While it’s not officially summer yet, here in Kansas we unfortunately skipped spring and our high temperatures are already up to 90s+F/32+C. Warm temperatures or not, I hope your near summer has started out well.
For me, that hot air makes for some slow running. A couple weeks ago, I asked Denny Krahe, our running contributor, about adjusting my heart rate to account for the heat. I never do any speed work or fast runs when its that hot, but my normal cycle is to exercise in the late afternoon or early evening, so I make the best of it with good hydration during the day, a big hat, and a long sleeve loose white wicking shirt. I notice my heart rate goes up about 10 beats per minute trying to stay cool. Blood acts a bit like the coolant in a radiator.
Now, I’m no doctor or physiologist, so I’ll stop trying to explain, but Denny did set me straight on something important to pass along. When running in the heat, I do go slowly, but was giving myself 10 extra beats per minute as a target heart rate increase. So, for example, if my target heart rate is normally 130, I was thinking it’s ok to go to 140 to compensate for the heat. Denny let me know that’s not the right way to do it, if you are indeed wanting to do heart rate training. He explained that your heart is working just as hard at the 130 bpm in the heat while under the additional cooling load as it would if you were running faster at a cooler temperature. His recommendation is to slow down, stick with your target heart rate, and then see the rewards in speed in the cooler fall weather. He also has some other great tips for hot weather running at his website.
When I pick an article topic for the update, I want to have a good corresponding picture. The last couple of months, I’ve been doing a lot of stress analysis simulations on components of the JogAlong frame, so there are many images I could use, but they are individual parts color-coded to show stress levels, and as stand-alone pictures, they don’t convey much emotion. Instead, how about Uncle Mike getting sprayed by niece Coco with the water toy? She really got a laugh out of it, and I am sure some of you would like to do the same to not so subtly remind me that you are ready for the JogAlong to be released!
Rest assured, I hear you, and we are pushing ourselves to get to the next step. One of the reasons we’re doing all these simulations now is to avoid more revisions to the design while we go through the testing and certification phase. In order to receive certifications, those tests, performed at third party laboratories, have to be done with parts that come from production tooling. Tooling in this case refers to injection-molded tools used to make the engineered polymer parts and other production-grade tools needed to build unique parts. That translates into a significant investment in not only money but also time.
An important step we have in the plan, and one of the biggest reasons I have high confidence in our manufacturing partner is that they have replicated all of the third party tests and fixtures in their facility. So prior to sending the JogAlong to the third party laboratory, we will have completed all of those tests internally. If we do find something that needs to be updated, we can do it rapidly in-house. That will give us confidence in the final product as it goes to the third party lab.
For those of you who run 10k races, perhaps this analogy will make sense. For me, the hardest part of the race is about mile four to mile five. There is rarely anyone on the course to cheer me on, I’m already up against or pushing past what feels comfortable, but yet I have to find a way to finish. The mental technique I use to get me through this part of the race is counting my breaths. I count up to 60 then start over and repeat as needed. It keeps me focused and my pace even, and, after a few rounds of that, the finish is much closer.
It’s the same for the JogAlong: each step of the process (like each breath) brings us closer to the finish, but you take them one at a time at a controlled rate. If you try to sprint too soon, you pay for it in the end. So we continue to trust our development process (like running training) and we look forward to our pace picking up as we move closer to the finish.
Thank you for your continued support.