Well after praying all winter for warm weather, I have gotten more than I bargained for. We are in the middle of our third heat wave this summer so far and it is only the middle of July. I have been so envious of the runners I see on Twitter still posting about their runs that day. To be honest I do not know if I could make it very far but I haven’t given it a try. I decided to do my research on this and see how a runner can still enjoy running in this heat and stay safe. There is a lot of information about this out there. From what I have been reading if there is an extreme heat advisory like there is right now, take your run indoors.
Now let’s just talk about non heat advisory days. If the heat is going to last a week or less cut back on your mileage and the intensity in which you run. Also cross train, instead of doing a full run why not run and add in some biking at a moderate level. This works especially well for those who are following a training plan that has a few extra weeks to play with, as you can move or shift the cutback weeks to train around hot weeks.
Train like those that live in the South do. Get up and out really early. Try going for your run around 4:30am-5:00am. This will give you plenty of time to get the mileage in that you want before the sun rises.
It take about two weeks for your body to adapt to high heat levels and cool itself off efficiently. So slow down the pace that you normally would run at and you can still get your run in for the day. It will be easier on your body to acclimate and continue to run. This is not the time to be working on increasing your speed. Your body will eventually become better at cooling itself in the warmer weather allowing you to continue to run at your normal pace.
If you are a new runner try adding in more walking. Add in a fast walk every 5 minutes or so to keep cool. You want to keep your core temperature and not over heat. Listen to your body know when to slow down or stop completely. If you let your body temperature rise to much you will over heat, pay attention.
Here are some ideas on what to wear while running in the heat. Wear light colored, loose fitting wicking running clothes. Technical apparel will allow moisture to pass through them to be evaporated, keeping your cooler. Wear sunglasses that filter UVA and UVB rays, waterproof sunscreen, and a hat or visor to protect your skin and eyes from the sun. Do not forget your sunscreen!
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I can not say this enough. Make sure to have your water with you every time you run. If you are running 30-45 minutes water will do just fine. If you choose in this hot summer to run longer you should hydrate with a sports drink every 15 to 20 minutes. This will fuel your muscles and help in maintaining your electrolyte levels.
Take it indoors. If you are an outdoor runner there are some conditions that you should not be running outdoors in for long periods of time and extreme heat in one of them. You would not run outside in a blizzard the same should be said of temperatures about 90 degrees. Here in NYC we have hit 100+ a few times this month. Train Smart. A few days training indoors will not ruin your training. You can run on an incline to try and get the same feel as you would outdoors.
I know I will be keeping my workouts to indoors only until this heat let’s up! If you are running outside, what are you doing to keep your body temperature down?