A view from my side.
Summer has finally arrived here. It’s been toying with us. Playing with us. The temps have crept up and then dropped back down. But it has finally shown up and stuck around. The Heat Index this afternoon during my run…101°F. After 5.5 miles in this heat today, I was ready to call it quits.
I am a Southerner and as such, am mostly acclimated to temps such as these. My soccer teams regularly practice in 100°F+ weather from late July-late August. We will play a tournament in the heat of the month. That means 2 matches on a single day in those kinds of temps for two days back to back. The boys will spend the non playing hours inside, in air-conditioned comfort or sitting in the pool at the hotel. But still, 2 matches, over 160 minutes running on the field, averaging 4-5 miles per match for some players, 6-7 for others.
Part of the reason I run in the heat of the day during the summer is to be prepped and ready for the practice sessions we will start in late July. The conditioning to required to run and play in this heat doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and effort to be able to work through a 2 hour practice session when it’s this hot. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to expect something from my players that I’m not prepared to give them.
We take plenty of water breaks. We get out of the sun and into some shade. We have misters to spray water on us. We have coolers filled with cold water and wash cloths to wipe down our face, neck and head. We have trainers on hand in case anyone shows any signs or symptoms of heat related illness. We aren’t idiots flirting with heat exhaustion. We’re athletes, conditioned to play in the weather of our location.
Another reason I run in the heat of the day is because that is the time that works best for me and my body. I truly am not a morning person. Running in the mornings would require either hitting the pavement at 5:30 or cutting my runs short. I have no desire to do either. My natural rhythms work best for me if I can run/train between the hours of 3:00-9:00 p.m. During the summer I can leave work at 3:00 and am running by 4:00. During the seasons, I am at the fields by 5:00 and finishing up around 8:30. I will often get a run in after practice or, will play with the boys, getting some running in during practice. It’s not the same thing, I get it, but I treat it like a Fartlek workout. Sprint…jog…run…sprint…run…sprint…jog. You get the idea. By the time I’ve participated in two sessions over the course of a night, I’ve had close to 2 hours of running should I choose to join in.
So it starts. The summer heat that will eventually find our ambient air temps at or over 100°F and our Heat Index at or over 110°F. You can’t just walk out in that and play, train, or run unprepared. You have to work up to it. You have to be used to it. You have to have conditioned yourself for it. You have to be ready for it. And, you have to respect it. But when you’re ready, you can step outside and say Damn the Heat.