Running On The Road – Palm Springs

Some tips on running in hot weather, but first, the next time I tweet, blog, email, text or smoke signal ANYTHING that resembles this: ‘Hey! I’m in Palm Springs, and I’m about to go for a run.’ will you please remind me of this blog post?

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Literally, this was the worst four miles of my life.

And yes, I should have known better- Palm Springs, in Summer is not ideal running weather, due to it being, well …the desert.

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I generally love PS – I love the heat, the wind, the sun and the blue skies. I even love the windmills which ‘blow you a kiss goodbye’ as you leave. Half-way through the run, though, it felt like every breath I took sucked out some moisture from me and towards the end, I honestly thought there was nothing but dust running through my veins.

I took a selfie, which as you know, is rare for me – and look how ghostly I look! I had at this point being laying out in the sun for two days and I you would have thought I’d have at least a bit of a tan going on:

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Instead, I look like death, because I was so dehydrated and struggling so hard to keep cool.

When I spied this Starbucks, I thought the heavens had actually opened up and I was about to see Oprah at the pearly white gates beckoning me in.  I resisted, knowing that if I actually stopped there may have been a chance I would pass out on the cold linoleum floor of an Albertsons, surrounded by really old people OR worse than that, I’d give up and walk home < shudder >

I struggled on.

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When I finally goy home and collapsed on the sofa next to Dewey, my wonderful host’s dog, I realized that he has the right idea about exercising in the desert:

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Running in hot weather is no laughing matter, and as I lay in the pool, I decided to do some research into desert running to prevent future near death experiences. Here’s what I learned:

1. Electrolytes are way important.

My near-death experiences may have been brought about because I lost electrolytes through sweat, and failed to replace them. In a pinch, you can use plain table salt – running marathons I’m known to swallow an entire salt packed whole around the 13 mile mark.  Pre-mixed balanced formulations available from many sports nutrition vendors will do a much better job than salt, but take up way more room in your belt..

2. Cooling Down

Ian Adamson,  Course Director for the worlds most brutal race “The Sahara Race”, said: “you can drink (water) or you can wear it, but we strongly advise you to to do the former.”

It’s just too tempting to not pour water all over yourself though, and I know I did with mine.  Unfortunately, not only a did I waste half my water, but the effects lasted approximately 45 seconds at which point the water evaporated, and I started heating up again, AND just as thirsty.

3. Sun – blocking Equipment

I mean, of course I sprayed myself with factor 30, before I left. The kind that doesn’t sweat off. And I put a hat on, but what I forgot about was something Coach Scott used to tell us about – Sunglasses.

They REALLY help – because without them I was just squinting a lot, especially when running into the sun… or looking at anything bright, which in Palm Springs is most things. When you squint too much, you’re tensing muscles around your face… and lets face it you’re already running so who needs to be working more muscles than necessary. Also squinting gives me a headache.

Any other tips for running in heat that you want to share with me for next time?!


1 Comment

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One response to “Running On The Road – Palm Springs

  1. As a desert dweller, I empathize! Running early or after sundown helps.

    One guy who lives here used to dip his hat in water and put it in the freezer overnight. I have tried arms coolers and they work nicely as long as they’re wet – which is about 10 minutes :) I have heard elites per-cool before a race wearing ice vests. Never tried it myself.

    You can acclimate after a while, but that doesn’t help when you’re taking a short trip :)

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