As you have noticed in several of my posts, we have been having a heat waive here as of late. I am not complaining in any way because after the winter we’ve had I am welcoming the warm weather with open arms! However, once the heat gets to a point my body has a hard time adjusting. The first couple runs in really warm weather are pretty awful.
Even though we always have to be careful when running outdoors, when you are running in heat there are a few extra things you have to pay attention to.
It’s obvious that hydration is important, but as Megan pointed out in her post this week, more than 75% of American’s are dehydrated and don’t even realize it!
There are so many signs of dehydration and most of them we don’t even realize. It can affect your running performance, sleep, and just every day functioning. We often don’t notice the affects until we are at a very severe state. Remember, thirst is not a good indicator of dehydration. Once you are that point you are already very low on fluids.
This is the drink that I fix after almost each run I go on. Water, a little glutamine and Nuun. It’s delicious, replenishes my electrolytes, and to me is easier than drinking straight water all the time.
Hydration must be something that we focus on throughout the day. Not just in the morning, during our workout or at night but in every part of the day. Even when you don’t think you need water – drink! Especially as the months heat up you need to make sure your hydration is on point. Heat in itself can slow you down and if you add dehydration on top of that it can be a deadly combination.
When you are running, try making sure you are replenishing 2-4 cups of water for every 30 minutes of running.
Proper hydration should become a habit, because it’s important throughout every month of the year.
This may seem obvious, but as someone who has had a brother and uncle who has had skin cancer in the past year I really don’t think it can be focused on enough.
I for one know I have been guilty of slacking when trying to get out the door and leaving my sunscreen at home. It doesn’t matter if the clouds are out either, sunscreen should always be worn.
Protect your skin, it really is SO important!
I think one of the most important pieces of clothing I can wear during the summer is a hat.
I know it may seem like a hat will make you hotter, but it won’t if you find one that is breathable and allows the air to pass through. Keeping the sun out of your face and adding a little shade goes a long way for me.
You could also try visors which don’t completely cover the top of your head, they just have never been my thing.
Cut Yourself a Break
Here are two pretty good articles that break down the affects of heat on your running performance:
As the first article states, for every 10 degree increase above 55 degrees it is estimated that there is a 1.5-3% increase in average marathon finishing times. Basically, the hotter it gets the slower you get. Sounds pretty obvious right?
When you are training in the heat you have to be willing to cut yourself a little slack. You are going to slow down and that is okay. Even if you are out there doing speed work run based on effort. It isn’t important the exact pace you are going, but rather the effort you are putting into the workout.
Training in the heat will not only prepare you for a hot race day (my husband ran his best Boston Marathon placement (50th) in 85 degree weather on race day), but it will also make the cool days that much easier!
Time Your Runs
Running in the morning can be tough. It’s hard to get up, but when it gets hot enough outside I promise you it will be worth it.
You want to run early in the morning to avoid extreme heat. It has been said that you want to run when your shadow is taller that you are. (source) This means that the sun is not as high in the sky.
I remember my in-laws always shaking their heads at us when we would go running at 1:00-2:00 pm in the afternoon when we lived in North Carolina. We were college students at the time so getting up before 10:00 am on a weekend wasn’t happening. I didn’t realize the big deal, but now I wouldn’t even think about running that late in the day during the summer. The worst times you can run are anywhere from 12:00 – 3:00 pm.
It has also been shown that the air quality is better in the morning as well, just an added bonus for getting out there early!
If all else fails, you can take the easy way out and run on the treadmill.
This was from my easy 5 mile run on Thursday morning. I got up before work and just didn’t feel like going outside and sweating to death. It’s not usually the best decision, but since I’ve been outside every day this week I figured one day would be okay.
What are your tips for running in the heat?
What is the temperature where you are? Has summer already shown its head?.