Summer’s here and with it comes a lack of outdoor runners. The summer sun and hot temps send people straight to the air-conditioned gym! But you may want to reconsider. Here are couple tips we’ve come across from July’s issue of Women’s Running Magazine, and thought we’d share the useful information:
When you run in hot temps, your body learns to use oxygen and muscle glycogen more efficiently while improving your ability to regulate body temperature. Training outdoors when the mercury rises doesn’t have to be a dreadful experience!
1. Acclimate gradually. “You can’t beat the heat, but you can slowly acclimate to it and manage it as best as possible,” says Nashville-based masters runner Sonja Freiend-Uhl. A typical heat acclimation protocol comprises 10 consecutive daily exposures of running in a hot environment. These runs should be performed at your easiest pace possible, with walk breaks whenever needed.
2. Be realistic. The sun and heat can take a lot out of you, even once you’re acclimated. Adjust your pace accordingly, and don’t beat yourself up for going slow. “You’re working just as hard or harder than you would be at a faster pace on cool day,” says Amy Marsh, a four-time Ironman champion who trains in Austin, Texas. Professional distance runner Amy Cole agrees: “Have confidence that you are building fitness and will be able to run faster in cooler temperatures.”
3. Set your alarm clock. If you want to battle the heat, you’ve got to beat the sun. Cole begins most of her summer runs before 5 a.m. Have an addiction to the snooze button? Read on…
4. Call in reinforcements. Find training partners who will tackle the temps with you! The buddy system offers great accountability–you’re less likely to skip a run if you know someone is counting on you to show up.
5. Strip down. Summer is no time for modesty. Sweaty clothes can cause chafing, add extra weight and prevent additional sweat from evaporating. “Wear as little clothing as possible,” says Marsh, “so long as it’s legal!” Or if you’re more modest, go for loose, breathable tops in light colors and accessorize with a visor to block the sun.
7. Map your run. Try to find shady places to avoid direct sunlight during your workout. If you haven’t tried trail running yet, summer is a great time to start. Forested areas can provide a respite from the brutal summer sun. Also, consider routes where you can refill your water bottles at public water fountains, gas stations or local run shops. You’ll be happy to have an oasis.
8. Chill, girl! “Don’t psych yourself out!” Cole stresses. “Prepare for the heat but don’t obsessively check the temperature before your run.” Don’t ignore your instincts either. If your gut is telling you it’s too hot, listen to it–and hit the gym instead.
By Susan Lacke
July 2014, Women’s Running Magazine, pg 36-37