As the spring races fade and the heat of the summer begins to reign down, it’s time to look at your summer runs and early fall races. It’s not uncommon for many runners to take a vacation in the summertime. Some of us cut back drastically in volume while others keep on training right through the heat of the summer. For me, the summertime means extended training. One of my goals this year is to run a sub 2 hour half marathon during my first fall race. I have to maintain my training season so that I can be prepared for my goal race.
In Texas, the heat can be scorching and a gigantic demotivator to not throw on my running shoes and log my miles. I have to mentally prepare myself to run in the summertime. Plus, I need to keep my body in shape for all of those summer swim parties and backyard BBQs. By keeping my race goals within sight, I can push through the hot runs.
Here are 5 ways that I help minimize the radiating Texas heat.
I keep a cooler in my car with my frozen headbands, sweat towels, water, sports drinks at the ready. I run a loop during the summertime so that I will have access to my car and cooler multiple times on a run in case I need to cool down or for a swig of water. For my longer runs, I use a hydration pack ( see below). I sweat a lot during my summertime runs so replacing my liquids frequently ensure that I’ll be able to complete my training miles for the day.
If you’ve had some water to rehydrate and you have some water to spare, you could dump it over your head. Only do this if you are properly hydrated because drinking it actually cools your entire system down more so than dumping it on your body.
While it takes some runners 2-3 running sessions to get adjusted to hot weather running, it could take some of us a couple of weeks to be fully adjusted. Running before the sun hits the horizon is the key to running in hot weather climates. If you can’t run before the sun comes up then try to run as early as possible. If running early is out of the question, consider running at night time.
I have three young children. During the school year, I wake up at 7:00 AM to take them to school. During the first week of May, I start getting up 15 minutes earlier. The second week I wake up 15 minutes earlier than the week before. Eventually, by the last week of May, I want to be waking up at 6:00 AM.
I know a lot of you are saying “no way,” it’s the summertime – I’m sleeping in! I totally get it. However, If I don’t abide by this schedule during the Texas heat, I won’t end up running. I keep a bullet journal so that I can check off the daily “wake up 15 minutes early” item to ensure I’m staying on track. I once tried to jump from 7:00 AM to 6:00 AM in one week and it didn’t work out for me.
Consider Trail Running
Trail running requires a little more effort and technical aspects of running, however, trail running often has lots of shade. Running in the shade could easily make the temperature feel 10-15 degrees (F) cooler. If you stick to the flatter less technical trails you can easily wear the running shoes that you use on the pavement. When you get into dense forests with lots of trees you’ll need to switch to a shoe that has a more rigid midsole to help absorb obstacles on the trail.
On your long runs, it might be a good idea to dawn a hydration pack if you plan on running far distances in the heat. The hydration pack will add extra weight, however, this could benefit you. First of all, if you are training for a half marathon, you can determine the location of the water/aid stations on your race and only drink at that particular mile. Also, if you don’t plan on using a hydration pack on race day, the extra weight won’t be present on race day giving yourself an extra boost. I run with this CamelBak.
This is probably the most obvious of all. If it’s going to be a warm run, dress with light clothes such as tank tops, thin shorts, etc. Dressing in light colors will also reflect the sun much better than darker colors that actually absorb the heat of the sun. Don’t forget to put on sunblock and wear a visor or hat to help shade yourself from the sun.
For some lucky runners, you don’t have to worry about the blistering heat. If you aren’t so lucky, the best strategy is to run in the early hours of the morning or later at night when the sun has set.Scott Morton is the author of, Beginner's Guide to Half Marathons: A Simple Step-By-Step Solution to Get You to the Finish Line in 12 Weeks! (Beginner To Finisher Book 3), which has become an Amazon International #1 bestseller. Scott specializes in helping new runners become injury free race finishers. He recently completed his 10 half marathon race. He is also an RRCA certified coach.
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