Welcome to another edition of Run It!
In case you missed it, here’s what we covered so far this year:
This month we are dishing on the pride and joy of summer running – heat and humidity.
Personally, I love summer running. I don’t have to bundle up from head to toe in a million layers. I don’t have to worry about slipping on the ice. I can run at zero dark thirty and it looks like it’s the middle of the day.
But there’s no doubt, summer running is hard. It can make it feel like you need gills rather than lungs on even your easy paced runs. If you are doing heart rate training, good luck. The higher the temp, the higher your heart rate will be because your whole cardiovascular system has to work extra hard.
If you don’t like the heat or humidity, you don’t need to retreat into air conditioning for the next few months (or longer if you live elsewhere). There are plenty of things to try to make it a little bit more comfortable for you. And if you do have to hit the treadmill, no biggie. You do what works for you.
1. Run early. If you have ready HFM for any amount of time, you had to have known I was going to say that, right? Morning temperatures are usually the coolest during the summer. It also will give you a break from the strongest hours of sunlight. The humidity can sometimes be high but at least you won’t have the blazing sun on you. It’s also the best time to see a hazy sunrise. You know I love my sunrises!
2. Run late. If you aren’t a morning person, wait until the late evening when the sun is starting to set. The temps will be better than mid day and the humidity may dip too. Just like running early, you’ll probably get the treat of a gorgeous sunset. This time of year, I tend to see more runners heading down my street at night. Last week, as I was heading to bed, I saw a headlamp bouncing down the road. It was 10 p.m. Whatever works for you!
3. Less is best. Wear as little clothing as legally possible. If you are the sports bra only kind of person, do that. Flowing tanks are always a good choice too, like this ONE from Saucony. It’s one of my favs. There’s nothing worse than having a tight compression shirt on when it’s plastered to you from sweat. I do like wearing tight shorts on super hot and humid runs. There’s less chance for chafing. I love the Bullet Tight Short because the pockets stow everything with ease. Also stick to light colored, loose, wicking material clothing. Now is not the time for wearing all black or wearing cotton. No matter what fabric you are wearing, Body Glide can be a life saver for preventing chafing.
4. Wear a hat or visor and sunscreen. A hat or visor will not only protect your skin from the sun, but it will also help to keep your face cool. Soaking the hat or visor in cold water before heading out the door can help to lower body temp and keep you cooler. Sticking ice cubes in your hat works just as well but not so much with visors for obvious reasons. And always sunscreen because no one wants to get skin cancer.
5. Slow down. Your body has to work extra hard in the heat and humidity running at a “normal” pace. When you try to pick up the pace, even more so. Run for time and effort rather than distance and pace.
6. Start slow and end slow. A warm up prior to a run should always be done (try one of these Dynamic Warm Ups!), but even more so when the temperatures are high. You want to gradually increase your heart rate rather than starting out too fast. Same thing for the end of the run. Do a gradual slow down that includes some time for a slow walk. It will help regulate your heart rate and cool your body a bit.
7. Do a group run. Just like running on frigid cold mornings in January, having friends to commiserate with while you slog through the heat makes it more tolerable. If you are joining a larger group run, there’s high probability that water, Gatorade or fuel will be out on the route. You won’t have to worry about having enough water with you.
8. Hit the trails. When the temperatures rise, asphalt and concrete absorb heat and radiate it back into your face. Trail running usually offers shade from trees unless you are going above the tree line. It also forces you to slow down. Bonus if the trail has the perfect place to jump in a lake or river post run!
9. Drink up. If you are running more than 75-90 minutes, carry a hand held water bottle or a hydration pack with you. Or stash water bottles along your intended route ahead of time if you don’t like carrying anything in your hands. Or plan your route along accessible drinking fountains. If you need hydration tips, we covered it last month for Run It!
10. Don’t run. I know that’s crazy talk, but sometimes the heat and humidity just aren’t runner friendly. Opt for some cross training instead on the bike or swimming. Maybe it’s time to give pool running a shot?