Runners have a creed similar to the Postman, ” Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”. No matter the weather, we get out there and run. This is especially true if you’re training for a marathon. I knew it was gonna be a hot day, so I took steps to take advantage of my scheduled 6.25 mile run. So here are

Tips for Running in the Heat

  1. Run early morning or late evening - This is when the sun rays won’t be strong and the temps will be cooler.
  2. Hydrate before, during and after your run - This is important. You want to ensure that you are replacing fluids lost during sweat. If you’re running for more than 40 minutes, include a sports drink to replace electrolytes.
  3. Run on trails or shaded areas - Dirt trails hold far less heat than concrete or asphalt surfaces. They also tend to be shaded which means that it will be cooler.
  4. Reduce your running speed - It’s important to manage your body temp. so that you don’t overheat. I was scheduled to run intervals at race pace this morning and slowed down as soon as I realized that my body was rising too quickly. I didn’t want to get exhausted and cut my run short.
  5. Wear cool, light colored, loose clothing - Dark colored clothing absorbs heat so make sure you wear light colored moisture wicking clothing that will help keep you cool.
  6. Wear sunscreen/sunblock - This helps protect your skin from sun damage. Use a product of at least SPF30 and ensure that you use it on all exposed areas.
  7. Wear sunglasses & a hat/visor - This helps protect your eyes and skin from too much sun exposure. Some hats & visors have an internal headband that can help soak up sweat.
  8. Carry your cell phone in case of emergency - This is a must during any run. You never want to be stranded somewhere. I once got super dehydrated during a run a couple years ago and thankfully I had my phone so that I could call my husband.

Happy Running! Please feel free to share:)

4 Tips for Running in Heat and Humidity: After months of endless snow and bitter cold, runners everywhere are shedding layers and rallying for a summer of training. Unfortunately even after three weeks of acclimating to the new weather, many runners find summer training feels harder. It turns out that increase in difficulty isn’t just in your head.

According to a large 2012 study of marathon finishers, “The environmental parameter that had the most significant correlations with marathons performances was air temperature… Humidity was the second parameter with a high impact on performance”.

Heat and humidity combined impede the release of heat from the body causing a rise in core temperature, which increases heart rate and can cause even an easy-paced workout to feel more like a tempo run. Since the air temperature no longer helps cool the skin, the body must try to cool through sweat. However, sweat doesn’t evaporate from our skin in high humidity creating an endless loop of extra work for the heart.

Running at a consistently elevated heart rate can lead to over-training as the body struggles to recover between runs that require increased effort. The following tips can make summer training more enjoyable and help runners feel ready for fall race season.

1.) Train By Feel: As noted, the increase in heart rate can make even an easy run feel harder. The body is actually working harder, so to ensure you do not overheat or over-train it becomes important to rely on how you feel and your heart rate rather than pace.

2.) Don’t Underestimate a Breeze and Some Shade: While you may prefer running in the morning, if the evenings carry a breeze it may be worth flipping your schedule. Even a light breeze will aid the skin in clearing away sweat to help lower body temperature and ease running. Eliminating contact with direct sun light will not improve the outdoor temperature, but it will keep your skin from getting too hot, hopefully allowing for better sweat evaporation which helps cool the body; one of many reasons summer marathon training runs often start hours before dawn.

3.) Decrease Your Core Temperature: This will require a little bit of creativity. Try these tricks:

  • Wet and freeze your hat or a bandana the night before longer runs.
  • Carry a handheld with ice water, the CamelBak chill is especially great for this. Studies have shown that holding something cold can provide a cooling effect for the entire body.
  • Invest in an ice vest like the pro’s to wear for a few minutes prior to runs.
  • Enlist a great Sherpa to meet you at certain spots with ice sponges.

4.) Switch to Iced Coffee: A small 2010 study of Malaysian runners indicated that utilizing caffeine prior to the run, did not impact the runner’s hydration levels, but did improve performance. For those who enjoy their morning coffee, it appears you don’t need to forgo it during the summer months. However, switching to iced coffee will provide an energy boost and thermogenic cooling. Consider this effect for all pre-run fuel; keep digestion to a minimum as it increases body temperature.

