Friday, June 27, 2008

(Air) Quality Control

The blessing and the curse of living and running is Southern California is the environment around you. Beautiful beaches with clear cool breezes are squeezed up against the smoggy city (and valley - where I live) with its hazy, translucent atmosphere.

I've been fortunate enough to split my running between the valley and the beach (about 60/40 when it comes down to minutes run) so I am not breathing in too much of the pollution. But still, I worry sometimes about the crap I am breathing in.

FitSugar has a recent post warning about Watching the Air Quality where you workout. They suggest:

--Do not run on or near roads where there is heavy truck or bus traffic.

--Work out in the early morning or later in the evening when the ozone levels are at their lowest.

--Exercise indoors if possible.

--If you experience any difficulty breathing, stop your exercise immediately and see your doctor.

Well, the GP trails run parallel to the highway, so I am sort of screwed there. I do run in the morning or after work (rarely at lunchtime anymore). I refuse to workout indoors unless there are brush fires in the area. Who wants to pay for a gym when running on the streets are free! I sort of grin at the last piece of advice - any runner/jogger/biker/walker knows that on occassion, and most of the time PURPOSEFULLY, you will have some difficulty breathing. That's the point of running - moving your threshold farther back! Stopping when your tired gets you nowhere! Alas, maybe that's just my competitive side speaking.

Competitive or not, air quality isn't something to shrug off. No sense in improving the heart when you are killing your lungs.

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