Running in Hot Weather? Here are some tips!

This week has been really hot and humid here in Chicagoland, with temperatures in the 80s to high 90s. And yet, we runners are still out there, training for our next race or just enjoying the outdoors and the feeling of freedom that comes during the journey.

Are we a little nuts to be out there exerting ourselves when the mercury is rising and the sun is beaming down upon us? Well, perhaps a bit. :)

But the reality is, we do not head out there "willy-nilly" without concern. We pay attention to the situation, and prepare ourselves to handle the conditions we will face. We all want to arrive back home after a good run, healthy and safe. So what do we do?

The following is reprinted with permission from Vicky, a good friend and racing teammate, who has a cool blog site that covers her awesome food recipes (so very yummy) as well as tips and comments about her other passion: running! I thought they were worth posting here. If you have some time, check out her blog!

Hot weather running tips

The weather has been hot, sticky and humid for the last few days. That’s great if you can sit poolside or on your deck with a lemonade in hand, but what if running is part of your daily routine? You might be wondering how you can run in this weather. Here are a few of my tips for running in the heat.

Hydrate and carry fluids: Make sure you regularly drink water the day before you run, and throughout the week. I normally carry my fluids using a four bottle Fuel Belt. I generally have two bottles of water and then two bottles of Gatorade or some other electrolyte beverage. I also make sure there’s a water fountain or a store like Starbucks, McDonald’s or Subway where I can stop in and refill my water bottles if I need to.

Check the forecast: You might normally do your long run on Sunday morning, but what if Saturday turns out to be the cooler of the two days? Check the weather forecast and be prepared to adjust your run schedule accordingly. Save your shorter run for a hotter day.

Run in the early morning or at dusk: If you want to run outside, you may have to run early in the morning or later at night to avoid the heat. If you happen to be running in the dark, make sure you have reflective clothing and a headlamp so that cars can see you. I suggest forgoing the headphones or turning down the volume on your iPod so you’re aware of your surroundings: you never know who or what could be lurking in the bushes.

Dress appropriately: Remember my other post ‘10 Tips for New Runners‘ where I said you don’t have to get moisture wicking clothing right away. Well, if you want to run outside on a hot day, you’re going to want some so you’re not weighed down by sweat drenched shirts and shorts. Moisture wicking clothing pulls the sweat from your skin, allowing it to evaporate more easily. Also wear clothing that’s loose-fitting – you want the air to get in between your skin and the clothing in order to keep you cool. Light colored clothing also helps to reflect the heat.

Protect yourself from the sun: Wear sunscreen. Yes, it’s an extra step but if you’re outside for more than a few minutes, you could easily get a sunburn. Make sure you use a sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30, and that’s sweat proof. Use sunscreen even on a cloudy day, as harmful UVA rays are still present. Wear a visor and take sunglasses to protect your eyes and face.

Stay in the shade: Is there one side of the street that provides more shade than the other? Stick to the shady side of the street and conserve your energy. You’d be surprised how much more exhausting it can be running in direct sunlight than running in the shade. If you have access to a trail, try running there instead of on the road or the sidewalk. Concrete and asphalt trap the heat from the sun and reflect it back onto you.

Go slower: When running a slower pace it may take the same amount of effort as running your normal pace in cooler weather. Don’t go flat out on a hot day and get into trouble. If you’re usually a continuous runner, take a walking break or two.

Run indoors on the treadmill or at an indoor track: If the only time you can run is at lunch time, play it safe and run indoors. It might be boring running on a treadmill or track, but at least you’ll your mileage in. Besides, if you run on a treadmill, you can bring your favorite shows or movies on your tablet or phone and get caught up. That’s not so bad!

Listen to your body: The good news is that your body does eventually adapt to the heat and humidity, but don’t be afraid to skip a run on an extremely hot day. There’s nothing wrong with that. Once I made it 6 miles into a run and felt so exhausted that I had to call someone to come and pick me up. A ride home with a friend is better than a ride in an ambulance after passing out, but don’t be a hero – heat stroke isn’t worth the risk. Some of the signs and symptoms related to heat illnesses can include:

  • nausea
  • confusion
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • weakness
  • dry skin

If you experience any of the above symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

Vicky has some great tips here to which all runners should pay close attention. I am an early morning runner for the most part, which has been very helpful this past week, when even at 6AM the temps were in the high 60s to mid 70s. Even at 7PM, the temps were in the 80s and I preferred to avoid those temps.

Your muscles are working hard during exercise, especially running. Muscles generate a lot of heat inside your body. The body has to dissipate that heat by sweating and radiating the heat outward. Of course, when the outside temperature is hot, it makes it harder for the body to regulate all that internal heat.

This is why when dressing to go out for a run, you should dress as if the outside temperature is about 10 degrees WARMER than it really is. Because once you get moving, that is how it is going to feel to your body. This tip is also just as important when it is cool outside because people tend to wear too much clothing. Either way, you can overheat.

It takes your body about 10-14 days to acclimate itself to running in warm/hot weather conditions. Give yourself that amount of time -- listen to your body so you know how it feels as it makes the adjustment. My Road Runners club has a good article on their site that talks about the Heat Index and heat-related disorders. It is a must-read if you are going to be doing a lot of outdoor running in high heat conditions.

Run happy; Run safely; Enjoy the freedom!


Marathon Training -- First week in the books!

