Summer can be a challenging time for runners, especially if you are training for a race. Fall races are great because of the cooler weather on race day, but it usually means you are training in the summer heat. There are many considerations for summer running in the heat, such as safety and adjusting paces. Let’s talk about some ways to adjust your training to run in the summer heat.
How To Adjust Your Training For Summer Running in the Heat
Allow your body to acclimate to the heat
Those first few runs in the heat can be really challenging. But after a few weeks, you start to acclimate. It doesn’t necessarily feel easy to run in the heat, but you get used to it. As you are acclimating be sure to take it easy and carry water, and take walk breaks as needed.
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Adjust your schedule based on the weather
As you plan out your week of training, check the weather forecast. If there is thunder and lightning predicted one day, make that your rest day. On days it will be extra hot and humid, try to make those your easy run days. If it’s a particularly brutal week maybe you can make it a cut back week, or plan to run your hardest workout on the treadmill. This may not always work with your schedule, but it’s worth a try.
Run at the coolest times of day
Early in the morning or night time are the coolest times, so try to get your runs done then, when the sun isn’t out in full force. Keep in mind that mornings might have the coolest temperatures, but usually the humidity is the worst (at least here on the east coast).
Find ways to cool yourself off
Try bringing a frozen water bottle, a cold towel, or some ice to put in a hat. Or just have some of these cold items ready to use when you get home! If you drive somewhere to run consider packing a small cooler so you will have a cold drink when you are finished.
Focus on hydration
It’s extra important to stay hydrated in the heat. Not only do runners need to drink water, but electrolytes will help as well. Make sure to follow these hydration tips for summer runs in the heat! You will also want to have comfortable ways to carry your water with you on your runs, too.
Try to run in shaded areas
As much as possible, try to find shade if you are running when the sun is up. Trails are a great option for this if they are surrounded by trees.
Run by effort in the summer heat
Try to ignore your GPS watch, or better yet, leave it at home! Especially for easy runs, don’t worry about your pace. You may find that you run significantly slower in the heat, and that’s ok. It’s more important to focus on effort. There are other ways to monitor your run instead of pace, such as the talk test or heart rate.
Adjust your training for speedwork
Speedwork is extra challenging in the summer heat. There may be times when you need to adjust your workout, run it on the treadmill, or skip it all together. Running by time (vs distance) is a good option in the summer, as well as doing fartlek runs rather than pace-based speed workouts. Here are more tips for doing speedwork in the heat.
Dress appropriately for summer running in the heat
Make sure to wear light, sweat wicking clothes on summer runs. Invest in some high quality socks so you avoid blisters. Consider wearing a hat, visor, or sunglasses. Don’t be afraid to run in just a sports bra if that is more comfortable for you! When you’re running after sunrise be sure to wear sunscreen. And use body glide…lots of body glide!
Embrace the treadmill
When the weather is really brutal, or you just don’t feel like dealing with the heat, don’t be afraid to opt for the treadmill. You will be able to get in a good workout and it will give you a break from the heat!
Don’t be afraid to skip a run
As runners we usually want to push through and complete every run on our training plan. But sometimes that’s not the best idea! Don’t be afraid to skip a summer run in the heat when you need a break.
Even with all the summer running tips, there are still some days when it simply isn’t safe to run outside. Lightning and extreme heat are dangerous for runners. You will need to know your own limit for running outside in the heat, but remember to factor in the humidity when you’re checking the weather.
Remind yourself that fall is coming
Mentally, running through the summer heat can be a challenge. Remember than fall is coming and your hard work now will pay off for your fall race!
Hopefully that gave you some ideas or reminders for adjusting your training in the heat. Remember to enjoy summer running because winter is right around the corner!
How do you adjust your training in the summer?
Do you prefer training for a fall race or a spring race?
Any other tips you would add?