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The Globe and Mail

A runner's diary: How to persevere in the heat

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Dave Emilio is documenting his training for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Oct. 16.

This season, I have been meeting my running mates from the Toronto Beaches Running Club about 30 minutes earlier for our morning training. This allows us to put in longer runs and still make it to work on time, and it's generally cooler . Unfortunately, even at 6 a.m. the temperatures are higher than I like, and the humidity makes it feel like a hot afternoon.

Running hard can be enjoyable, but when your eyes are burning with sweat and your shirt is drenched after a mere 20 minutes, it lessens the pleasure factor. Mentally there is a positive and a negative: You feel strong and satisfied after getting through a tough workout on a hot day, but when you gauge your time versus distance and compare it with a similar workout performed on a cool day, you see slower times. This can affect your confidence.

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I've been working harder than ever, but the results appear to be lacklustre, although I do occasionally check my running log and see that there is a slight improvement over this period last year.

To combat the conditions, there are several things I have done well this summer in regards to pre-run, on the run, and post-run. I have been drinking heaps of water and complementing that with plenty of fruits and vegetables to keep my electrolytes in check.

I used to forgo taking water on any run under 15 km to keep weight down, but lately I have been carrying water and/or a sports drink for all runs, not just the long ones.

Post-run, I have been much more diligent at replenishing my fluids and choosing healthier food options. Saying no to the pubs or lumberjack breakfasts is the best change I have made.

And since the heat saps our energy supplies, recovery is all too important. Delaying post-run refuelling is a big no-no. In the heat, I sometimes lose my appetite but I have been more disciplined about getting something into me within the suggested 30-minute window.

It's paying off. I feel great throughout the day despite the increased mileage under extreme conditions. As for the training results, I can't wait for cooler weather to help me lay down some scorching times.

Special to The Globe and Mail

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