If you live on the East Coast, then you know it’s been hot and humid. The summer months can be difficult to train through but well worth the fall race PR’s. Sometimes, the toughest aspect is the physical training through the heat.
Other times, the toughest issue is getting out there mentally. If you’re like me, it might take longer to stop sweating after a run than the time you actually spent running.
The best way to begin training through the summer, is just to go for it and start. The more we do something, the more natural it feels. When professional runners trained for the 2016 Olympic Trials in the heat, they trained almost exclusively in the heat because they knew it would be hot.. As they trained more in hotter temperatures, their bodies adjusted and acclimated.
Always keep in mind that safety is the first priority and there is no shame in running on the treadmill if you need to!
If you choose to run outdoors, commit to it. Tell yourself, I will do this for one week and see how I feel after. If you make a mental commitment, you’re more likely to get out there. Each day, tell yourself: “just go out for 5 minutes and see how I feel”, chances are you’ll stay out longer than 5 minutes.
Give yourself time
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was acclimating to weather. It doesn’t matter if you are adjusting to spring, summer, winter, or even running outside for the first time. It takes time for you to “feel good”. Running in the heat can often take 2-3 weeks to fully acclimate.
Judge your run by effort, not pace
It’s important to adapt your pace for the conditions. You aren’t going to be able to run the same speed when it’s hot and humid, and that is okay! Judge your run by how you feel. Often times, I don’t even bring my watch.
Always stay hydrated. This includes before, during, and after a run. Hydration is one of the most important aspects of training, in particular through the summer. You don’t have to limit yourself to strictly drinking water, find foods that contain water and salt as well!
Wear appropriate clothing
This is applicable in any season. You don’t wear shorts when it’s 0 degrees and don’t wear a long sleeve shirt when it’s hotter. Moisture-wicking everything is going to be beneficial. (This means no cotton, or as we say in the running industry: “cotton is rotten”) Cotton will cause clothing to feel heavy as well as cause blisters when you sweat.
Run early or late
Waking up early stinks, but if you can get out there before the weather heats up, you’re doing yourself a favor. Studies show that habits generally form after three weeks of repetition. If you can’t, try and run late. Be smart about the time you run.
Protect yourself from the sun
This is also applicable at any time of the year but make sure to wear clothing and accessories that can help protect you from the sun. This includes sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat. Running in the summer can be rewarding in the fall, but it’s important to train smart and safe.
What tips do you have?