I am currently in the middle of training for a fall marathon in the heat and humidity of the South Carolina summer and my training has been a bit different in this hot climate! Earlier this week, I went out for what I thought would be a 1hr run, but after 13 minutes I needed to adjust! I opted for an approximate 1.5 mile run to the local track, 1 mile around the track that included an EMOM of lunges, and a 1.5- mile slow run back home. I cut my run/workout short by 15 minutes and included a bit of strength training with my run to catch my breath in the heat.
My workout/run was a great reminder of the tips I need to keep in mind when running in the heat of the summer:
1). During the hot months, it is best to run in the early morning or dusk to avoid the heat and intensity of the sun. The sun is most intense between the hours of 10AM and 4PM. Be sure to wear a head lamp or safety vest to make yourself visible to traffic when running during dimly lit times.
2). For some of us, running in the morning or evening may not be possible. Choose your route wisely if this is the case. A route with plenty of shade or a stroller friendly trail are great options! Another option is to plan a route with rest stops— fountains with water to cool down, and for a break to let your mini get out of the stroller! Avoid hot surfaces for your pets, as their paws will burn!
3). It is also imperative to adjust duration, pace and milage goals for your run! Running for an hour or trying to get 8 miles under your belt in the heat feels drastically different than running in cooler spring/fall type climates. Do not be disappointed by a slower pace. Furthermore, kids and pets will not last long in the heat!
4). HYDRATE— before, during, and after your run! I also add some electrolyte supplements to my water (I use Nuun or Gatorade). Although it is nice to use, one does not need to have a specialized water bottle holder to take along during hot runs. A smaller plastic water bottle will do the trick. Remember, proper hydration is imperative. Also, remember to take water for your children and pets!
6). Running when the sun is blazing? Do not forget your sunblock for yourself and your mini!
7). Listen to your body! Know the signs of heat exhaustion— dizziness, weakness, heavy sweating, clammy skin, rapid heartbeat, and headache. If you encounter any of these symptoms, stop running and seek a cool area, and consult a medical professional. Also, you can obtain more information about heat exhaustion and its signs by talking to a medical professional.
8). Check the temperature. Is it 85 degrees with a heat index “feel like” temperature of 94 and you do not want to run in this? Don’t— there are always other great indoor exercise options…reach out to your fellow SW members for ideas!
All in all, running is fun in all types of weather! Just be prepared!