It’s really really really really hot here. I’ve been living in Dubai for just over six weeks now and the coldest temperature I’ve seen recorded in all that time is 31 degrees. THIRTY ONE. The hottest has been 44 degrees which made me feel like all my insides were cooking and swelling up like a human sized boil in the bag rice.
For a UK girl who loves a cold rainy run and a lie-in, this presents a serious training issue or two.
1. I am notoriously bad at both going to bed and waking up
I stay up all night, pottering and reading and tidying and pissing about on the internet and then SURPRISE I can’t wake up. Even if I, by some kind of miracle, manage to get to bed before 2am I still can’t wake up. Lose/lose on the morning exercise front.
Unfortunately for me, the coolest time to run in Dubai is around 6am, after the sun has been tucked away all night and the morning sun hasn’t quite set in with all its rage yet. All the run clubs meet at 6:30am on a FRIDAY morning (apparently this is extended to 7am in ‘winter’ – liberties). As marathon training sets in, this means a 4:30 breakfast followed by a 6:00 start for a run that’ll last in to the heat anyway, which sounds like a masterclass in how to make marathon training even more of a ballache than it already is.
2. It is seriously bloody hot at 6am
When I say ‘coolest’, I am talking 31 degrees at best. Most mornings we’re talking 34-35 degrees. This kind of heat makes me pour with sweat like I never thought possible, go beetroot red like never before and puff up like I’ve been caught in an avalanche of bees.
Running outside makes me VERY VERY UGLY
On my first run outside I resorted to running 10 metres at a time with walking breaks to complete a three mile loop. I’ve now progressed being able to do 3 miles non-stop but at a relative snails pace (anywhere between a 9:30 and 11 minute mile – no offence intended to anyone who runs this as their normal pace, it’s relative to my own training pace).
To add insult to injury, fluids don’t really sit well in my stomach when I’m running, making it nearly impossible to stay hydrated on the move. This presents serious issues of overheating and dehydration, along with it being just plain old really really hard work.
I have developed a few little strategies to help me beat the heat while I wait for it to cool down in November and December.
– Make early morning run dates
My marathon buddy is a lovely lady called Chloe, who happens to live around the corner from me. Knowing I am meeting someone drags my butt out of bed.
– Keep hydrated at all times
I try and sip water constantly throughout the day to make sure I am always at peak hydration, which I think helps me cope with the fluid loss on the run. I also make sure to drink drink drink from the minute I get in.
A helpful little dose of high GI replenishing sugars and water in a yummy scrummy little package. Watermelon is my new post-run obsession.
I never normally add salt to anything, but I’ve started added small amounts to my food in the hope that it’ll help me retain some water.
Speed sessions now take place indoors in order to prevent my pace grinding to an absolute halt. I’ve invented some little games to stop my brain imploding with boredom, which I’ll be sharing soon!
Do you have any other tips for running in extreme heat? I would love to hear them!