Monday, July 2, 2018

Summer Running Coping Strategies


I think we're all feeling pretty hot, hot, hot right now.

It is the summer, after all. It's gonna be hot. There's bound to be some sunshine, and the humidity will probably make things tough.

We all experience the heat differently. Sweating through the triple digits does not make one a badazz nor does postponing a run make someone else a wimp. Plain and simple, we all are going to have different comfort levels when it comes to what seems feasible and what seems impossible in the heat of summer.


With all the tips being offered on running in the heat, I thought I'd share a few of mine:

Don't be a hero. This goes without saying, but a lot of runners get frustrated when they have a training plan to follow, and there's XX number of miles or a specific pace on the agenda. Just because it's on your plan, does not mean you HAVE to follow it perfectly. Of course, your plan is there as a guide, but switching around the runs once in awhile probably will not impact your race day performance (just don't mess with that plan too much). Also, don't be afraid of taking walk breaks.

Rise, shine, and run early. A lot of runner's opt to beat the heat by running in the pre-dawn hours of the day. Granted, this may require an earlier-than-desired bedtime, but the early morning runs are a fun way to greet the day. There's also the added benefit of "fasted cardio" thrown in there if your run isn't too far (less than an hour, for example)...which may result in burning fat (as opposed to any pre-run fuel that would be needed for a longer run). The air may still be a bit humid, but the temps will probably be cooler without the sun beating down your neck.
Another pre-sunrise adventure
How about a post-sunset adventure? Again, the air may still be humid, but once the sun disappears, the temps usually will drop a bit. A lot of runners run with a friend (or in a group) in the wee hours if it's dark....the same can be done for an evening run. It may help you "run off" the day's stress, which may help you sleep better. Also, there's the music of bugs buzzing and the tranquility of less traffic.

Dress appropriately. Tech fabric, people! Save the cotton for lounging around after your run. Even something as simple as a hat (providing a bit of shade for your face) will feel a little cooler than a headband or nothing at all.
A hat or a visor will feel cooler than a headband
Consider a pit stop. If you run during the daylight hours, have you ever thought of stopping briefly after a few miles for a quick reprieve? Either stopping back at your house for a bathroom/water break or a quick trip into an air-conditioned convenience store might be just enough to cool you off and recharge you for a few more miles.

Hydrate,hydrate, hydrate. Before, during, and after. You don't necessarily need to be drinking nonstop as you run, but a few swallows of water every 15-20 minutes will do wonders.
even a small water bottle is better than no water bottle
Have realistic expectations. Finally, accept that the run may be a tough endeavor, and prepare yourself for it. I am not suggesting you psych yourself up for a horrible experience (and potentially talk yourself out of it), but have a plan of action. Maybe run a 2-3 mile loop, or an out-and-back route, so you will be able to run short segments at a time. Leave your watch at home so you're not obsessed with your constant pace. Maybe focus on time spent running rather than actual distance. As Michelle reflected on a recent tough run in the heat, be grateful you have the choice to run. You do have the option to take it inside (on a treadmill or indoor track) if need be. Or, you can postpone the run for a different day. Trust me, the sun will rise again if your run doesn't happen as planned.

These are a few tips and suggestions that work for me. As much as I love the summer heat, even I need coping strategies now and then when the heat is hotter than usual and the humidity is relentless.

How do you feel about summer running? Love it? Hate it? Accept it? Avoid it?

**I'm linking up with Marcia and Patty and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run.

**I'm also linking this with Debbie and Rachel and Marc and Lora for the Running Coaches' Corner
Running Coaches Corner Logo

43 comments:

  1. These are all great strategies! As you know I prefer getting it done early. And bringing water helps so much! I think if I planned a stop mid-run I would have a hard time getting back out there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have always been a "mid-run-stopper." I hated carrying water with me forever, so I'd always run loops of varying distances and stop back at my house for water breaks. I've never had issues with stopping/walking during races, probably because of my unorthodox running early on LOL

      Delete
  2. I try to plan my route strategically so I hit all the water fountains!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great idea! Unfortunately, there's not many water fountains in my area (but I have been known to refill my water bottle out of the faucets in public bathrooms).

      Delete
  3. I ran yesterday and it was 100 degrees. I even carried water which is odd for me. I ran after work so the sun was not strong, I chose a shady route and I WALKED often. It was fine and better than indoors on the mill.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Total agreement...everything is better than the 'mill! I figure, the 'mill is gonna be just as hot and every bit as miserable, I might as well just go outside.