In my previous post, I mentioned that I am now focusing my sights upon the upcoming Chicago Marathon this October. I am signed up for it, and I am running it with several friends, so I better get started on my training. This past week was the start of that training.

Coming off the North Shore Half left me tired, and admittedly a little discouraged. I am glad I finished, and I think I was pretty smart about taking it slow in response to the race conditions, but I was still left feeling like I walked just a little too much. (This is irrational thinking on my part, but it is more an emotional reaction than a rational one).

I gave myself permission to rest up from Sunday so I skipped my Tuesday run and worked to detox my body. My masseuse suggested that my body was probably still 'toxic' from the AVON weekend which might have been why my legs felt so heavy and my energy level was low. Toxic, meaning that there were likely still a lot of lactic acid and other byproducts of my exertion that my body had not purged in the six days between races.

(Mustard oil baths, aromatherapies, saunas, drinking lots of liquids after a massage/foam rolling, and basic sweating (while at rest) are all ways to encourage the body to purge the junk out of our bodies, clear the pores, and recover more quickly.)

I did get myself up early on Thursday morning for an easy run to kick things off. I needed to feel better about my fitness level after my performance last Sunday. So I got in a solid 4.7 miles at a 10:11/mm pace that morning. It took me about a mile before I feel into a good breathing and cadence rhythm but after that, it was really a good time! Then I went to my chiropractor for an adjustment and some PT. Boy I felt pretty darn good that day!

Then Saturday, since I didn't run on Tuesday, I decided to get in another run. This time I went for 5.7 miles. It was warmer and more humid that Thursday, which made it more challenging, but it was still a good, consistently paced run at a 10:34/mm pace. There were a lot of fellow runners and cyclists out that morning so there was a lot of 'shared greetings' throughout the run which made me feel pretty good as well.

Later that day, I went for a massage. I wanted to have some focus upon my calves and hip areas, as well as my upper back and shoulders. As usual, Toni was exceptional. And she applied lavender to my shoulder to help with the remainder of the nagging pain there from what I am pretty sure was a bee sting during the AVON Full.

She and I also discussed an herb called Arnica which can be used topically as an anti-inflammatory and pain relief treatment as well as a healing agent. She indicated that it could be used instead of Vitamin E as a topical ointment/creme on sore areas (like for your Achilles or IT Band). This turned into quite a discussion of aromatherapy and other homeopathic alternatives for various ailments. Very interesting stuff!

So with 10+ miles under my belt for the first week of training, I woke up early today to attend the first Long Run with the RRCA Marathon Training group. The run was scheduled for 6:30am so I got myself ready, ate a pre-race breakfast of a banana, milk, and a GU, and met up with the group.

I did not know what to expect. There were probably 20-25 people there of all experience levels. I was pleased to know I was not the only one there who was training for their first marathon. We were scheduled for a 7-mile run. We broke into various pace groups and I chose the 11-12/mm group.

The first annoyance I had was my water bottle. It kept falling out of the belt! This has NEVER happened to me before. It did it twice! I felt like such a noob! I ended up having to hold the bottle in my hand the entire run! Guess I will be getting a new fuel belt this week... may an iFitness belt this time.

The run started off pretty comfortably for the first 3.7 miles (at a 10:45/mm pace), which was where our water station was set up for this run (it is very cool that the Long Runs have actual water stations set up). We chatted for about 4 minutes at the water station. That's when I learned that two women in our group were also training for the 'Chicago' -- so I was not alone.

It was around 72 degrees but much more humid than the day before. As we started back, I found myself slowing down a bit. We had two pacers with our group so Melody chose to stay with me since I was new and did not know the route.

She and I pretty much ran the rest of the way back together. We were running at an 11:00/mm pace more or less which felt better. The legs felt fine but the humidity was making it difficult for me (and running the day before probably didn't help matters either). Twice during the run back, I took a 30-60 second walk break to drink water, bring my heart rate down, and refuel.

We talked quite a bit, which helped to keep my mind off the fact that I was the last person. I hated the idea that on my first Long Run with the group, I would be the last one to finish. But it is what it is, and perhaps it would be good to see how I would be greeted at the end. If they were less than gracious, then I would know to find another group.

Well, Melody was so nice and encouraging, that I finished the 7.5 miles in a good mood. The run ends at the Healthbridge outdoor pool (which we get to use to cool down) where they had water, Gatorade, and bagels. I chatted with several runners who were all very nice and welcoming. I felt 'okay' and not at all singled out for being the last person in.

I would have liked to stay longer but I had to hurry home to shower, change, and go to church with my daughter. I walked to my car with another runner named Toni who ran 'Chicago' in 2009 I think. She said she never would have finished if it hadn't been for the RRCA Training Program. She was excited for my journey towards that same goal.

So, I ended my first Chicago Marathon training week with 17.9 miles in three runs. Not bad for a start. Cari, our coach, suggested that I modify my weekly training plan to include a fourth Easy Run. So starting this week, I think I will be running Tuesday (Easy Run), Thursday (Track/Speed/Hill Work), Friday (Easy Run), and Sunday (Long Run). She specifically said it was important to follow a hard workout with an Easy Run the very next day.

Tomorrow (Monday) is a Rest Day for me so I think I will spend my morning in the Jacuzzi/Sauna, opening up those pores and purging some toxins. Then off to my Chiropractor appointment, and then to the office.

Page 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 ... 69 Next 2 Entries »