Now that summer is really here, it is time to talk about how to safe running in hot weather. Because summer running is about more than just the tan! Join/link up for Running Coaches Corner!
Don’t forget the Ips Snacks Giveaway!
Summer is a fabulous, but potentially dangerous, season for runners. With the socialization and popularization of marathon training, many runners are out tackling their longest every runs in weather that is hotter, more humidity, and more intensely sunny than they would likely ever run in otherwise. Especially if they are part of a running group, and therefore have the run scheduled to particular times and days and thus have less flexibility. This by no means is to imply that these running groups and teams are not taking your health and safety into account!Time for #running coaches corner! Join @coachdebbieruns @loramarie03 @running_onhappy and @suzlyfe Click To Tweet
On the other hand, full and half marathon training season is also filled with runners gunning for PRs and working with plans that detail out explicitly their paces, distances, and workouts. Add to that a level of perfectionism that is typical of that type of runner and intense summer weather conditions, and you might very well have a recipe for disaster.
My job as a running coach is to be there for my clients to help them navigate this difficult balance of being cautious and safe but still getting their necessary work done. But what adjustments do runners need to make to ensure safe running in hot weather? (This is assuming you’ve done your summer running prep… right?)
Tips for Safe Running in Hot Weather
1) Hydration: Throughout the Day + Adjust Hydration Plan During the Run
I won’t go too much more in depth into hydration because I feel like it has been covered quite a bit here (see this post on salt and electrolyte needs for athletes and this post on natural electrolytes for endurance athletes), but a few more points that I want to add to the discussion is the importance of hydrating throughout the day and the week leading up to your long run, adding some salt to your food the day before, of, and after to encourage hydration and replenish electrolyte imbalances, and also the need to consider changing your hydration plan a bit during your run. You might need to hydrate earlier, or to introduce an electrolyte into the mix. Discuss this with your coach (if possible) or with someone who has a great deal of expertise, as dehydration can be dangerous, and hyponatremia just as harmful. DON’T MAKE THESE HYDRATION AND FUELING MISTAKES.
2) Hot Temperature Running Pace Adjustments
The further away from 50 * F the temperatures get, the more you can expect your pace to decrease with the same amount of effort. For example, a runner who expects to hit 8:00 at 50* should plan on running even a 9:30 pace in the 90s. Advisable percentages for pace adjustment are included in the pace chart below:
but don’t forget the impact that humidity can have on the body as well.
My advice? Now is the time to run strictly by perceived exertion
3) Hot Temperature Running Clothing + Sun Precautions
This is the time, more than ever, to pull out those “investment pieces” from your running clothes wardrobe. Or to get some. You want highly breathable, moisture wicking, light colored pieces of clothing that are loose to the body and, if possible, contain some sort of SPF factor. You may very well see people out running in long sleeves and be wondering what the heck is wrong with them! Chances are, they are wearing clothing designed to protect the skin while keeping you cool. Check out this article from NPR on cooling properties of clothes.
Hats or visors and sunglasses also should be non-negotiable to protect your face, keep sweat at bay, and to protect your eyes. With each run, you are likely to be spending more and more time outside–you can cause permanent skin and eye damage if you aren’t careful. SPF and sunscreen should go without saying, and there is the potential though debated benefit that sunscreen is also cooling as well as protective (more discussion of sunscreen and running here). But even for the protective properties, head to toe, people! (and yes, even under your clothes and the top of your head!).
4) Running Schedule Changes
You might have to start making yourself the early bird, whether you like it or not, in order to get your runs in. When temps hit 80* at 6:30 AM like they were here in Chicago on Monday, you do what you have to do. Highs supposed to be in the 90s with high humidity as well on your planned long run day? Move it to a different day. You wouldn’t run in a thunderstorm, would you? (and if you would, then that is another discussion). Just make sure to adjust your schedule accordingly for the preceding and succeeding days to make sure that you can prep and recover appropriately.
5) Take Your Run Inside
Maybe the temps are just going to be balls to the walls hot the entire weekend and there is no putting it off or avoiding it. In that case, you might just have to suck it up and take your run indoors. I try to run outside as much as possible, but a long run or two on the treadmill isn’t going to undo all of your training. During the winter and summer months, often it just isn’t an option to be outside. I always recommend that runners add 1.5% incline and use 1.5% as their “flat” running incline on the treadmill. Add and take away throughout the run to mimic outdoor running and encourage your body to work more naturally (helping to prevent injury).
Most importantly, don’t be macho. Unsafe running isn’t cool. Take care of yourself, and learn to be a big boy/girl and suck up your pride when necessary.Feeling the heat? How to adjust your #running for hot weather #runchat #fitfluential Click To Tweet
There are many more suggestions and tips, but I’m hoping that some of that will get covered in the comments! Now it is time for Running Coaches Corner Link up with Rachel, Debbie, Lora, and Myself. Also linking up with Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, Annmarie, Jen, Michelle, and Nicole for Wild Workout Wednesday, and Ilka for Sunday Fitness & Food.