The sun is out, work is done for the day and you are ready to pound the pavement. Geared up and ready to go you charge out of your nice air conditioned office and immediately hit the wall.
Heat. Humidity. The sun that looked so lovely behind a window is scorching out on the road.
The heat of summer can throw seasoned athletes off their goals and it can kill the plans of rookies who kicked off their running season with New Year’s resolutions. Success in spring can seem far off in a sweltering August.
As the season carries on you want to help your body adapt, change some routines and take some preventative measures to ensure your body is working optimally – given the conditions.
Schedule and Route
- If you typically run after work, you are going to need to make a change. The coolest time of day is before sunrise – not everyone’s cup of
teacoffee. Switch up your routine to run as early or as late as possible. It there are no other options than squeezing in a lunchtime sprint than try to take a new route that offers plenty of shade.
- If you don’t like running with water ensure you know where the the water fountains are on your route.
- Something as simple as the breeze can make all the difference. Run with the wind and take advantage of the headwind for cooling when you return and your body has heated up.
- If possible head to the forest or a park – the greenery will provide a cooling shade throughout your route.
- Pare down your clothing – to light-coloured, loose layers. Wicking microfiber and technical fabrics are good choices. Look for air vents and mesh to help your skin breathe. Look for fabrics like Sugoi’s arm coolers. They are made with Icefil which reacts with your sweat to cool your skin faster. They are also provide an SPF of 50. With similar cooling technology is the Sombrio Rise and Climb tank.
- With so much exposed skin, choose a sunscreen with a high SPF that is designed for sport. You don’t want that protection to sweat off mid-workout.
- Don’t forget your eyes: sunglasses. Choose a pair that is fog resistant, preferably polarized, and has good venting. Ryders offer some of the best lenses in the industry and frames that are street and sport ready.
- Your body simply can’t perform in extreme temperatures the way it does in the fall and spring. Slow your pace and pay attention to how your body feels. Don’t look at your speed – adjust your pace based on effort. It can take up to two weeks to adapt to hotter temperatures.
- Slowly increase speed and duration to return to your previous training levels. If the heat wave is long enough your body will adapt to sweat more, and reduce its core temperature and heart rate.
- When preparing for a race in heat and humidity plan to taper your training a bit earlier giving your body an extra couple of days of rest to prepare for the event.
With heat – automatically the mind turns to water. In heat and humidity we lose water so quickly and as it goes, so do some of our mineral levels. It is important to consider what you drink just as much as how often and when.
- Start by drinking a few cups of water before heading out. While training you want to drink 175-250 ml every 20-30 minutes. For ideal performance chose an electrolyte drink or add an electrolyte tablet to your water. For maximum performance choose one with the right amount of sodium for your body like Precision Hydration
- There are a number of options to carry your water. Evoc makes a great hip pack that comes with a 1.5L bladder and can handle up to 3L. If you prefer a vest, Nathan has one with two insulated flask pockets and a 1.5L bladder.
Running in the summer takes patience. With training, planning and a bit of pushing through, your body will adapt and excel. So, hit the road – even in the heat.