Do rising temperatures threaten to cut short your summer training runs? Does an increase in humidity correlate to a decrease in your speed? A few modifications to your routine can help you train strong in summer. Follow this advice to get the most out of your summer runs.
#1 The Early Bird Gets the Worm
The best way to beat the summer heat is to run during the coolest part of the day, which is often before sunrise. If this isn't possible, run later in the day, closer to sunset, to minimize the impact from the sun's rays. If you do run during the day, seek shaded routes or trails when possible. It can feel as much as 10 to 20 degrees cooler in the shade.
#2 Bottoms Up
It's always important to drink plenty of water before a run but proper hydration levels are even more critical when running in the heat and humidity. Studies have shown drinking a cold or frozen beverage immediately before a run can help lower body temperature, thus delaying the effects of the heat. Since you lose a lot of fluids through sweat, you will need to drink more in hot or humid weather than you do when running in cooler temps. Bring fluids with you during summer runs so you can hydrate along the way.
Alternatively, you can seek a route that has frequent water fountains. If you carry your fluids, use an insulated water bottle to help keep fluids colder longer. After your run, drink 16 to 24 ounces of water to help you recover for your next training session.
#3 Dress to Impress
Wear light-colored clothing during your summer runs; avoid black or other dark colors that soak up the sun's rays. Also, choose wicking fabrics to help transfer sweat away from your body. Loose fitting clothing can help you take advantage of any breeze in the air. Wear a hat or visor and sunglasses to keep the sun off your face, and don't forget the sunscreen!
#4 Great Expectations
It takes about two weeks of running in the heat for your body to acclimate. You will most likely have a tough time running at a pace you're used to hitting in cooler weather. On summer runs, it's best to train according to effort level. Don't be discouraged by your slower paces. Keep putting your best effort out there on a consistent basis and once the heat breaks, your hard work will translate to some great speed gains come fall.
#5 Ice Ice Baby
Bring ice with you on the run to help keep your body cool: you can put ice cubes in your hat, down your sports bra, and in your shorts, or you hold ice in your hands until it melts. Finally, running through sprinklers is also a great way to stay cool during your summer runs.
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