5 TIPS ON RUNNING IN THE HEAT (BECAUSE IT'S HERE TO STAY)
This summer has been just brutal! Mother Nature seems especially peeved this year and she is making it known. One thing is very apparent; the heat and humidity are here to stay, at least for now. Morning long runs are being pushed back earlier, and those shake-out runs are falling later and later in the day, but what do you do when you can’t run at 6am or at 7pm? The key is knowing how to deal with the heat when you have no choice but to deal with it.
So how do you run in the heat without losing it? Here are some tips that may help you get the most out of your summer running:
ADJUST YOUR PACE
You may have to run 30 to 45 seconds slower per mile depending on the level of humidity. There is no shame in it. This week the humidity is bound to be well into the 90s, and that is no joke! Listen to your body from the very first steps, this is usually when you know what kind of run it’s going to be. Then play it conservatively. There are some runs where you may be out on the roads for well over an hour and a lot can happen in that time.
DRINK ENOUGH DURING YOUR RUN
Make sure that you drink plenty of water during your run. If you have a energy drink, even better! When the humidity gets this bad I would even encourage you to plan to hydrate every 2-3 miles and with something containing electrolytes. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty because by this point you are clearly dehydrated and it could be adversely affecting your run. Sometimes this feels like you're hitting a wall, and it has nothing to do with your fitness level. Carry some gel with you as an alternative to energy drinks, and even consider taking some SaltStick salt caps to help you rapidly replace lost electrolytes during your run. You can take them with water, they don't take up much space and they could very well save your run.
WEAR A TOP (THIS IS FOR THE GUYS, OBVIOUSLY)
Guys, if you sweat a lot, wear a top. If you’re thinking about going shirtless, think about where all that sweat is going to go. It will just trickle down your body and soak your running shorts, then when they are completely drenched it will continue down your leg and into your socks and shoes. You can’t exactly change socks mid-run so then what? Sweat-drenched socks are no fun to run in, and they can even cause blisters. This is why a top, even a singlet, can come in handy and help to dissipate some of that sweat you’re producing up top. Look into moisture-wicking materials like the ones discussed in this article for ideas on what to wear.
Chafing is no fun, especially when you get in the shower! Take a close look at the seams in your tops and bottoms, then apply some Body Glide where those seams will likely come into contact with your skin or where abrasive material may rub against, oh I don't know, a nipple or two. Be liberal with it and don’t be afraid to apply too much because in this case, more is more.
PREPARE YOUR RECOVERY DRINK
Think about what you want to have immediately after your run, then prepare it ahead of time, whether it's your favorite energy drink, a protein shake or even a healthy snack. Whatever it is, you’ll be glad you made it ahead of time, especially on days like this. Right after the run is when you need the nutrition the most and you may not always have the energy to make something after you've been running in the heat. Follow this up with a good post-run stretch and start to recover and restore your body immediately.
Running in the summer can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Run smarter and you’ll make the most of your training.