Running and Wildfires

Lots of tears out there today.  So many tears. *sigh*

If you are crying because you are actually choking on smoke from the wildfires in California, Colorado and elsewhere, know this: wildfires have always happened.  Some would argue that fires today are no worse than they have ever been.  *shrug* I have no idea if that is true, I've learned not to argue with my husband, his dad, my dad, farmers, doctors, or scientists.


1. Smoke inhalation is dangerous.  If you have the option to run indoors, EXERCISE THAT OPTION, YO. Treadmills are not dangerous.  Smoke is.  You can't run a sold race if you have COPD, even if you are DETERMINED to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for running a marathon while pushing an oxygen tank. 

2. Your run may suck - When air quality is bad, your lungs may not fully expand. Breathing may feel like work, even indoors your jog may feel like a slog. Your heart rate may be way higher because even at rest your body is doing more work than usual. This is happening because your lungs are protecting you, limiting your intake of those dangerous particles into your lungs, which also limits the oxygen your lungs receive with each breath.

3. It's not worth it - the fitness industry is laden with shame and slogans like 'no excuses' that will make you think you're wimping out by staying indoors. This could not be farther from the truth. With limited oxygen in air that is laden with dangerous particles, you're doing more harm than good by forcing an outdoor run. Please arrange your schedule to run indoors, or at least to run in this morning window when ozone is lowest.  Just not worth the damage you are doing to your body, otherwise.

Some struggles are unavoidable, others are totally unnecessary.  Don't make life harder than it has to be, running in smoke is NOT hypoxic training. (even if it was we still wouldn't do it!)


Coach MK Fleming is the founder of Fitness Protection, LLC where she coaches all kinds of runners for $29 per month and gives marathon plans away for free. Click here to download her most popular training plan, Tenacious AF!

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