Summer has definitely made an entrance… it is hot, sticky and smelly in NYC. This is the “second heat wave” of the year, or so the meteorologists are calling it. It’s supposed to feel like 95-100 for the rest of the week. The 7-day forecast looks like what we used to see in Florida — each icon for the day has sun, cloud, thunder bolt and rain. So basically anything can happen.

But! Don’t let that ruin your runs. I had a sweaty five mile run this morning.

 

 

It’s challenging to run in the heat (check out tomorrow’s post for tips on how to run better in hot weather) but I really do think that there are some benefits to it.

1. It can make you more fit. There have been studies that show that training in hot weather increases your fitness level. It’s been compared to altitude training… Your body learns how to work out at a more intense level, so when you are in “normal” conditions, it feels easier. (Note: some research says this only happens if you work out for at least an hour in hot conditions)

2. It can help make your body more efficient. For runners (long distance in particular), efficiency is what makes us faster. Running in the heat helps make our bodies more efficient, which is always a bonus. Basically, the hot weather requires the body to increase its blood flow. Since it expands its volume, it can pump more blood out to vital organs… this helps make our hearts more efficient (which is why runners have such low heart rates usually).

3. It helps you build your mental fitness. Running in the heat is really challenging for me. But one of the things that I like about it is it makes me mentally tougher. If I can make it through a tough workout when it’s really hot (aka Boston in 2012!), I can draw on that during other hard workouts or races and KNOW I can do it.

4. Heat helps you vary your workouts. I don’t know about you, but when it’s 9,038 degrees outside, I find that some of my normal runs are just too hard to handle in the heat. I feel like heat is a really good reason to vary your workouts and step out of your comfort zone. Instead of running your normal route (under the sun), find a new way to go. Stop at a playground and do some strength training in between, with resting breaks to lower your heart rate. Think about doing a circuit training with water breaks in between. Whatever it is, heat will help you get creative so you can still get your workout on without getting sick.

5. You learn how to sweat better. The point of sweating is to regulate your body temperature better. The better you sweat, the cooler you are. So definitely an added bonus that your body becomes more efficient at handling hot weather after training in it. I swear I am always 20* warmer than everyone else, so this is definitely an added bonus.

6. A really good excuse to eat lots of fruit. To me, there is nothing better than indulging on some fruit after a run (and this includes Nuun Watermelon). I find that it cools me down and is the perfect after-run treat. Most times, it’s the only thing that’s appealing to me… so yes, grab a handful of blueberries or a bowl full of watermelon and celebrate that sweat.


Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post — how to run smart in the heat!

What do you think is great about running in hot weather?

Random Q: Do you know of any good tricep exercises, minus dips?



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