Keeping your workouts playful, building accountability with other runners and racing your way into shape are great ways to mix things up this summer. If you find yourself dreading the hot weather, use these tips to keep things fun and fresh while you continue to push yourself into great shape.
Keep it Playful
Warm weather and humidity make long, challenging workouts extra daunting. Running in the heat means your paces during hard workouts are likely to be a little slower while your effort remains the same. Rather than running the same old intervals on a hot track, try mixing things up with more playful speed sessions that take the pressure off of exact pacing and splits.
The Swedish term fartlek means "speed play" and is a perfect solution to mix things up on a hot day. Find a shady trail and have fun with speed, alternating running hard from shadow to shadow and resting with easy running in the shade in between, or pick a lake loop and run varying speeds around it, then finish with a quick dip to cool off.
Hydration is key during warm, humid weather so head into your workouts prepared. If you're not a fan of carrying water, stash some beforehand where you know you'll be able to find it mid-workout, or simply run near a park or bike path that has water fountains available.
Stay Accountable with Running Buddies
Early morning runs are the way to go for beating the heat in the summer, but hitting the snooze button is a temptation faced by most runners. When you have a friend waiting to meet you for a morning run, the accountability factor is enough to get you out of bed for the miles. Plan ahead to meet up with a friend or a running group when you see warm weather in the forecast.
If you train solo year round or live somewhere without much of a running community, it can help to join an online community that encourages daily online logging. When you engage with others who are invested in your training, you create a network of support that motivates you to get out the door and get in a good workout.
Most cities and towns have a local running club and many promote weekly or monthly summer races. Local 5Ks and 10Ks can be a fun way to get into peak performance shape as well as stay in touch with the running community in your area. It can be motivating to look over results after the race and vow to place higher at the next one, or spark a friendly rivalry with a runner near your level.
If you need help finding a running club or a summer race schedule, consult your local running store or check online. Many running clubs take advantage of social media and have Facebook or Twitter pages.