Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Running in the Heat

Running in the heat SUCKS.

I'm sorry. That came out wrong.


I feel much better.

I wake up around 7 every morning to get my run in. So much for really sleeping in this summer, though sadly this does feel like sleeping in after my 5:30 AM alarm during the year. I don't mind getting up early to run, but what I do mind is that even though I do, it is still miserable outside. I feel like running is torturous. My mile times have stayed pretty steady, but every step feels 10x harder than it does in cooler weather. I usually go 3.5 to 4 miles with occasional longer runs, but I have also been a fan of running a little and walking a little to keep my distance up without causing myself heat stroke.

I would take a picture of myself when I get back from one of these runs to show you the amount of sweating going on (and how I look like a tortured POW), but I don't have a smart phone (holding steady!) so it would involve getting my camera out and uploading a gross picture of myself, which is too much work. Maybe one day I will remember.

For those who can handle running in the heat- bless you. For those like me that feel like they are slowly dying every day, keep these tips in mind (courtesy of some of my favorite blogs):
  1. Switch gears and adapt your workouts- it takes about two weeks for your body to adjust to the cool and run based on your effort level rather than your typical pace. Adjust slowly. Just like you increase your weekly mileage slowly allow your body to adjust to the weather slowly.
  2. Shell out the bucks for some summer running clothes.  Or just buy one outfit and rewash it all of the time but having the right gear for running in different conditions is so important. Think loose fitting, wicking fabric, light colored and light weight. Awesome article HERE with tons of different recommendations for hot weather running gear.
  3. Run E.A.R.L.Y!!! Obviously it is cooler in the morning and evening so get out the door even though you would rather be laying in your comfy bed…when you get home and notice it is getting hotter you will be so glad you went when you did (although in some areas the humidity may be higher the earlier you go). If you are training for a race that is going to be hot then maybe do a few of your runs early but also some of them when it is hot to help your body adjust.  
  4. S.U.N.S.C.R.E.E.N. Besides just protecting you from skin cancer ‘sunscreen can decrease your skin and body temperatures, so you’ll stay cooler during exercise.’ (source)
  5. Drink, drink, drink. Hydration MUST happen all of the time, all day long…not just when you are working out. During your workout drink water and even try pouring some of it on you! If your workout is less than 45 minutes you should be fine with just water but anything longer than that you may want to grab a sports drink when it is really hot out to help keep your electrolyte levels up and to give some fuel to your muscles. Awesome article about WHEN and WHAT to drink during the summer for your running!
  6. Plan your routes according to drinking fountains (or bring your own water bottle).  
  7. The treadmill will be your best friend even when you don’t like her back. Sometimes it really is too hot to safely run outside so use that treadmill. There is a post HERE with tips on how to fight boredom on the treadmill. You may really want to try out your speed work on the treadmill when it is hot out.
  8. Try to run by water. It is usually cooler near rivers, lakes and the ocean so try to run along those places….added bonus: the scenery.
  9. LISTEN to your body! If you start feeling dizzy or light-headed then stop and find shade and water. You can finish your workout another day when the conditions are safer for you!
  10. Remember. Running is hard and running in the heat is even harder but that is what makes us runners so cool…..we are hardcore:)
This can be adapted to any outdoor exercise in the heat! And just keep reminding yourself (as I often do)...fall will be here before we know it!
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