planned with the Gu shot, and the hydration system, for my own safety net after the halfway point. The Gu shot would kick in after about 20-30 minutes, and I would feel lousy for over half the exercise period.

During the run I purposely ran on several different surfaces, regular and irregular, to do something against my expectations. I ran on river rock, broken granite, asphalt, dirt, deep grass, groomed grass, concrete, and on a few mulch areas. The route was mostly flat with some subtle rises, but it was all in the open sun with no shade until the end stretch.

In the first 30 minutes of this run, I felt very hot. My skin felt hot, my head felt hot, the air felt hot, I was thirsty, and there was very little or no breeze. When I felt a little lightheaded at one point, I recognized it coinciding with that hollowed-out feeling of stomach emptiness during exertion without blood sugar. I slowed down to adapt to the energy drain, reduce heat build-up, yet still keep running by a purely technical definition, no matter how slowly. I began sipping water when I felt lightheaded to make this a training interval, not self-immolation.

When the Gu finally found my bloodstream I felt the boost and picked up my pace. My stomach emptiness eased, and I  found some tree cover for the last half-mile of my encounter with the heat and my own deprivation. I could have become a treehugger for shade.

Did I train? By someone else’s definition, perhaps not. But the definitions I set had to do with addressing obstacles I have run into before in my training life, not adopting someone else’s focus, but my own, in the present moment. By encountering and adapting to:

Heat

Hunger

Thirst

Finishing determination

and

my thoughts and feelings about it all…

..the goal was to train my mind to adapt to all factors and conditions to continue, not quit, and not fall to a heat injury. You see, long ago, I did reach dangerous temperatures while running hills in a 100 degrees-plus, humid, still forests of Virginia wearing pack, boots, helmet, and carrying a rifle. My temperature was 106.4 degrees Fahrenheit before a pugnacious young Staff Sergeant from San Diego pulled me down, and started pouring gallons of water over my head. He saved my life and I’ll always be indebted.

I do not recommend anyone else do this particular heat / hunger / thirst forces session. Perhaps you would never feel the need. I recommend training on full hydration; after adequate nutrition; being judicious about training times and types given your own personal, physical history, profile, needs, and objectives. In other words, a run is a run, a training run is a training run, but your intention in training, your focus can change the interval into something else.

For me, this was voluntarily facing a convergence of forces to train to adapt to them despite having fallen to them in the past. The purpose? To gradually increase capacity to deal should unexpectedly arduous conditions be imposed on me at some future time. Next time, I’ll go slightly further, and so on under similar conditions. This also trains mind and body to appreciate and stay aware of hydration, nutrition, and preparation. It also helps train my mind to adapt and function when those elements are lacking — to push the envelope back and retrain my body’s capacity to adapt, endure, and do so functionally.

Had I wanted to enjoy the feelings of a “run in the heat” I would have prepared properly for it and billed it as a run. A run it was not. A forces training day it was. So if you are a runner, always prepare. Always adapt with as much preparation as possible. You will train longer, with fewer interruptions, and less wear and tear on the body with excellent preparation.

Think of the many times you have said or read about someone having a “bad day” training. A low energy day. Preparation would likely solve a healthy percentage of those days. Adaptation, a survival and enhancement skill, is the follow-up to preparation when unpredictable things happen.

Train prepared friends!