We are finally in the midst of Summer and I wanted to send some updates and some helpful tips to get through these hotter months. Running in the heat is not for the faint of heart and either you are a runner who loves it or absolutely hates it. I personally struggle in the heat, but I've learned how to manage it over time.
Tip 1: If you are like me and struggle, try to schedule your runs in the early morning or late in the evening. You can also spend more time on the treadmill or cross training, like endurance swimming to stay cool.
Tip 2: Make sure you stay on top of your hydration. I carry water even on my easy three mile runs in the summer because it helps stay ahead of dehydration. Make sure you aren't just thinking of hydration right before or during your run. You need to be drinking all day to prep for these hotter days. If you sweat salt, you need to start using an electrolyte solution for longer runs. I personally use Nuun because it is easy on my stomach, but there are so many amazing products on the market to try. You can also use salt caps for long runs if you are someone who deals with cramping.
Tip 3: It can be tough to eat when you are hot, but try to find some salty snacks to help with electrolyte balance and also stay on top of your nutrition game. One thing that I do is stage my own aid station at my car for summer runs and do loops on repeat so that I can access cold snacks and water to refill my pack. It's also a safety measure for if things go south and I feel sick and need to cut it short.
Having a snack at my back porch aid station during one of my many COVID DIY Marathons
Tip 4: I always carry my phone because I have young babies and also due to the nature of my full time work, sometimes people need access to me. However, for the summer it is even more important to have a plan for safety. Let someone know where you are going to be and your expected finish time. Especially if you are out on trails in the heat. If you were to get heat exhaustion or stroke it is good to have an emergency preparedness plan so that others are able to come rescue you or get help.
Tip 5: If you are out on the trails in the summer, know what critters are going to be out there. Check yourself for ticks frequently and make sure you look in every nook and crevice after your shower. If a tick is carrying lyme it only takes 24 hours for you to become infected. Know the poisonous snakes in your area and basic first aid in case you are bit. July and August are specifically more dangerous because snakes are shedding and may be blind. They can't see you and may strike out of self defense. The best thing you can do is stay calm and try to stop moving around to slow your blood flow and call for help (see tip 4, carry a phone or use a spot GPS if you are going to be without service).
Tip 6: Manage your expectations! Your normal run times will be slower and THAT IS OKAY!!!!! Trust me on this! Summer running is speed work in disguise and you will see your times drop like crazy as soon as Fall comes around again. It is also okay to walk in the summer. If you feel like your heart rate is uncontrolled or you are dizzy, walk. I will never get mad at you as a coach for staying safe.