Beat the Heat: Tips for Summer Running
As we approach the hottest part of the year, being smart with your running takes on a whole new meaning. In order to give yourself the greatest chance of success in training, you must consider the factors of the summer. We have some go-to tips for conquering the heat and making sure you get the most out of your summer training. Now, while all of these ideas may be obvious to the seasoned runner, it is likely that some of them are pieces of advice that are given but not always followed. Here are a few strategies for beating the heat with your summer training.
1. When to run?
Gone are the days of being able to walk out the door at any time of the day and have some enjoyable weather. Chances are if you are not an early riser you are going to have to deal with more unpleasant temps. Be sure to take into account how long you will be out for your run. There is nothing worse than starting a long run in 70 degree weather and ending in the mid 80s. Be sure to run by perceived effort rather than pace in summer heat. At RunningLane, we like to call summer humidity “A poor man’s altitude training.” So if you are choosing to run at a peak hot and humid time of day, don’t be as fixated on your pace.
*Training for a race that is mid summer? It may be good to practice beginning your run at race day start time. If you are used to 5:30 am temps you are most likely not going to be prepared for the feeling of an 8 am start.
2. Where to run?
If you are starting before the sun comes up, you have a little more flexibility on this one. If not, choose mostly shaded routes. Those of you who carry a hand bottle or wear a hydration vest have a bit more freedom on run location as well. If that’s not your style, make sure to plan routes with water stops (public fountains) in between. If you are not in a city that has a lot of accessible fountains, choose small looped courses rather than large single loops or long out and backs. There is nothing worse than being 5 miles into a run knowing you are another 5 miles away from your water bottle.
Hydration is an all day affair for a runner. It is more than the tiny 8oz hand bottle you carry with you mid run. Yes, this is the number one area where we usually miss the mark. Each person will have different hydration requirements based upon size and sweat loss. The recommended 64 oz or 8 glasses of water today is really not taking into account what an active person needs. Drink water, drink when you are thirsty and drink liberally. Electrolyte drinks are another good way to hit your daily quota. There are a variety of options out there that can help you meet your hydration, training and diet needs. Be aware of alcohol and soda consumption during the summer as these do not replace your hydration needs.
4. What to wear?
Check in with your local running retailer for the best seasonal gear. Here are a few of our tips. Look for light pieces that are moisture wicking. Avoid cotton and try to stick to lighter colors. Invest in a running hat or sunglasses for some eye and head protection. Sunscreen is a must. There are a number of natural options out there that are great for athletes. Lastly, don’t be afraid to buy anti-chafing cream. There is nothing more embarrassing than coming back from a run with blood coming from your underarms, and there is no worse feeling than getting into the shower with that.
Whatever the weather is, it doesn’t need to impact your training in a negative way. Stay smart and get ready to crush some summer miles!