While I love the long days of summer, I don’t so much love the hot days of summer. And I live in the land of humidity (DC wasn’t actually built on a swamp, but I totally understand why people say that), which makes summers even more fun. I am much more of a spring and fall weather runner, and don’t even mind running in the freezing cold.
That said, summer is here, and I’m in training (when am I not?) so here’s how I handle the heat.
1. Go Out Early
Okay, I’m actually terrible at this one, but if you want to beat the heat, get up early and get running. I don’t like to run in the dark, but hey, the sun’s up early in the summer, so get out there as soon as the sun comes up. The day is just going to get warmer, so get in your workout while you can. You can always nap later.
I can’t emphasize this one enough. Drink water. Drink so much water. Drink all the water. (Also, get some electrolytes.) In the summers, I make a point to carry more water than I need. For long runs, I wear a hydration pack and put ice into the reservoir, which definitely helps keep me cool. I use NBS Hydration and Preload for running. The Preload has really helped me prevent cramping and post-run headache issues.
And hydration isn’t just when you’re working out. I make a point to get at least three liters of water a day outside of my workouts. No matter how much water you drink during your run, if you’re starting at a deficit, you won’t be able to make it up.
3. Protect Your Skin
I am a pale, pale redhead. But even if you’re not, you should protect your skin from the evil rays from that glowy orb in the sky. My preferred sunscreen is by Zealios (who is conveniently celebrating Ginger Awareness Month). This stuff is amazing. It’s zinc based, which I prefer, as I think the physical barrier gives me better protection, and it has amazing staying power. This is the only sunscreen that I can confidently use during a triathlon and know that it’s not going anywhere, even on the swim.
I also own DeSoto Cool Wings, which not only protect me from the sun even more, but if I can manage to keep them wet, they also really help keep me cool. I mainly wear these for races, as it’s easy to dump water on them at water stops.
4. Slow Down and Listen to Your Body
Don’t kill yourself in the heat. If you’re out for a long run and you feel like your effort is the same as normal, but you’re slower than you want to be, don’t automatically push yourself harder. Take a minute to evaluate. How are you feeling? Is the heat getting to you? It’s better to be a bit slower and be safe, especially on training runs. But this also applies to races. If you’re feeling sick from the heat, slow down a bit. Get some extra water or ice and try to cool off. It’s not worth pushing yourself so hard that you’re sick.
This was my theory during my 70.3 last year. The temps in Augusta were abnormally warm, and by the time I got to the run, the joke became that we were running on the surface of the sun. I did my normal intervals for a good chunk of the run, but I hit a point where when I tried to run, I would get lightheaded from the heat. Rather than push, I decided to pack my sports bra with ice and power walk, with a few jaunts of running. Yes, it meant I finished slower than I possibly could have, but I also finished under my own power and I felt good doing so. Worth it every time.
Any good summer running tips you can recommend?