Dealing with the heat

It’s getting to the time of the year where we’ll have to be thinking about dealing with the heat as runners.

What do we know about dealing with the heat? Good ways to manage it? What are the causes of heat problems? What can we do about them?

All interesting questions. I’ll focus on the last part since that’s the actionable part. What can we do to at least lessen the effects of the heat?

Well, it seems like the answer is creating wind. With air movement, the effects seem to be less significant. We’ve all probably experienced this to some extent. Run into the wind on a hot day and the heat is bearable. However, turn to run with the wind and you can really feel it. Just remember: no matter what you do, the heat will slow you down.

Can “appropriate” shoes prevent injury? That’s what we’ve been told all along. Get the right shoes and that will at least greatly reduce your injury risk. However (I’ll quote):

This framework implies that a running-related injury does not occur because of footwear features but when a runner increases his or her running, so that given the other risk factors (eg, footwear features), the load capacity of a body structure is exceeded. In conclusion, footwear does not cause injury but can modify the global training load a runner can tolerate before sustaining an injury.

Do you use social media on your phone before your runs? You might want to stop. This is from a study on swimmers but I don’t see why it wouldn’t apply to runners also. In short, when swimmers browsed social media on their phones before workouts, their training was less effective (actually no improvement). The control group that didn’t browse social media before workouts did improve. This was a small study and they didn’t look for reasons, just whether or not there was an effect. However, I know this has me thinking twice about browsing social media right before heading out for a run.

What drives mental toughness? Many people think that hard driving coaches teach you mental toughness. The more demanding the coach, the more mental toughness you develop. What if that’s not the case, though? This suggests that mental toughness is actually better developed by a different approach. In high school runners, the ones who had the most mental toughness were actually the ones whose BPNT needs (things such as feeling greater autonomy, self competence and relatedness) were most well met. In other words, it wasn’t the hard driving coach who was best at developing mental toughness in his or her runners. It was the “player’s coach” (to borrow a term from other sports).

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