Quick Tip: Run Intelligently in the Summer Heat
Running in the summer heat and humidity is one of those things that you’re not sure whether to love or hate.
On one hand, there are physiological benefits to pushing yourself during the hottest months of the year.
On the other hand, it kind of sucks.
But, depending on what your fall racing plans look like, logging some serious miles in the summer heat may not be optional if you want to be ready for your race.
A Few Things to Remember About Running in the Summer:
- The Summer Heat is a Bitch: The heat will drain you. During the summer months, don’t worry too much about your pace. It’s going to be slower than it was in the cooler temperatures of spring because of the extra physical demands that training in the heat places on our bodies. Expect it and accept it.
- Hydrate Appropriately: Make sure you’re drinking enough fluids on a regular basis to keep your hydration levels up during the summer, but remember there is such a thing as drinking too much water. Also, make sure you’re taking in some electrolytes if you have a particularly long training session or if you’ll be training several days in a row to help with recovery. When you’re sweating, you’re losing all kinds of salts and minerals that body needs, and those need to be replaced. I’d encourage you to avoid the gatorade if possible. Yes, gatorade has lots of the electrolytes your body needs, but it also comes with more sugar than you need in a couple of days. One of my new favorite recent finds is a product called EnduroPacks, which is a flavorless electrolyte spray that you put in your water bottle (or whatever it is that you’re drinking). It’s tasteless and calorie free, basically you won’t even know you’re using it, but your body definitely will.
- Keep Close Tabs on How You’re Feeling: Can I be real for a minute? Heat illness is no joke, and you can go from feeling ok to a seriously life threatening position pretty quickly. Make sure you’re monitoring how you’re feeling and err on the side of caution when it’s hot. It’s better to cut a workout short than try to push through and wind up in the emergency room. One thing to monitor closely: are you still sweating? As long as you’re sweating, your body is cooling itself. If you stop sweating, your body’s thermoregulation system is off and you need to stop NOW! And just because you’re not longer sweating doesn’t mean you’re not hydrated, so don’t just think you can drink some water and keep going. No more sweating, no more running. Period.
- The Payoff Will Come: It’s easy to feel like you’re not making any progress during the dog days of summer. No matter how hard you push yourself, you may feel like you’re running in quicksand. Don’t fret. Keep grinding. The payoff is coming. Once the temperatures cool in the fall, your reward for your summer heat training will be revealed in all its glory.
If you’re going to run and train hard in the summer heat, kudos to you.
I’m a huge fan of heat training, which is a good thing since I live in Central Florida, but if you’re going to train hard this summer you need to do so intelligently.
Heat illness isn’t something to mess with so be smart this summer, ok?
Is There a Point Where It Gets Too Hot for You to Run? How Do You Handle the Summer Heat? Let Me Know Below!
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This is such a great post! I especially love the part where you talk about not focusing on pace– effort only. I think it’s a matter of being patience, putting out the work, and trusting that the results will come once it cools down. I’m running a hot race tonight, and it’s always good to be reminded of these things.
Thanks Elizabeth, and after our chat the other day I’d imagine it might be a touch difficult to NOT focus on the pace.
Hope the race went well!