Since I began this heat acclimatization training back in June, I've finally begun to see some nice results. The Bay area has experienced some truly unbelievably hot weather this summer. I've never seen it reach 90+ or even 100 degrees in Palo Alto until this year. However, it's perfect for preparing my body for hard efforts during Ironman.
Every Friday, I've chosen to run mid-afternoon at my favorite park. It's immensely hot, and sometimes I feel foolhardy for training in such hot weather. I prepare my drinks and put extra electrolytes in them. I also back off considerably on pace or else I know I won't make it. Hydration is extremely important and I begin hydrating before I feel thirsty. This has worked well to keep me going. Thankfully, I have also not felt dizzy or nauseaous during running, so a combination of hydration, electrolytes, and heat adaption is definitely working.
This last Friday was a big moment for me. I went out in 95+ degree heat and ran 2:28, finishing 5 loops of my favorite hill loop. I am finding that my mental endurance for the heat has grown a lot, and I don't feel like quitting so much any more due to the oppressiveness of the high temps.
On loop 3, I did begin to worry. One of my discoveries during training in heat was that my legs tend to stiffen up. I think my fascia is protesting the heat and the extra stress it's putting on my body and it starts to lock up and make bending my legs during running a sore affair. I try to loosen up always with some kickbacks during my running and that seems to help. So on loop 3, my legs begin to lock up and I'm worried because I've got 2 more loops to do and I'm wondering whether or not I'm gonna make it.
Miraculously on loop 4, my legs loosen up completely. No more tight fascia at all. Weird. In fact they loosen up so much that I'm able to increase pace for both loops 4 and 5 and am able to complete a nice negative split workout.
All this in 95+ degree weather. Very happy!
I'm not sure that Ironman Florida will be a hot affair. In past years, I've been really lucky at Ironmans that the days have been relatively mild, with the exception of Ironman Austria where the temps were in the mid 80s. But surely I am prepared for a hot race day, as I usually hit the run around 2pm where the day is the hottest.
High temps have been the bane of my racing career and for the first time I think I'm relatively prepared for a hot race day. And if not a hot day, then I'll enjoy running faster in cooler temps.