It;s that time of year.
Heat is smothering runners in many parts of the United States, and we are still a few days away from the official start of summer.
This morning, avid runner, Ken Shapiro, from Oviedo, Florida, posted that is was a steamy 79 degrees when he began his 10-mile training run at 5:00 a.m. A cool 97 degree day today will be followed by three consecutive days when the temperatures are expected to reach 99 degrees in the Sunshine State.
At Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where I'll be headed on Saturday, temperatures will hover in the mid to high 90s for the next week or so.
Don't beat yourself up. Practice all the necessary means of staying relatively cool and safe during periods of tropical temperatures. Try to run in the morning or evening. Seek shade whenever possible, and stay hydrated. Resign yourself to the fact that your workout and race times will suffer as temperatures rise, and use these days as "maintenance" days. Maintain your fitness and try not to slide back.
Back in the last century, in 1980 to be exact, I was afforded the opportunity to run and spend some time with a superior runner, and a great, personable individual.
New Zealand's Rod Dixon captured the bronze medal in the 1500 meters at the 1972 Olympics, and went on to win the 1983 New York City Marathon.
In 1980, world-class runners were not yet "professionals," so Rod Dixon received sponsorship from an athletic store chain to train near Reading, Pennsylvania, a city 35 miles south of my home.
Among the many things I learned from this Olympian was an easy method of coping with hot weather training.
Simply, one can employ a technique that Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah, has used.
Finish your training run and go directly to your garden hose.
Rod Dixon told me, "If it works for horses, it can work for you."
Spray that garden hose on your tired, sore legs, from your hips to your feet, for as long as you feel is necessary.
The cool spray will drop your overall body temperature, but what's more important, it will reduce inflammation in your legs, and freshen you up for your next workout.
It's the same concept as an ice bath, but a lot less painful.
So, stay safe and hydrated during this summer heat, and even though we may not rank as a Triple Crown champion, at least we can cool down like one.