IT.IS.HOT!!! It could be just my imagination, maybe global warming or maybe because it's the first time I've trained for a marathon this early in the summer, but I swear this is the hottest it has ever been! Every time I come back from a run, regardless if it is a quick little 3-5 miler or long run, I am absolutely drenched and drained! I wish I had some magic formula to totally beat the heat and have amazing runs year round, but despite all my efforts and experience, the summer months are still pretty tough. I have, however, learned a few ways to work around and/or with the heat and humidity to survive these brutal summer runs and thought I would take a second to share...
Although the most obvious piece of advice for summer running, and essentially for any activity year round, it certainly does not hurt to be reminded. Proper hydration is key for performance and recovery so be sure to place a huge emphasis on it, especially as the temperatures rise! I went into a little more detail in a past post about hydration, but I would like to point out a couple of things I to stay hydrated, especially during the summer months. First and foremost, I make sure I am constantly drinking water throughout the day, and increase my water intake the day before, the day of and the day after a long run. And speaking of those long runs, I make sure to have some Nuun Hydration in my Orange Mud hydration vest. Hydration of the utmost importance and should NEVER be neglected, so do not "stay thirsty my friends" and be sure to drink up!
Out Run the Sun
Summer time means earlier sunrises. This means you can get even earlier for those morning miles, yey...or not hehe. Though many may not be quite as bright eyed and bushy tailed this time of day, it may be the only time run in before the sun is up and scorching. Getting as many miles possible in before the sun is fully up is not only a great way to beat the heat but the perfect way to start your day! I personally love a good early morning run. There is something so beautiful in watching the sun rise and getting to witness the start of a brand new day. It also gives me a great sense of accomplishment knowing what I have conquered for the day before many are even out of bed! If waking up early is not your thing right now, I can (almost) assure you that if you focus on the great things early morning runs have to offer, you'll soon grow to love it!
Probably not what you want to hear when you're training so hard to get ready for your Fall races. But pulling back on the intensity of your runs (especially the long ones) may be what you need to get through the hot summer months. The intense heat and humidity can certainly take a toll on your body and pace, so don't get discouraged if you find yourself feeling a little sluggish out on the trail. Pace may need to be adjusted by up to a minute or more depending on the temps and humidity. So don't beat yourself up if you have to slow down a little in order to still get the miles in. Although I must admit, every single summer, I get a little frustrated when my long runs are slower the other months, and I even have a "freak out moment" as if it were my new norm. But then I'm reminded that despite my slower pace now, I know what I am capable of and that if I stay dedicated to my mileage and training plan, it will pay off. Always be sure to train hard, but more importantly, train smart!
Take It Indoors
Though you may not be a fan of the treadmill, sometimes it is the necessary evil when the weather is just not conducive for an outside run. As a runner down here in Florida, I have grown to love my "dreadmill" when I need to get some mid-day miles in during the summer time. (Also, as a working mom, sometimes it's the only way I can get a run in). Whether it is the one in my den or a trip to the gym, I actually (somewhat) look forward to hitting up the 'mill for some miles and me time. I personally LOVE music, so all I need for an enjoyable treadmill run is some good tunes (and water of course). While at the gym, I have TV's in front of me so it is a great time to catch up on the news and sports (and the occasional talk show). Other ways I have passed the time on the treadmill is listening to podcasts or books on tape, watching some NetFlix on the iPad, or even chatting with a friend on the treadmill next to me at the gym. Of course it not the same as running on the trail, but when that trail is pushing 110 degrees, that treadmill doesn't seem so bad after all!
Why Not Tri?
A triathlon may not be your thing, but cross-training with some biking and running is a great way to beat the summer heat. Taking a dip in the pool or whizzing down the trail on your bike is certainly much cooler than pounding the hot pavement during a run. It will provide great cross-training, a new challenge, and potentially a new love in multi-sports!?!
Embrace the Suck
Good luck and happy training everyone!