Consistency Is Key
It can be quite frustrating to see your pace slow as you log the miles and workouts in the summer heat. But every wise workout is preparing you for racing in cooler weather. A few summers ago, I trained through one of Chicago's warmest summers for a staged ultra race in Colorado at 11,000 feet. Although I didn't have a means to train at altitude, training in the heat strengthened my cardiovascular system and allowed me to closely simulate the effort of running at altitude. And it worked.
Heat can be your friend if you train with it rather than try to beat it. When the weather breaks in the fall, you'll have similar advantages as the elite athletes who train at altitude because you'll able to run faster, and the effort level will feel easier. And that's the light at the end of the tunnel.
Run at Cooler Times
Although the humidity can be higher in the early morning, the temperatures are lower without the heat of the sun. Get your long runs and quality workouts done in the early morning or evening to avoid the heat of the day. If you have to train mid-day, pick shaded routes and trails, and keep your effort level easy. On heat or ozone alert days, take your workout indoors to a track or treadmill. You'll get in a higher quality workout and avoid the dangers of training in the extreme heat.
Plan Your Route
When on an out-and-back course, run with the wind on the way out and against the wind on the way back. The wind will help keep your body core temperature cooler as your body heats up in the later miles of the workout.
Wear light-colored, loose fitting clothing to deflect the sun's rays and allow your body to cool itself. Experiment with your apparel based on your climate. The runners in the Badwater 135-mile ultramarathon desert race wear white long sleeve wicking apparel and hats or visors with a tail to block the sun on their neck. Runners who train in humidity wear fewer layers, lots of sunscreen and wicking materials. Visors allow the heat to rise from your head while blocking the sun from your face. UV-rated sunglasses protect your eyes, and water- and sweat-proof sunscreen prevents sunburn. The key is to keep cool any way you can, and find the apparel that works best for you.
More: Sunscreen for Athletes