July 9, 2013

It is Hot and I am Running

It is as I drive by the bank 103-degrees approximately and the air is thick with moisture, only it's the kind of moisture - like ocean water only without the salt - that seems to suffocate rather than hydrate you. I am drinking V8 which is salty and although there is actually no evidence that salt-loss directly contributes to muscles cramps via the previously hypothesized mechanism it is true that salt seems to alleviate them, if only by satisfying the central governor in your brain that no, this will not be fatal, let the legs keep turning over.

I am thinking of running 8 or 9 miles and the pace will be slow, so slow that I will not know what it is. I imagine that I will see no one else because conventional wisdom holds that what I am about to do and indeed genuinely desire to do is stupid at least and perhaps legitimately dangerous, which can be true, if you don't do the one crucial thing you absolutely must do in weather like this: Slow the fuck down.

People wonder how slow running in general could possibly make them faster much less the incredibly slow brand of slow that running in this heat demands and so many of these people hammer infrequent miles and wonder why they cannot succeed at distance running, though the answer is right there in the name, distance running. You simply have to cover miles and then more miles and then more miles and your legs change in ways that are impossibly exciting to me because mechanisms fascinate me. You get more mitochondria and capillaries and strengthen your slow twitch muscles fibers and your heart and lungs also. You do all of these things every step of every mile up to probably somewhere over 100 miles a week and this is even more true when your body is subjected to additional stress which is most often taken to mean altitude but can also mean miserable heat and humidity.

And so I am excited now because we have what may be the hottest and most humid day of the year and I am going to go run in it because that also means it is perhaps the day where you will get the most fitness return for your mileage investment and I am quite confident that this is not a buyer's market, that there are many miles not being run by many people who aspire to race either this summer or this fall.

I would write more because the physiology of training is to me perhaps the most endlessly fascinating subject in the world but it will only be so hot for so much longer and so I really must go and take advantage of the circumstances. In other words I really must go run because it is on days like this and indeed every day is in one way or another a day like this that you get better.

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