TIPS ON RUNNING IN THE HEAT (BECAUSE IT'S HERE TO STAY)

This summer has been just brutal! Mother Nature seems especially peeved this year and she is making it known. One thing is very apparent; the heat and humidity are here to stay, at least for now. Morning long runs are being pushed back earlier, and those shake-out runs are falling later and later in the day, but what do you do when you can’t run at 6am or at 7pm? The key is knowing how to deal with the heat when you have no choice but to deal with it.

So how do you run in the heat without losing it? Here is some food for thought:

ADJUST YOUR PACE

You may have to run 30 to 45 seconds slower per mile depending on the level of humidity. This past weekend the humidity was well above 80% where I was and that is no joke! Listen to your body from the very first steps, this is usually when you know what kind of run it’s going to be. Then play it conservatively. You may be out on the roads for 2+ hours and a lot can happen in that time.


DRINK ENOUGH DURING YOUR RUN

Make sure that you drink plenty of water during your run. If you have a sports drink, even better. When the humidity gets this bad I would even encourage you to plan to hydrate every 2-3 miles. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty because by this point you are clearly dehydrated and it could be adversely affecting your run. Carry some gel with you and alternate between water and gel every few miles.

WEAR A TOP (THIS IS FOR THE GUYS, OBVIOUSLY)

Guys, if you sweat a lot, wear a top. If you’re thinking about going shirtless, think about where all that sweat is going to go. It will just trickle down and soak your running shorts, then when they are completely drenched it will continue down your leg and into your socks and shoes. You can’t exactly change socks mid-run so then what? Sweat-drenched socks are no fun to run in, and they can even cause blisters. This is why a top, even a singlet, can come in handy and help to dissipate some of that sweat you’re producing up top.

AVOID CHAFING

Chafing is no fun, especially when you get in the shower! Take a close look at the seams in your tops and bottoms, then apply some Body Glide where those seams will likely come into contact with your skin. Be liberal with it. Don’t be afraid to apply too much because in this case, more is more.

PREPARE YOUR RECOVERY DRINK

Think about what you want to have immediately after your run, then prepare it ahead of time. Whether it’s simply ice-cold water, your favorite sports drink, or even a protein shake. Whatever it is, you’ll be glad you did right after the run when you need it the most but don’t have the energy to make it. Then follow it up with a good post-run stretch and start recovering immediately.

Running in the summer can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be impossible.

Run smarter and you’ll run better and stronger.

Coach Mwangi

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