I know I have talked about this before, but it’s one of those topics that you can always cover again. When it comes to running in the heat, running smart can make a huge difference.
When we used to live in Florida, I was in the camp of NOT running smart. I, stubbornly, would run after work every day. That’s 5 p.m. The hottest point of the day. I would get sunburnt. And I would make it about three miles, my body would shutdown, I would be defeated and would sulk for the rest of the day.
The next day? I’d repeat it.
And wonder why running sucked so much.
Since then, I’ve learned a few things… which is good, because this is our forecast over the next few days:
Anyways, here are my tips for running in the heat:
Run earlier. Or really late. As I’ve learned, running at 5 p.m. is NOT smart. It might be inconvenient to wake up earlier or a pain to run late in the day (near sundown), but it will make your runs so much better. You’ll thank yourself. I am currently running at 6 a.m. and as it gets hotter, I may move that earlier.
Dress right. When it comes to summer, less is better. Unfortunately, I don’t have the confidence as 98% of Austin’s female runners to run in a sports bra (maybe someday), but I still try to dress as light as I can. Light tanks, light shorts, light socks… and not just in fabric, think about color too. There are some running clothes that are designed to offer UV protection, which is great if you are out in the sun quite a bit during your run.
Wear sunscreen! <— This is one that I desperately need to work on. I just forget as I’m racing out the door to get my miles in… it can help to prevent that runner’s
burn tan that I am definitely rocking already (it will just look really bad when wearing a swimsuit, ha).
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate… on the run too. One of the biggest reasons why I failed in Florida was because I never drank water while I ran… not unless it was over 14 miles. I know, you are probably thinking to yourself, “how dumb can you be?” But I was just being stubborn and thought that having water was something I didn’t need unless I was going far. Even if you are running a mile, bring some water… it doesn’t mean you’re weak. It means you’re smart.
Come to terms with a slower pace. This was another issue that took me a long time to get used to. Running in the heat slows my per mile pace by a full minute… and at first, I couldn’t help but think that I’d lost my speed! Once I traveled back up north, I realized how much the heat was helping me and my pace. This makes it a good reason to skip running with a GPS watch.
Cut yourself some slack. Running in the heat is hard. Cut yourself a break. If you have to walk, embrace it as a chance to spend a bit more time outside. If you need to cut your run short, spend some extra time strength training. If you need to skip your run for the heat, give yourself a rest day or a fun way to sweat (like kayaking!).
How do you survive running in the heat? Any tips to share?
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