Summer running – 4 ways to make running more tolerable

What was I thinking?

Marathon training in the South and in the summer.

I had a great run with TJ yesterday and actually ran my 8 miles 5 minutes faster than Monday.  But my pace is still down and the heat is really difficult.

There are ways to enjoy running in the summer.  Okay, maybe not enjoy, but to make it more tolerable.  I have been trying to tweet articles as I have come upon them, but they mainly seem to “boil” down to the same things:

STAY HYDRATED:  Personally I try to drink at least 96 ounces of water a day before I go running and preferably 128 oz.  I can feel the difference, even in the winter, when I haven’t had enough to drink.  I began drinking half my body weight in ounces of water back when I was dieting and have been able to keep it up.  The way I do this is to drink 32oz (1000 ml) of water as soon as I get to work.  I just down it quickly and get it out of the way.  Then I drink another 32 oz before lunch and a final 32 oz after lunch.  I try to finish my last 32 oz about 2 hours before I go running, if at all possible.

STAY COOL:  That may seem like a stupid thing to write about running in 100 degree heat, but it is true.  Anyway to keep yourself cooler during your run is very helpful.  I have gotten a hat and shirt that cool as they get wet (or sweaty).  I also have heard that just running your hands under cold water before you head out of the house goes a long way in helping you stay cooler.  Some people will run early in the morning or in the evening to make sure that they don’t run in the heat of the day.  Unfortunately I can’t do that with my schedule, so I have to come up with other ways to cool off.  I have even gotten to the point of going inside after the first half my run to drink some water and cool off a bit before continuing.

RUN SLOWER:  This is a hard one on me.  I worked all Fall and Winter to move my pace up and was pretty successful. Now as we begin with the heat of the summer, I am happy with 45 to 60 seconds a mile slower pace than during the winter.  The psychological effect of this is the most difficult to get beyond.  But now I have resigned myself that slowing down now will keep me alive for another run tomorrow, so that is good. 🙂  Basically as you run your blood goes to your skin to help cool your body.  This is blood that used to be available to your muscles.  So you will run slower in the heat because your body has to cool itself.  Just slow down and enjoy the run!

BE SMART: Pay attention to your body as you run.  Don’t push beyond what you can handle, even if it is less than normal.  Heat isn’t something to play games with.  Drink a sport drink or something equivalent right after exercising and rest.  If you feel at all nauseous or have weakness or other unusual symptoms during a run, call someone to pick you up.  TJ, RS and I have begun texting my Lovely Wife when we leave and when we expect to get back.  That way if we are out too long, someone knows to come look for us.

This isn’t an exhaustive list – obviously.  Just a couple of things I have picked up throughout the past several months.   I am not a doctor, but I like to learn from experience. I hope this helps.

Enjoy the summer.  Enjoy your runs.  Enjoy life.

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