Summer's here, and so are the high temperatures and humidity. But just because it's sizzling and steamy outside doesn't mean you have to bag your run. We asked top running experts to offer some tips for beating, or at least tolerating, the heat.
It's important to head out during the cooler parts of the day. But regardless of when you run, you never want to just dive right into an intense training plan. "You need to prepare your body for the heat," says Matt Helbig, owner of Big River Running Company in St. Louis. "Three to five days of easier runs in the heat will give your body the time it needs to get ready for the added demands that [the temperature] will add. Doing too much too soon is good way to invite heat-related illnesses."
Catch the Breeze
While wind is typically detrimental to runs, on the hottest days, a stiff breeze can actually help you. "Be sure to run with the wind on the first half of your run," says Helbig. "When you turn halfway through your run, you are cooled off by having a nice breeze in your face once your body is starting to really heat up." You'll also want to choose routes with plenty of tree coverage, advises Helbig. "It can be up to 20 degrees difference in the shade compared to an exposed route."
Drink All Day
"Hydrating doesn't meant sucking down a quart of water five minutes before heading out the door," says Marty Beene, a Bay area running coach and owner of Be The Runner. "You have to hydrate continually throughout all of your waking hours." Sip enough water all day long so that you are peeing about every half hour to hour (your urine should be a pale yellow color).
And on the run? Choose running routes that have water fountains or water stops, or bring portable hydration along. "Camelbak, Nathan and Amphipod all make insulated handhelds that can keep your fluids cool for almost all but the longest runs," says Helbig. Shoot to drink 3 to 6 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes. On runs over an hour, bring along a sports drink, gel or other supplement with carbs and electrolytes to boost sodium levels.