You probably already know that exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on the body. And since your body cools down as sweat evaporates off your skin—but it can’t evaporate as well in humid conditions—your body produces more sweat when humidity levels are high and you lose more fluids, says Jenn Gibson, RD, a sport dietitian with the U.S. Olympic Committee. The good news is that you’ll also burn more calories (as you would in extreme cold temps), says Gibson.

A hot summer run won’t just affect you physically, either; “It can absolutely affect your attitude—which is directly linked to your physical performance,” says Karen Cogan, PhD, a sport psychologist with the U.S. Olympic Committee. Here, four ways to stay physically and mentally cool on the run—no matter how hot it gets.

Cool down before your workout
Olympic athletes actually wear special cooling vests before training in hot and steamy conditions, which helps to lower their risk for overheating. But you don’t have to go to that extreme to get a similar effect, says Gibson. Fifteen to 20 minutes before your run, take a quick rinse in the shower under cold water, or simply rinse your hands in cool water immediately before heading out the door. Alternatively, you could whip up a DIY slushy by blending ice (either on its own or combined with a bit of a sports drink) and drink it before heading out.

Drink up
Ideally, you should start hydrating one hour before you hit the road, says Gibson. The key is to not just chug a bunch of liquid at once, but to allow it to slowly absorb into your system. That means taking small, frequent sips—not gulping down a cup of water right before you lace up. And keep drinking while you’re out there—you need more fluid in the heat since you lose more of it through your sweat, says Gibson. Everyone’s fluid intake needs are different, but it’s easy to figure out what yours are: Weigh yourself before and after your next run. If you lose more than two percent of your body weight, bump up your fluid intake by ½ cup during your next workout. Continue to increase it by ½ cup until you lose less than two percent of your body weight, says Gibson. Or keep things simple and do the urine test—if it’s a really concentrated (think apple juice-like) yellow, you’re dehydrated. Increase your mid-workout water intake in ½-cup increments until your post-run color is closer to a pale yellow.

Replace electrolytes
What you eat before, during, and after your workout is one thing that shouldn’t change much, says Gibson. But your body does chew through more carbs on a sweaty run than it would on a cooler day. A sports drink can help you maintain your energy levels and replace electrolytes lost through sweating. “Normally, I’d recommend sipping a sports drink (or a 1:1 solution of sports drink to water) only during runs lasting 60-plus minutes,” says Gibson. “But since the heat puts more stress on your body, it’s smart to do this for shorter runs in these temps too.”

Think cool thoughts
Imagine that you’re in another, much colder, location (think: a mountain resort in the winter). Use mental imagery and really imagine the environment and think about how the cool, crisp air feels against your skin. “Your mind is super powerful, and you can use it to convince your body to feel a certain way or do a certain thing,” says Cogan. “Talking yourself into feeling cooler isn’t going to change the fact that your body is hot and must work to cool down, but it can make you feel less uncomfortable and more motivated to keep running.”

Give it a positive spin
Replace thoughts like “Ugh, I hate the heat” with more positive affirmations such as “The heat is just part of the experience—the good part is that it’s working my muscles even harder than normal.” “Find some way to make it a positive for yourself, even if you don’t totally buy it,” says Cogan. This is one case where “fake it until you make it” definitely applies. via WomensHealth

The last blog post on how to run in the heat

Vomiting is something you want to avoid. You can sit on the couch and safely not let it come to that. That’s not very exciting though, so us runners choose to make things uncomfortable and live a little. 

But going too far is not living, that’s treading into excess territory. The polar opposite of being alone on the couch with the Nutella jar. Actually both excessive exercise in the heat, and excessive Nutella consumption will lead to vomiting. 

There’s been a few really good blog posts on how to run in the heat this year. Yes I’m late to the party… but so is Summer to 2014. Oh zing, Summer!

So who am I to give any heat tips?

Growing up in Perth, Australia where it wasn’t considered “hot enough” by mother’s standards to turn on the AC until it hit 100 degrees (38 C), is where I honed something of a craft in how to adapt to the heat. It was a choice of learn how to deal with the heat, or play video games indoors (I’ve had a few stints where I chose the latter).

Still, this will probably be the last “How to run in the heat” tips blog post that’ll be blogged this year.

1. 

Always run in the mornings.

