The upside to running in coastal Virginia are the mild warm winters. The downside: hot, humid summers. What’s a girl to do when it’s 80 degrees, 80% humidity at 5 AM? Lace up those shoes and hit the pavement, that’s what. No Excuses. Here’s some tips for running and beating the heat this summer.
- Go early. I’ve already blogged about the advantages of early morning runs, but before the heat index can rise, the best defense is heading out the door early (or later in the day if that works best for you). Even at 5 AM the temperatures are high 70s-low 80s, but the sun hasn’t risen and it remains shady.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I can’t say it enough. Never one for drinking (or eating) before a run, I’ve learned that downing 8 ounces of water before a hot run helps my energy levels tremendously during the run. Afterwards I easily gulp down another 8-16 ounces, the most refreshing water you can imagine.
- Refuel. Refueling your body is just as important as depleting it, so don’t skip breakfast. Refuel with lots of protein like eggs or greek yogurt.
- Reduce mileage and speed. Regardless of what you’re training for, I cut back on my miles during a heat wave, and slow my pace to help me endure. Any run is better than no run at all, even if the run is slower and shorter.
- Build in accountability. Set your alarm allowing for 15 minutes of snooze if you choose, and 15 minutes of prep time. Lay out your clothes the night before. Charge your Garmin and phone so they’re fully charged and ready to go. I run at 5 AM because my husband has to leave for work at 6 AM, so there’s that built in accountability…if I don’t go then, I won’t go later. Find a running partner who will hold you to your commitment.
- Reward yourself. Not after every hot run, but if I’ve battled a particularly sweltering morning, I won’t feel guilty for cat napping or binge watching netflix or treating myself to an iced coffee later in the day. Knowing I persevered and completed a tough workout by 6 AM keeps me motivated and centered throughout the rest of my 24 hours.