How hot weather running builds endurance



Minute 1: How hot weather training boosts your endurance

Ultrarunner Sally McRae has been training in 122-degree heat in Death Valley, CA for the upcoming Badwater 135, aka “the World’s Toughest Footrace.” Given the record-setting heat across North America this week, we thought it made sense to learn from a pro about how to handle training in extreme temps. Badwater will begin in Death Valley National Park in late July and the 135-mile race route features 14,600 feet of elevation gain coupled with searing temps. McRae is a veteran of the race and was the seventh female and 23rd overall in 2018 when the starting line thermometer showed a record high of 118 degrees Fahrenheit. To prepare for those conditions, McRae said in a recent podcast interview: “the thing that works the best for me is to get in the heat as much as possible.” She is a big advocate for acclimating to the heat using an infrared sauna, because it “heats you from the inside out,” causing the body’s temp to increase by a few degrees. As part of McRae’s training, she spends roughly an hour in the sauna, with the temp set to somewhere between 130-135 degrees Fahrenheit. Infrared saunas generated a lot of attention a few years ago when A list stars and NYC spas began (over)promoting their benefits. While several studies confirm the positive effects of sauna treatments, the Atlantic published a piece in 2017 declaring that “Infrared Saunas Will Not ‘Detoxify’ You.” For more ideas on handling running in the heat, check out “Everything You Need to Know About Running in the Heat” from Outside or “The training benefits of running in really hot weather” from Canadian Running. The latter story points out that humans typically need 2 full weeks to fully acclimate to training in very hot weather, but that most of that acclimation occurs in the first 4-7 days. Triathlon coach Brian Bozarth shares his thoughts on the subject, as well as some slow-mo hot weather training footage in this Instagram post. Give it a watch if you need some extra motivation to get out there and break a (profuse) sweat this week. #SweatShop

Minute 2: Does that morning cup of Joe really put a pep in your step?

According to research, about ⅔ of the track and field athletes competing at the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene over the past 2 weeks are regular caffeine consumers. According to Coach Jeff Gaudette of RunnersConnect, there is a good reason for that. When used properly, caffeine and athletic performance go hand in hand. He provides details in: “Drinking Caffeine Before Running.” Yup, that morning cup of Joe not only increases athletic endurance, but it can also reduce the effects of fatigue. In his article, Coach Jeff also highlights how “caffeine boosts your mental alertness, improves your mood, and boosts your desire to run hard.” It also increases the concentration of endorphins in the brain… the same hormones that produce the coveted “runner’s high.” Scientific studies from PLOS ONE show that “there is consistent evidence supporting the ergogenic effects of caffeine for endurance-based exercise.” If you are concerned about coffee causing dehydration, you may want to check out this story from Healthline: “Does Coffee Dehydrate You?” The short answer is that you can keep going to Starbucks. While there may be a mild short-term diuretic effect from caffeine, it is not strong enough to outweigh the fluid intake from coffee consumption. #LegalSubstance

Minute 3: Podcasts for your summer adventures

Researchers estimate that as many as 2 million podcasts will be released in 2021. So the problem is not that we can’t find audio content, it’s finding the podcasts that align with our interests and are high enough quality to tune in. Just in time for long walks on the beach, hikes through the woods, and drives to your favorite vacation spot, Outside just published this new piece: “5 New Podcasts for Your Summer Road Trip.” They’ve got a selection catered to outdoor enthusiasts to keep you entertained all summer, wherever your adventures take you. The podcasts cover everything from birding to climbing. We understand that sometimes you want to clear your head and unplug from media when outdoors, but many times podcasts and an active lifestyle go together like chips and dip. See the reason in “Why running is the perfect time for podcasts.” When you engage in physical activity, your brain is primed to take in new information, according to some evidence. You’ll also feel extra productive, learning something new and working out at the same time. If you haven’t settled on what to listen to for your next run, check out the latest episode from our very own Six Minute Mile podcast. Shane Benzie has been called the Indiana Jones of running because of his globetrotting research trips to explore the roots of exercise and evolution. He shares valuable info about how runners can “rewire their software” and learn to live a life more in tune with our ancestral predecessors. #AuralPleasure

