Summer Running Guide: Drink Up, Slow Down, Make Adjustments

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. 

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Just a typical DC mid-morning.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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What are your summer running tips?

Friday Five: Five Favorite Summer Activities

I’m linking-up with DC area bloggers Courtney at Eat Pray Run DCCynthia at You Signed Up for What?!, and Mar at Mar on the Run for Friday Five as usual! This week’s theme is Five Favorite Summer Activities.

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Last summer, I was still working at my fellowship and enrolled in graduate classes at night so it’s safe to say, I am looking forward to a summer free of homework. Here are a few of my favorite summer activities, which I plan on enjoying whole-heartedly these next few months:

NoMa Summer Screen 2014
NoMa Summer Screen 2014
  1. NoMa Summer Screen. Summer Screen is a free, outdoor film series that takes place every Wednesday evening in NoMa from now until the end of the summer. You just need a blanket, an optional picnic or a little time and money to visit a food truck parked nearby. I’m most looking forward to Singing in the Rain and snacking on a Pho Wheels creation 🙂 I used to have to run over from my evening class in Foggy Bottom, but I plan on getting there a little early this year and staking out a great spot.
  2. Eat Outdoors. This is the kind of season that draws me to choose new restaurants in relation to how nice their outdoor patio/open windows look. It rarely disappoints. I cannot be the only person who does this. I think Truckeroo might also fall under this category — AKA food truck heaven.
  3. Cheer on the Nationals/DC United. There are few things that feel like summer as much as trip to see the Nats play at Nationals Park in the Navy Yard. Also, if you live in DC, like soccer, and haven’t gone to see DC United —- do it! Just make sure you buy your tickets to sit with La Barra Brava. You won’t regret it. Just know they throw beer when the team scores…so choose that outfit wisely. It is outrageously fun. Get there early to join the march and chanting into the stadium from the tailgate area.
  4. Travel. This will be my first official wedding season, and I’ll be traveling home to Ohio for two of them, and I cannot wait to celebrate the happy couples. I’ll also by flying to Chicago later this month and am planning a few smaller trips nearby, including Baltimore to see the Orioles play the Detroit Tigers (my sudo-hometown team).
  5. Play Tourist. I’m looking forward to visiting a few Smithsonian museums I haven’t seen in a while, trying new restaurants and crossing some things off of my DC-to-do-list, including a trip to the top of the Washington Monument. I’d also like to visit Meridien Hill Park for free weekend yoga and the National Zoo (complete with a lemon ice).

What are you favorite summer activities? Any DC suggestions?

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