      Delete
  4. I am usually out by 5:30 to do my run when I know it will be a hot day. That gives me plenty of time to get home, shower, get ready, and get to work. I also take walking breaks as needed. No shame. The last thing I want to do is pass out because of the heat. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Walking breaks are helpful...not just in helping your body cool down a bit, but also in keeping your heart rate somewhat elevated. Passing out is a buzz-kill LOL

      Delete
  5. I was up early today, knowing I needed to get my run early. My body knows.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Awesome strategies! It is hotter than Hades here in MN but then I remember the -20F we had this winter and this is just fine. lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed! I'm in central Iowa...and the winters here are brutal...I'll gladly take the heat over the sub-ZERO cold.

      Delete
  7. Definitely running in the beginning or the end of the day is the way to go. Also, heading into the woods to the trails is another great way to stay cool.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trails are a great alternative with all the shade and soft ground (which doesn't radiate as much heat as pavement or asphalt). I wish I had more trails in my area!

      Delete
  8. I always have such problems adjusting my expectations for a hot run! Unfortunately I have to walk the dogs really early to beat the heat, and by the time I get home, it's time to feed everyone and then it's already heating up . . .

    Luckily I don't mind the treadmill (not that I'm in love with it either).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The treadmill is a great alternative for those who can tolerate it LOL

      Delete
  9. Great tips! Running in the summer is a necessary evil! I'm not running now due to my PF, but this time last year, I was doing my best out there! Running in the evening is usually my go-to since I have to work so early! When the long runs are super hot, I think having the right mindset is key - be kind to yourself out there, and don't worry about the pace!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree...it's all about the mindset and being smart about the weather

      Delete
  10. Definitely necessary to get out as early as possible. I've done a few evening runs in Florida- it's still ridiculously hot even then. Running with friends helps too! Summer running is a challenge, but good tips...and summer miles bring fall smiles, right?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Post-sunset running would be way too late for me! Guess I should start getting up earlier...

    When I lived in hotter places, I would set a glass of ice on the porch when I started my run...when I looped back around halfway through the run it would be mostly melted but still ice cold.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great idea about the ice melting!

      Delete
  12. I have been trying to get up earlier for my runs and it is helping a bit. I just need to adapt a few more weeks and remember to adjust my expectations for sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YOU're doing great! I think adjusting expectations is crucial, no matter how far or how fast one wants to run.

      Delete
  13. Running early is what saves me. I’m fortunate that it’s not as humid here, so the mornings can be decent. Until August that is, when all bets are off and it’s frequently in the 90s even at 5 or 6 am.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The dry heat is a special kind of challenge, though. When I was in Vegas for the RnR, I couldn't believe how I was constantly thirsty even though I didn't feel that warm.

      Delete
  14. Very much agreed with you! I think the early morning and late evening/night are the only times I'd be able to run in this weather, haha. Agreed with the hydration (and everything else you mentioned) as well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have not done any late evening runs in awhile...I've been so busy with all of those early morning outings

      Delete
  15. All awesome tips! I actually enjoy running early - I get my miles done and get to see the sunrise!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree...it's always a bonus getting to see the sunrise ;-)

      Delete
  16. Great tips! When I have to do long runs in the summer for marathon training, I like to break it up into several smaller loops from my rec center. I stop after every loop, go inside to cool off in the air conditioning, hydrate, get a little something to eat, and head out again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great strategy! Even just a few seconds in a cooler setting can make a huge difference!

      Delete
  17. These are great suggestions and reminder to be aware of when running in the summer. Thanks for the reminder and tips.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Summer running doesn't have to be so tough...we all just need to respect the heat.

      Delete
  18. All on point. I'm never a hero when it's summer. Haha. I love running in the heat but I slow waaaaay down and walk a lot. I have no shame.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha ha ha...surely you don't think summer running is dumb, do you? ;-)

      Delete
  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Awesome tips Kim! I ran into a runner yesterday at the 5k I did who said "I adjust to running in the heat by running at 1 and 2 pm. Outside." I'll have to share this with him!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh... I hope he's not trying to run especially fast or far LOL

      Delete
  21. These are great tips! I hate running in heat but I can deal with it better then bitter cold

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. total agreement!!!! I'll take the heat over the cold any day, no questions asked.

      Delete
  22. I love summer but those hot/humid runs are definitely a challenge. Running early, seeking shade, dressing right and drinking plenty are great tips.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I forgot to mention seeking shade...sometimes (if I'm out during the midday) I'll switch back and forth on the sides of the street depending on where the most shade is

      Delete