Minute 4: Want to eat healthier? Go fish

The latest nutrition tip from Verywell Fit is quite the catch. Apparently, we should all be eating fish more often. At least 85% of Americans fall short of the recommended amount of seafood and could benefit from stories like this: “Tuna vs. Salmon: How They Compare, According to Dieticians.” They both contain a lot of protein and omega-3s, 2 things runners need a lot of. Protein is the building block for muscle growth while Omega-3s have a list of benefits too long to include here, but most importantly for runners, they help fight inflammation and heart disease. There are subtle but important differences between the two fish. Tuna contains selenium, which you can read about in the “7 Science-Based Health Benefits of Selenium.” It’s an antioxidant, and research suggests it can help prevent Alzheimers, as well as certain cancers. Salmon is a better source of vitamin D and B12. Vitamin D helps promote calcium absorption to help maintain bone strength, so it's great for runners in their 40s and beyond. We should mention that salmon has a far lower mercury content compared to tuna. In most cases, you probably don’t need to worry too much about your mercury consumption through seafood, but to understand the details, check out “Mercury in Seafood: How Much is Too Much?” Fish is a major component of the Mediterranean Diet which is regarded by nutrition experts as a safe way to lose weight and get healthier. Along those lines, check out this list of: “26 Fish & Seafood Dinner Recipes for the Mediterranean Diet.” #FishTales

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • Turn that frown upside down, and your times just might improve. Don’t believe us? We’ve got the research to back it up. 24 athletes were tasked with running a short distance, half of them forcing a smile while they did so. Surprisingly, the smiling group reported a lower level of perceived effort than the control group. In addition, they ran 2.8% more economically. See all the details in “Research Confirms: Smiling Improves Running Performance.”

  • Rowing is a great exercise. Not only is it lower impact compared to running, but it also engages more muscle groups at once. However, if you’re new to it, the nuance of proper rowing form can be tricky to grasp. To get the best workout possible, check out these technique tips, delivered by pro rower Sera Moon Busse: “The top 4 most common mistakes that you’re making in the rowing machine - and how to fix them.”

  • We know that our nutritious habits can seriously make or break our athletic performance—hence the phrase: “abs are made in the kitchen.” Studies have shown that the consumption of green and leafy vegetables have an impeccable ability to increase overall energy, regain mental focus, detoxify bad toxins from the body, rejuvenate skin, boost the immune system, and maintain and optimize overall health and wellness. If you’re not getting enough of these in your daily diet, you might want to consider looking into a quality green juice powder that typically supports and provides the same benefits as fresh greens. Here’s a list of the Top 5 Greens Superfood Powders of 2021.

  • Top seed Elle Purrier St. Pierre captured the Olympic Trials Record for the women’s 1500M last week in 3:58:03. If you didn’t have the pleasure of watching her live, click here to see the race replay. St. Pierre took home the “W” in 90-degree heat and survived an abrupt jostle after the gun went off.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Over the past 10 days, U.S. Track and Field Olympic hopefuls have been battling it out at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, for a chance to represent their country in Tokyo. A highlight from the weekend was the men's 1,500M final on Sunday night that pitted University of Oregon underclassman, Cole Hocker, and reigning Olympic champ (and Oregon alum) Matthew Centrowitz. The long-awaited heavyweight bout was pushed back more than 5 hours due to record-high triple-digit temps across the Pacific Northwest. When the sun went down and the lights came on, the epic show they put on their home track proved to be well worth the wait. The video below shows the last 150 meters with the veteran Centrowitz leading comfortably. No spoiler alert necessary, just check out the video to see how the home stretch battle played out.