I generally prefer my average training runs to be between 3-5 miles, but we are experiencing a heat wave in Chicago right now. In order to avoid the risks of exposure, I wondered if doing a set of sprints would be more beneficial and safer. Intensity would be higher, but I would be spending less time outside (20 minutes, tops). What do you all think? All advice is appreciated.
I'm not sure either way is going to matter, but from running a 5K race in extreme heat (roughly 90 degrees) a couple of weeks ago, I can tell you that the heat is definitely going to slow you down. Honestly, I think the best thing to do would be to just take it really easy, always have a bottle of water on hand, and wear a hat to keep the sun off your head.
I'm in Texas, and during the summer it's not unusual to train in 100+ degree temps, including speed work at the track. Paces are naturally slower, and you need to take reasonable precautions like increasing your fluid intake and wearing sunscreen. For track work, I'll bring a small cooler to the track with a few bottles of water - some to pour on me, some to drink.
Making it out at 04:00-06:00 is by far the best (the sun hitting you really makes a difference)
Past 06:00 in 90º warmth, I pack 3 liters of Gatorade for a 5 mile run, and gulp from the start of the run
Any warmer and I wet towels and wear them under my hat or tied around my neck like a cape, (creating like a portable AC system).. sticking my hydration pack in the freezer is also great,,, some people stick ice under their hat which also works good.
It's good to stay conscious of the side-effects of dehydration AND of heat exhaustion ( eg. irritability , headaches) and drink enough fluids until the symptoms subside)
As far as sprints, they will raise your body temp twice as fast and increase you chances of heat exhaustion. I would suggest cutting back to 3 miles but keep the runs regular to maintain a level of fitness. If you want to do more, fine...be smart, take the precautions you need to , and have fun!
I'm in New York and we are also in the heat wave. If you can, run early in the morning, preferably before sunrise or late at night. If you have access to one, you could also run on the treadmill. If anything, you could always stick to an easy 30 min. run or really any length of time easy run. Make sure to keep hydrated in this heat and pay attention to the temperature.. if you HAVE to run during the day, try to find a time where it'll not be as hot as the rest of the day and not as humid. Hope I helped.
Like Texas, I live in Oklahoma and the temp is usually 100+ until 12 at night. However, I prefer sprints over anything long distance. It makes my body acclimate faster and I can get it over with faster.
the heat slows you down. Punkt. so dont go and try run the same pace as when its cool, otherwise be sensible with your hydration, ... not too much, not too little, and enjoy it while it lasts, soon enough well all be complaining about the snow and ice
I guess spending only 20mins outside would be ok. I guess the danger would be doing sprints for the same time as your 5 miler.
Either way, I would say keep the HR lower. The body, in an effort to be cool, will push it up. Sprinting will jack it up faster. You'll generate more heat then your body can get rid of (it takes time to evaporate sweat). Your core will heat up faster...you'll give yourself a fever. If you must work out, then I would say watch the HR not the pace, keep it lower, maybe in an endurance zone. I think that is about 70% of max heart rate, give or take 3-5 bmp, maybe?