One of my blogging buds Amanda asked me a great question recently and I thought I would share what I have learned about running in the summer heat with you. I know some of you are lucky enough to live in an area where the climate is not mucho caliente in the summertime, and to that I say LUCKY you! Running in the summer Texas heat with close to triple digit temps pretty much all season long, especially when training for a marathon, is far from easy. It is definitiely something I have had to get acclimated to over the years, and I can finally say it is something I kind of look forward to! Is that kind of sadistic? Maybe so, but I think being prepared and having the right tools can equip you to handle anything. So here’s what I do in preparation and during summer marathon training.
Hydration – this is so very key to a successful training season in the summer weather. I am very blessed to run with a group every Saturday mornings and we put out water stops at various locations..typically every 2 or 3 miles along the route we will stop for water. If you don’t already, invest in a hydration device. You can purchase this at just about any sports apparel store. They have handheld devices that attach to your hand and also fuel belts.
I have many friends that wear the fuel belts but I love the handhelds and have been training with them for years. I also think that electrolytes are CRUCIAL especially during LONG runs! If you are running for more than an hour you need some type of electrolyte beverage. Gatorade is my go to, I also like G2, but everyone is different. I’ve also tried Accelerade and Cytomax. A little bit of gatorade mixed in one of your water bottles will go a long long way.
Lightweight, breathable clothing – also another thing that some may often overlook, but oh so important! I would start investing in some light tank tops and running shorts. I love the entire Nike summer line of shorts, they are breathable and have some great colors!
I would stay away from cotton clothing in the summer. You want to be able to move about and sweat comfortably without anything weighing you down. I also love the North Face line, they have a great line of lightweight tops and skirts. I plan on definitely investing in more of these during the summer months.
Headbands/hats/visors – So I live for sparkly bic bands and wear them just about everywhere. They are great for pulling the frizz and abundance of sweat away from my face. In the summer you will sweat gallons and will love every minute of it, right? So you need something to keep it away from your face. I love bic bands, and also love wearing the Nike visors in the summer months. The visors are great because they keep the sun and the sweat from out of your eyes. When I ran the Hottest Half last year (which was featured in Runner’s World a while back) I wore this visor and it really made a difference! I would definitely recommend rocking the Nike visor.
Sunscreen – Buying sunscreen does not mean you have to shelf out tons of money to buy some expensive brand. I have discovered my favorite sunscreen at CVS…yes I said CVS, as in the drugstore! 70 SPF active sport.
It is awesome and is less than $10! When shopping for sunscreen I would definitely look for one that says something about it being for active individuals. You are going to need something to protect you from running for hours in the sunshine, not for laying out by the pool. Although, that is lots of fun too…I totally recommend dunking yourself in a nice cold pool after a LONG run! It feels so amazing.
Fuel – Fuel largely depends on the person and what your tastes are. Personally I like to have something I can easily throw in my spi belt. I love the Powerbar energy blasts in strawberry banana flavor. I have pretty much tried every energy chewy across the board and I have found these as one of the easiest ones to consume when you quickly need to whip out something to eat mid run. I like to take in some fuel along my longer runs that are over 10 miles or so. Everyone is different. You should be taking in fuel about every 45 minutes to an hour into your run. Again everyone has different opinions on this and I’m not an expert, just telling you what I have learned from experience.
Expect your pace to slow a bit – I’m the biggest fan of winter weather in Texas for the simple fact that I like to run. FAST. Chilly weather allows you to do just that. Run and warm up and fast as you can. It’s a little different when you factor in the heat and humidity. Your body temperature warms up much more quickly and you have to learn to train SMART. Training smart means setting your ego aside and slowing down to make sure you do not overheat. In the summer months, I typically slow my pace down to at least a minute per mile slower for my longer weekend training runs. You will still get the miles in and you can do your tempos and speed work during the week. Conserve your energy for those long training runs. Being smart is the name of the game. Plus the best part is when that marathon comes in the fall or winter that you are training for, you will be READY and like a caged animal ready to get out and crush your race!
Get up early! The earlier you can get up and knock that long run out, the better! The night before your long run, eat a sensible meal and get some good rest so you are up the next morning ready to go. Friday nights for me are not for boozing. They are for getting some good rest so I can get up Saturday morning at 4 something am and be ready to rock our 5:30 AM run. We are usually done before 9 am, and before some have even gotten up you are DONE with your workout! Such a feeling of accomplishment.
So share with me some of your summer running tips? Do you train in the summer with friends, in a running group or solo? What is your favorite summer running or workout accessory?