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This week, you just came across your first environmental challenge. It wasn’t a rainstorm, it wasn’t excessive heat. It was a quandary about if you should or shouldn’t run due to unhealthy air quality.
Smoke has blanketed the Kaweah canyon each morning for most of the past week. That makes it uncomfortable to sleep and downright hazardous during an early-morning outdoor workout.
Not only does smoke zap the oxygen out of the air, making it harder to breathe, especially when breathing deep, it also can have adverse health effects. When running, it is necessary to inhale deeply, but when doing this with wood smoke hovering about means that the “particulate matter” — the most hazardous form of air pollution due to its ability to penetrate deep into the lungs — is also being inhaled.
The size of the particle is a main determinant of where in the respiratory tract it will settle upon inhalation. Larger particles are filtered in the nose and throat via cilia and mucus, but the tiniest particulate matter can lodge in the bronchial tubes and lungs and cause serious health problems.
If adamant about working out in the morning during unhealthy air quality, it is best to do your run as close to the river as possible (where there is constant air flow) or commute to the flatlands where the smoke doesn’t reach. Otherwise, wait until later in the day because during this particular fire, the smoke has been heading east as the prevailing breeze comes up from the valley by about mid-morning.
The fine print: You should consult your physician or other healthcare professional before starting this or any other fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs.
WEEK 6 (of 12): Beginners' 5K Training Schedule
Monday, Oct. 17: Walk or cross train (30 minutes)
Tuesday, Oct. 18: Run (25 minutes)
Wednesday, Oct. 19: Run (20 minutes)
Thursday, Oct. 20: Run (25 minutes)
Friday, Oct. 21: Rest
Saturday, Oct. 22: Walk or cross train (30 minutes)
Sunday, Oct. 23: Run (2 MILES)
WEEK 6 (of 12): Beginners' 10K Training Schedule
Monday, Oct. 17: Walk or cross train (45 minutes)
Tuesday, Oct. 18: Run (30 minutes)
Wednesday, Oct. 19: Run (30 minutes)
Thursday, Oct. 20: Run (30 minutes)
Friday, Oct. 21: Rest
Saturday, Oct. 22: Walk or cross train (45 minutes)
Sunday, Oct. 23: Run (4 MILES)