I just returned from my first warm-weather run of the season. We've had an extended winter and a mini-spring so here we are at 80 degrees! Don't get me wrong, I am NOT complaining, but it sure can trip up your running pace. It takes our bodies about two weeks to acclimate to the warmer temps so I typically run by effort level rather than pace or speed. Which ultimately means I slow down to let my body cool itself efficiently.
It's truly amazing what our bodies will adapt too. I crewed for a fellow adventure racing friend Rob Harsh a few years back in the Badwater 135 Ultra-Marathon. This is a 135 mile race held in Death Valley in JULY! The temperature at the start line was 130 degrees. Although I only ran a quarter of the race, I still had to train and prepare my body for the heat. One way was I took Bikram Yoga Classes (aka Hot Yoga). The studio is over 100 degrees and the class is 90 minutes long. It not only helped me train for the Badwater, it also improved my body's ability to train all summer long in the heat and humidity. Gradually my body became very efficient at cooling itself in Bikram, mid-day summer runs and eventually in 100+ heat in Death Valley. I wouldn't want to run in Death Valley every day (and wouldn't recommend it either) but when I returned an 80-85 degree run was a piece of cake.
Our bodies are amazing tools. When trained gradually, they can adapt to almost anything!
PN: i will be speaking at the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon Pasta Dinner this weekend. I can't wait to run the course through the vineyards!