Do you run in different weather environments? Running in the heat and humidity is challenging but so is cold wet weather. Let's talk about different training weather environments.

Stephanieruns Fitness

May 6, 2018 Newsletter

Running Whatever the Weather

Did you watch the Boston Marathon this year? The weather conditions were challenging and even the elite runners struggled. One of the biggest variables in race performance is weather conditions. I also think weather conditions cause a big mental hurdle for runners. I once had a runner tell me she doesn't run in the rain, but what happens if it rains on race day? In order to successfully race in various weather conditions you need to be prepared.

Most runners don't want to run in cold and rainy conditions. It's just miserable! Did you know that shivering causes you to deplete your glucose stores? That means you'll need more energy than you usually do if it's cold.

Just this week I was talking to a friend who had gone to see Krista Duchene, the Canadian Marathon Mom who came in 3rd in the 2018 Boston Marathon speak about her race. She spoke about how everything she wore had a purpose. She wore a buff on her head to keep her head warm, on top of that a hat to keep the rain off her face and sunglasses to keep the wind out of her eyes. She wore two pairs of gloves so that when one got wet and uncomfortable she had another. She wore layers which she removed as she warmed up. She also taped gels to her water bottles and fuelled every 2.5km. That's the kind of preparation that lets you master the weather conditions and come in 3rd at Boston. 

North America has varied weather conditions you could be running in weather anywhere from -40 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius (-40 to 104 F). I often get asked how to dress for the weather. The general rule is to add 10 degrees to the weather and dress as if you weren't doing any physical activity. The main points I want you to take away about running in cold weather is to dress for the weather, be prepared with your clothing/gear choices, make sure you have adequate fuel (remember shivering depletes your glucose stores). It's also important to remember you still need to drink water even when it's cold. Some runners forget this! If you're racing in the cold weather bring a full complete change of clothes for after the race, you'll want to change right after the race.

Running in the heat and humidity is challenging. You will be working at a higher intensity while running at a slower pace than you usually run at. I always recommend wearing a heart rate monitor when it's hot. Your heart rate will tell you exactly how hard you're working. The heat puts a strain on your cardiovascular system, you need to listen to your body and know the warning signs. The first sign your body gives you that there's a shortage of fluids in your body is thirst. The second is where your kidney will limit the amount of water in your urine as a conservation mechanism causing your urine to be darker in colour. If dehydration reaches critical levels you'll be confused and weak as your organs will receive less blood. Just as dangerous is hyponatremia which is when your body is flooded with more water than it can expel and your body tissues swell with excess water. Listening to your body and knowing your fluid levels is key for training in all weather conditions.

When you're training in the heat you need to be aware of heat injuries such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat cramps are painful muscle contractions, usually in your lower extremities that happen after intense exercise. They could be caused from a depletion of electrolytes. Heat exhaustion is from dehydration and electrolyte depletion. It will make you feel light headed, dizzy, nauseous, fatigued, you could develop a headache or diarrhea. Heat stroke is a serious condition where your core body temperature raises to 104 F and above. The high temperature damages your internal organs, you will need to seek medical attention. The main take away from this is to listen to your body, take sufficient fuel and know when to say 'it's too hot to run today.' Your health and safety comes first!

I know I come back to this a lot, but listening to your body and measuring data such as heart rate allows you to train smarter. You can use this data to not only train but excel in varying weather conditions.  


Weekly Challenge: Sweat Test

This is a simple test to do, to help you know your fluid demands while running. You might find this data more interesting as it gets warmer but you can do this test in any weather condition.

First weigh yourself, then head out for a run, keeping track of how long you run. Also keep track of how much fluids you drink. You might find it easier to run a set time such as 30 or 60 minutes. When you are finished running weigh yourself right away. There should be a difference in your weight.

Take the difference in your weight, and convert this to ounces and add back how much fluids you consumed. This will give you your fluid loss for the duration of your run. You will have to divide your fluid loss by your duration to know much much you lost every 15 or 30 minutes.

This gives you valuable information on how much fluid you need during a run. Keep is mind every time you do this this test in different conditions you'll get different results. It's a great test to learn more about your fluid loss during a run so you can better fuel yourself.

What Are You Training For?

I love talking to runners and finding out what they are training for and how it's going. Although there are lots of great races all year long we are approaching peak racing season. It seems like every weekend there's another race. Maybe you're planning on running multiple races this year. One of my athletes is running four 10k races for her 40th birthday this year. When you're planning to run multiple races over the season it's important to make sure your training plan allows your body to adapt and recover.

If you have a list of upcoming races I recommend getting a calendar out writing all your races on it and mapping out a rough training plan. If you have more than one race it's difficult (not impossible but difficult) to use a cookie cutter plan. I'm a firm believer in individual training plans that work for your life and goals.

If you're looking for help with your upcoming training I provide virtual one on one coaching, individualized running and strength training plans as well as running strategy sessions. I'm always happy to talk to see how I can help you improve your running.

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Stephanieruns Fitness

461 North Service Rd West
Oakville Ontario,  L6M 2V5 - Canada

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Disclaimer: Always seek medical advice before starting an exercise program. This newsletter is not medical advice. Medical advice should be sought from a medical professional. Stephanieruns Fitness assumes no liability for any injuries as a result of the above content.