If there are no other tips that I give, this is the one tip that is going to save your ass the most! These tips are in no particular order except for this one. 

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Beautiful like an 80’s montage - the #runrise on a cool summer morning run.

A raging debate has been going on over generations in Western Australia - where it’s hotter than the east coast (and better beaches IMO) - to adopt daylight saving or not. Every few decades there’s a trial, and the naysayers always get their way. 

This is disappointing to me, as I’m more of an optimist and am for more things than against. But as my workout vs work life balance gets more demanding, I’ve come to realize why the fitness lovers back in Perth are so much more against DLS than most. It’s because there’s at least a 20 to 30 degree F (10-15 C) difference in working out at 6am vs 6pm. 

That’s a lot of wasted energy being spent on keeping your vital organs alive in the evening! I’d rather spend that energy on running faster & longer, and recovering faster. 

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It’s easier to give it your all in speed work when it’s 20 degrees cooler in the morning. 

2.

Limit your food intake in the 2-4 hours leading up to your run. 

That’s if you must do your run in the evening (see #1). Otherwise this is pretty much guaranteed for the early risers among us. 

Food takes longer to digest in hotter climates. That’s why people feel the need to take siestas where it’s hot. True story. 

Too much food in your belly bloats you out, because it’s taking longer to digest. 

NOTE: people have a tendency to latch onto extremes, so I want to clarify not to do the opposite! The message I try to convey again and again in my blog is one of balance. So don’t interpret this as 180 degrees the other way and eat nothing at all! That’s extreme in the other sense, as it leads to low blood pressure (i.e. dizziness then brain damage). So no, please eat. 

3.

Wet your hair before going on a run.

This is awkward at first because your body temperature hasn’t heated up yet. But it makes a difference from the start if you keep your head cool. 

The most vital organ is your head, you need to cool it down whenever you get a chance!

4.

Freeze your water bottles overnight. 

This is more useful on a long run, or on for a long interval session. That way when you take it out to go running it defrosts over 30 to 60 minutes enough to be drinkable.

But by that time it’s still ridiculously cold enough that it aids in cooling down your body temperature, as well as keeping you hydrated. 

I’ve tried pretty much every major water carrying utility out there on the market, and I find that the tiny water belts work the best personally.

Small, compact bottles, evenly distributing their weight around the waist (instead of one giant area) wins the day for me! 

5.

Keep your shirt ON!

My upper body’s like a beer campaign - you need to enter a code to reveal a free 6 pack. Although I don’t know the code, and I probably never will.

But I’m not just saying to keep your shirt on because most guys with muscles put my upper body to shame. 

The main reason is that when you’re so sweaty that your shirt is soaked, your shirt is doing a great job of keeping you cool! That’s what you want most here, you want to have a cool core body temperature.

Most summer running shirts are made of fabric that doesn’t trap in the heat, so there really is no point in taking it off. Your core body temperature is going to be cooler if you keep your shirt on. 

The only times I take my shirt off is on the rare occasion I get nipple chafing… that’s a whole different blog post. 

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When it’s so hot that your shirt gets soaked a few miles into a run, keep it on!

6.

Drink small & frequent quantities of water

Instead of large gulps over a massive break in between drinks.

It’s like how the Oatmeal comic goes when racing a marathon. Same goes for any running on a hot day, you don’t want to waterboard yourself! 

After the run though? Waterboard away!

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7.

Take short & frequent breaks.

Similar to #6. On a long run it’s tempting to take a 2 to 5 minute breather, say for example, every 6 to 8 miles.

Instead I’ve found it works better to limit these breaks to about 15 to 30 seconds, but every 2 to 3 miles on really hot days. 

I usually combine breaks with a little splash of water in my mouth. 

8.

Gels?

I haven’t experimented enough with gels yet. I’m still finding out what works there, maybe I’ll add that in next year. 

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That’s all I’ve got mainly. I’m sure there are other things that have saved my ass, but these are the things that I pretty much do on every single hot run.

Some of these are obvious, some of them not. But all aren’t really widely adopted for some reason, so I think they’re useful to blog on.

This isn’t a foolproof way to avoid excessive heat exhaustion. These are just the most important things that I’ve picked up either from other people, or learnt along the way, or experimented with over many years of failures and triumphs. 

Until next year.

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