Don’t Let the Heat Defeat You!
Many walkers and runners have Fall races coming up in just a few months. Now is a great time to maintain a regular workout schedule not only to stay in shape, but to keep a steady level of endurance. Summer running can sound intimidating, and some may decide to take a break instead of running in the heat. However, that might mean fitness and endurance levels will drop, perhaps drastically, and training for those Fall races will become much harder when you do start working out again. We have some great advice to help you get your workout done even during these hottest of hot summer months.
Facts About Running and Heat
Did you know that after 14 days of running in heat for one hour or more, your body will begin to adapt? The cardiovascular adaptations typically start within the first 3-5 days. We get to thank Dr. Jimmy Williams for those fun facts. So what does that tell you? You CAN beat the heat. Also, if you’re a brand new runner, running for one hour in heat is NOT where you want to start. Make sure you’re only running a little bit at a time in the heat when you’re a new runner. For seasoned runners, be sure to slow down your pace for the first few days of running. Easy days should be extra easy. And don’t try to match the pace that you run in cooler months. Only increase pace a little bit, and don’t push for any personal records in the summer heat.
But BEFORE you start running in the summer heat, you’re going to want to check out these summer running tips for everyone.
8 Tips for Running in Summer Heat
First, we’re going to talk about Preparation with these 4 essential tips. These are things to think about and do before you even start running, and then the last 4 tips involve what to do when you’re actually running in heat. Let’s get into it.
- Prep Essential #1 is Hydration – Hydration is the number one prep essential for running because a hydrated body can tackle the heat. A dehydrated body cannot. It’s a good idea to drink at least 64 ounces of water each day. During hot summer months, you can increase that amount. Here’s a good standard for men and women based on medical research: men can drink up to 100 ounces of water a day, and women can drink up to 74 ounces of water a day.
- Prep Essential #2 is Plan to Rise Early – When is the coolest time of day during the summer? Early morning. Yes, it might still be muggy, but when you plan your run during the hours before sunrise, you won’t have the hot sun beating down on you during your workout. It makes a big difference!
- Prep Essential #3 is Vary the Workout – Every workout does not need to be running. In fact, it’s a great idea to vary up your workouts with cross-training any time of the year. But a varied workout schedule can go a long way to helping you beat the summer heat. Here are a few ideas to get you started: yoga, swimming, weight training, walking, cycling, aqua jogging, etc.
- Prep Essential #4 is Eye on the Goal – So much of running involves the mental challenges. We can become our own worst enemies when we tell ourselves we can’t do it. But remember, summer running is not the time to run the fastest or the farthest. Save that for your Fall races. Use the summer months to maintain your fitness level. Remind yourself that sticking to your schedule is a way to keep your eye on the goal, whether it’s simply to maintain fitness, or preparing yourself for a successful racing season.
Now that we’ve done the very important prep work leading up to running in summer heat, let’s get out there and see the best ways to beat the heat.
- #5 is Go Slow – Remember that you’re maintaining fitness, not increasing your fitness and endurance levels during the hot summer months. So do not take this piece of advice lightly. DO GO SLOW! It’s super important because you can burn out very quickly in the summer months when you run at the same pace you would in 60 degree weather.
- #6 is Form Focused – Take this time to really think about your form. Even if you only focus on one thing, think: shorter strides, shorter strides, shorter strides. No matter which part of your foot touches the ground first, shorter strides are ideal for reducing the chances of injury and maximizing your energy output. And you don’t want any energy wasted in the heat, so don’t forget: shorter strides!
- #7 is Find Your Groove – Do you love running with music? A podcast or audiobook? Or do you prefer to keep the headphones off so you can just listen to the sounds in nature? Be sure to find the soundtrack that works for you, whether it’s the soundtrack that nature provides or your favorite power-through playlist. A well-timed song can go a long way to help you push through.
- #8 is Push Through and Back Off When Needed – Our final tip today is two-fold. Push through because you can do this! It’s really helpful to remind yourself during the run that you are out there getting a workout done that you are now well-prepared to complete (because you hydrated and did tips 2-7 as well). So pushing through can be done. But don’t forget to watch for signs of exhaustion and heat stroke. Because you should NOT push through when you’re in danger of over-exhaustion or heat stroke. Know your body and be smart about it once you’re out there. If you’re unsure, it’s okay to take breaks and make sure you’re really doing okay before you keep pushing through.
Do you have more questions about how to beat the summer heat? We can help! Call or come into the store where our shoe and running experts are ready to provide the high-quality customer service you expect from a Top 50 Running Store in America.