If anyone knows about running in the heat, it would be our girl, Erin. I mean, she’s living in Miami! Here are her helpful hints for surviving the summer temperatures.
Summer is here! Just like that, the days are longer and there are more opportunities to be active. But there is also that dreaded heat and humidity. H&H is your friend when you need a pool/beach day but NOT when you are a runner. Some folks will adjust very quickly and do well in the heat (my husband), while others struggle (me). After living in Miami, FL for the past year, here are a few tips I have learned through both trial and error and from fellow Floridian runners.
- Time of day will make or break your run. Run in early mornings or in the evening. Not only is the temperature not the highest, but the sun isn’t directly overhead and will spare you those direct rays. The humidity is typically highest in the AM, but the asphalt is hottest in the PM. Experiment with what works better for you.
- You might need to change your route. Choose shady and/or breezy routes. Our Thursday Polo Club run becomes Deer Haven in the summer for a reason, ladies.
- You may not be Speedy Gonzalez right now. Slow down! It takes more effort to run in higher temperature and humidity so you will work more at your usual pace. Run by effort or use a heart rate monitor to keep yourself in check, not by pace. Do not do speedwork or longer runs until you are better adjusted. I was pleasantly surprised to find everyone in my Miami run group employed run/walk on all long runs. Once fall rolls around you will most likely find you are running FASTER than what you were in the spring, even though you were slower in the summer. Consistency and effort are key.
- Staying cool during the run itself means you might need to get wet. Expect to hear assholes honking at you. Wear loose fit, wicking clothing that is as little as possible. Change your hat to a visor so that heat can escape your head. Run through sprinklers in your neighborhood. Dump water on your hair. Plan a route that lets you stop by your house and grab handfuls of ice to run with. Roll ice in a bandana and wet it–Wear this on your head or around your neck.
- Dehydration is the Devil! Start your run hydrated. Incorporate electrolyte replacement if you do not already do so, especially on longer runs. Gatorade, salt tabs, etc are your friends. If you drink only water and lose a lot of salt in your sweat, you can actually overhydrate and cause hyponatremia. Although rare, this can kill runners. Replace those electrolytes during and/or immediately after and then drink water the rest of the day. If you are a numbers nerd, you can also calculate your sweat rate: Weigh yourself before you run, preferably nude. Weigh yourself after you run for an hour. Subtract these numbers from each other and convert 1 lb to 16 oz. Add that to how much water you consumed during your run. That total is how much you need to be consuming over the course of an hour during a run in similar weather conditions. For example, a new LRL weighs 150 lb before her run and 149 after and she drank 12 oz water while running along Deer Haven at 6:15 in July. Next week, she should drink 16 oz + 12 oz = 28 oz during the run, or about 7 oz every 20 mins.
And finally, even with all of the above tips, sometimes you just have to not run outside and either treadmill it or do some other cross training activity. If you are ever running and become nauseated, dizzy, or stop sweating, stop running immediately because you are risking heat stroke. If after runs you find yourself more tired than usual or having headaches or muscle cramps, you likely aren’t hydrating well.
Happy Summer Running!!