When I first began running with any conviction and regularity the mercury on the thermometer read temperatures of well below freezing. Wearing layer upon layer of running gear to keep warm was exciting – it made me feel accomplished. Snow, hail, windchill – nothing phased me, I had to keep moving just to stay warm. After about a week of cold weather training, I feel in love with winter running.
Fast forward 8 months, the sun is scorching, the humidity makes the air feel heavy, and the temperature is better suited for lounging by the pool than even considering exercising outside. But runners are out in full force, despite the heat wave – we are a crazy breed. Initially I thought that running in the summer would be a breeze. I’d get a nice tan while working out and I’d easily make it through my training runs. I mean if I managed to get out all winter, surely summer would be much easier.
Boy was I wrong. Summer running is tough. Some days are so hot that your body can’t cool itself properly, especially when the humidity is out of control. I wish I could tell you it gets easier, but I am not sure that is true. Instead, I’ll share a few tips that making those scorching summer runs a little more manageable.
1. Drink water. Hydration is key to a better run. Before, during and after your run. I always plan to drink at least 2L of water a day in the summer. This helps me stay hydrated when I workout. Make it a habit to sneak an extra glass in daily – eventually you will start to crave it. Just a caveat – don’t chug a big glass right before heading out the door, you need to give body a bit of time – and you’ll probably have to pee mid run.
2. Invest in weather appropriate workout gear. Any light-weight, sweat-wicking fabric will do. Avoid cotton as much as possible. My go to running outfit is lululemon run shorts and a light tank (I shared my new favourite top on Friday). Don’t forget to keep your hair out of your face and off your neck.
3. Keep positive. On really humid days my brain always tries to convince me that I need a break. Maybe I do, maybe I don’t – keep pushing until your heart and legs give you the signal to back off. Running in as much of a mental challenge as it is physical. You can do it, and depending on the distance, you’ve probably done it a many times before. Believe in yourself – you’re great!
4. Just do it. It’s hot, it’s humid, the sun feels like a laser beam directed at you – stop making excuses. One of my favourite quotes that has been floating around Twitter and Instagram is “you regret 100% of the workouts your don’t do” – it doesn’t get more honest than that. No matter how hard the run is, you’ll feel a million times better when you finish than you would if you didn’t go at all.
5. Relax. Each time lace up my sneakers and pound the pavement I am hoping to set a new PR. Sure it’s great to have a goal to work towards, however, hot summer runs add an extra challenge as it is. Focusing on distance and consistency is often better in the heat – when it finally starts to cool down outside you will reap the benefits of your hard work and dedication throughout the summer.
6. Welcome distractions. Whether it is running a new route and taking in the scenery or joining a group, taking your mind off the heat and distance makes it easier to keep going. I personally prefer to run alone. Running gives me time to get lost in my thoughts – I often draft blog post during my runs! Anything that keeps you from thinking about the KMs will help pass the time.
Bonus – don’t miss an opportunity to get out in the rain. The drops of water beating down on your while you run are a lifesaver and so refreshing. Plus who doesn’t love splashing through puddles without a care in the world!
What is your trick to surviving hot and humid runs?