Here in Boston- ITS HOT! Many days, even if you get up at 6 or 7am, it is still already in the 70s with high humidity (therefore, I will not include “run early in the mornings” as a tip here- that’s already obvious- you can thank me later :P). This is difficult for runners both mentally and physically. Its important to remember that it is necessary to adjust your expectations. We are human.
- Carry water with you. I recommend the Amphipod Jett-Lite Thermal. The pouch is big enough to hold keys and gels. However, if you like to run with more stuff, you can buy a bigger one. Remember to drink at regular intervals- every mile or even every half-mile. Don’t wait until you are thirsty- THIRSTY IS ALREADY DEHYDRATED.
- Carry salt tablets. You LOSE A LOT OF SALT. These come in handy if you start feeling lightheaded. I really thought they were ridiculous but they have helped me to not crash and burn on more than one occasion. These are the kind I used for my last marathon. Just make sure you take them with water.
- Plan water stops if you are going longer than a couple of miles. Even with a handheld, if you are doing a 17 mile marathon training run, you are going to need to fill up. If you cannot find water fountains, local businesses are often accommodating. So are fire departments, libraries, or gyms. I often plan my summer long runs to stop halfway around the Boston College campus so I can stop in the cafeteria to fill my water bottle.
- Wear sun screen. Even if the temperature is not the high, if the sun is out, you are likely to get burned. Believe me, I have learned this the hard way.
- Stay close by. If it’s hot, I try to do routes that are close to home so that I am never super far away if I start to feel sick.
- Wear a Band ID on your wristwatch. My fiance bought me this for Christmas last year. While I thankfully have never needed it yet, I am comforted by the fact it is there.
- Adjust your expectations. Your long runs may not be as long, your tempo runs may not be as fast, etc.- THAT IS OK. Run by effort instead of pace. For example, my tempo run last week was more like a marathon pace run, but it sure felt like a tempo run due to the heat. You will still reap the benefits.
- Be flexible in your schedule if you can. I try to look at the weekly weather forecast at the start of each week. Tuesday might be speed work day but if the weather forecast says Wednesday or Thursday is going to be the coldest day of the week, you might want to try to switch things up. Saturdays are typically long run days, but I’ll switch to Friday or Sunday if it looks like it will be easier.
- Wear as light of clothing as you can. Now is not the time to be self-conscious. You are a human being running. Therefore, YOU LOOK LIKE A RUNNER AND YOU DESERVE TO WEAR WHATEVER MAKES YOU COMFORTABLE. You will feel much better in a sports bra and shorts than a tank top and long leggings. Nobody in the whole entire universe is perfectly happy with their legs or their butt or their stomach, etc.
- If you are feeling famished upon returning, try a protein shake before hoping in the shower. I recommend Muscle Milk- I love it because its sugar free (at least the version I buy, you can get ones with sugar), it has 20 grams of protein in one container, its lactose and dairy free and it tastes great. Trying to eat something big immediately after a long run can cause an upset stomach (of course, Muscle Milk is not a meal, so do eat something more substantial after you’ve showered, etc.)
- Continue to hydrate throughout the day after you return. I love Propel Fitness Water.
- Be careful of both coffee and alcohol. On really hot days, I try to have tea instead of coffee in the afternoon since tea hydrates and coffee dehydrates. Starbucks Iced Passion Tango tea is a great caffeine- free option. Obviously, I am not one to tell people who are over 21 they can’t have a celebratory drink after a hard work out (those who know me know I like my vodka and my whiskey), but I recommend waiting several hours after you have finished exercise and only imbibing if you are feeling OK.
- I know this is gross, but keep track of the color of your urine throughout the day. If its dark, you are dehydrated. If it is clear, you are over hydrated. It should be pale yellow.
- Listen to your body. You may be hungrier and thirstier than usual. That’s normal in this weather. Keep drinks and snacks near you all day.
- Don’t be afraid to take an extra recovery day in your training, you are working extra hard.
- Stop exercising and seek medical attention immediately if you are experiencing the signs and symptoms of heat related illness listed below.
Heat Exhaustion: ashen skin, goose bumps, headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, irritability, decreased muscle coordination.
Heat Stroke: disorientation, confusion, dizziness, unusual behavior, headache, inability to walk, loss of balance, profound fatigue, hyperventilation, vomiting, diarrhea, delirium
Stay safe and happy running! 🙂