Thoughts While Running Hot

“Run in the Heat” Cedar Park, 2020

Today there was a heat advisory for the area where we live, but I wanted to try to get a 10 km run in to meet my August 10k Challenge in Strava. The 11:30 am start was later than I wanted, but oh well… the temperature was still only 89° F, which is below my cut-off of about 93° F. So I drank plenty of water and headed out.

There was a slight breeze which meant it was a bit cooler unless it was a tailwind, in which case it was like no wind at all. And the air temperature was fine. The big problem was the sun. It felt extremely intense today, and any time it was directly on me, I could feel my temperature rising quickly. Sure, it wasn’t optimal, but it did give something new to think about.

I’ve been meditating daily for a while now, and so I try to attune myself to how my mind wanders, and the thoughts I have. While running, I try to see where my mind goes on its own, but also have to keep track of how my body feels. With the hot weather, top of the list is making sure I don’t succumb to heat exhaustion (which I read about in the heat advisory alert on my phone earlier). Long ago I wrote a blog post about how when I run, I sometimes imagine my body as a mecha-robot from a Japanese anime, and my brain is the pilot sitting in the head. I still have that same idea, but now try to classify the random thoughts that come into my head. Perhaps they are like messages that flash onto the pilot’s computer screen. Some of the messages are related to the run, some are not. For instance, a thought about work might enter my mind. In my mech-robot, this is an incoming message across the computer monitor. Or remembering the heat advisory. This is also a message, but something more pertinent to the activity. At the same time, the pilot (my mind) has a dashboard of gauges and meters to watch. These are things like what my body temperature is, how hard my lungs are working, if I feel any soreness or pain in my muscles, or if I feel something truly alarming like getting the chills. The last example would be a flashing red emergency alert telling me that heat exhaustion is likely.

So those thoughts kind of run through my head on each run.

But today the extreme sun got me thinking about where I should run, specifically, should I run in the street or on the sidewalk. Here’s a list of pros (and cons) as I see it:

    • In the street (against oncoming traffic) – The asphalt is easier on your body, as it is softer than the concrete, especially in the summer. There are less cracks and bumps in the road as compared to the sidewalk, so running in the street requires less constant attention to the road surface. FYI, running against traffic is safer because you can see cars coming your way, and when there are none, you can edge out into the street farther to ensure social distancing if necessary. If you run with the traffic (on the right side of the street in the US), you will not be aware of cars coming from behind.
    • On the sidewalk – More shade. That’s pretty much it.

Today I ran on the sidewalk. I can’t remember the last time I did that, but the sun felt so intense that I decided it was the safer option. As you can see in today’s photo, the left side of the street was not very inviting while the right side looked nice and shady.

Anyways, my planned 10k route would take me on a stretch that had no shade at all, so when I looked at that long straight baked by the Texas sun, I said no way, and turned around to run on more shade-friendly streets.

While I didn’t complete my 10k, I did put in a decent distance which will make next month’s 10k challenge easier to accomplish.

I hope you had a cool day! またね~

3 thoughts on “Thoughts While Running Hot

  1. I have an intense aversion to heat, so I almost always run in the morning around 7am. Thankfully, my part of Los Angeles doesn’t get too hot, so I can actually enjoy the run without the sun beating down on me and my face pouring sweat. I agree that asphalt>sidewalk, and I try to run on the former as much as I can; fortunately, not many cars are out before 7am, so I have the whole road to myself! Happy running. 🙂

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