Running in the Texas heat challenges even the most intrepid runners. Beyond the misery of bathing in your own sweat for hours on end, Texas runners need to take the time to properly acclimate. They must also heed the warning signs of heat stroke.
So why do it? Despite the dangers, running in the Texas heat brings significant rewards for those disciplined enough to stick with their training plan through the dog days of summer.
Training benefits of running in the Texas heat
Many runners plan their training schedules around a big fall race like the Dallas Marathon, Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth, or even more far-flung destination races, like New York City or Marine Corps Marathon. Training for any of those races requires running in the Texas heat.
Runners who train through the long, hot days of summer will reap dividends at those fall races by having built a strong training base over multiple months. Furthermore, some studies show that heat training can improve a runner’s performance. In fact, a study of cyclists showed that those who acclimated to the heat “performed anywhere from 4 to 8 percent better than before they trained in the heat.”
Not to mention that after running in the Texas heat all summer, you will feel amazing when that crisp, cool fall race day rolls around.
While running in the Texas heat can improve your athletic performance, it also brings benefits in the form of serious bragging rights.
One racing company, Mellew Productions, offers “The World’s Toughest Half” and “Sizzling 10K” challenges. As if running one race in the Texas heat isn’t enough, these challenges provide three. Runner’s World magazine published a feature article about one of those races, the Hottest Half, which only increased its popularity among the more daring (or perhaps foolhardy) runners.
No matter how much experience you have, running in the Texas heat requires patience, planning and a healthy dose of respect for the additional challenges of training in high heat and humidity. If you’re up for the challenge, over the next few weeks this blog will feature tips for running in the Texas heat.