Summer is here, and it is hot. In DC, we had a spurt of cool weather and rain a week or two ago, but summer returned, rearing its angry head, and now I pretty much start sweating the moment I leave my house. I look really good by the time I arrive at work.
Now, preparing to run outside isn’t as simple as it is during prime running conditions (cool weather, low humidity, lack of burning-hot-sun). And sure, I’m not running around anymore trying to locate layers, gloves, hat, and Yaktrax like I did in the winter, but there are some important things to keep in mind as I learn to run safely in the heat.
There’s a new normal around here, and it includes mandatory water, sun protection and a more realistic idea of running an “easy effort.”
Here are a few ways I run in the heat:
- Carry water. Lately, I’ve been taking a handheld with me on runs as short as two miles. I don’t sweat lightly, and I know that I am losing important fluids as my body tries to cool itself down. I’ve started using Nuun religiously to replace electrolytes and keep hydrated during my run, and I continue drinking water when I return from my run and cool down. I carry the Nathan SpeedDraw Plus (affiliate link), which also snugly fits my iPhone 6 in the front pocket.
- Protect yourself from the sun. My essentials? Waterproof/sweat-proof sunscreen and a hat! I stick both of these items prominently in my running drawer so they’re easy to grab as I get dressed for a run. This Mama Runs for Cupcakes wrote a great post on Melanoma Awareness and sun protection that’s worth checking out!
- Dress appropriately. Easy — wear what keeps you as cool as possible. I know I don’t need to convince you to leave the long sleeves at home on a hot summer’s day, unless you’re using it to protect your skin. I also always opt for fabrics that wick away sweat. Cotton fabrics will trap sweat close to the body and add weight and discomfort you don’t want or need.
- Make adjustments. Prefer running after work? Perhaps try heading out a little earlier in the day or later in the evening. I like running in the morning and knowing that I’ve got it out of the way, but sometimes I can’t convince myself to roll out of bed. On days like this, I try to run when the sun is less powerful.
- Slow down. There is no doubt that the heat impacts your workout. While I am not yet a speedster, I have noticed my usual pace has been creeping a little higher than normal, and it looks like this is pretty standard. In fact – you can use this temperature calculator to estimate a more accurate pace depending on the current temperature. For example, let’s look at 3 mile run that I might expect to finish in 31:30. In great running conditions, 60*, I could easily run 10:30 minutes/mile, but as the temperature nears 80*, the heat adds almost twenty seconds per mile for the same effort. A Runner’s World article shows even more dramatic effects; it says that every 5* rise in temperature above 60* can slow your pace by as much 20-30 seconds per mile. As practice, try running a little slower than you’re used to and see how you fare. If you feel good further into your run, you can pick up a little more speed.
What are your summer running tips?