Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Heat is On

No, no – no need to thank me for inserting that delightful earworm into your head.  It’s my pleasure, really. ;)

Really, though, the heat IS on.  All over, it seems, but especially so here in West-Central Florida.  Summer has arrived and I’ve been working out some adjustments to deal with the heat while training for the Tower of Terror 10-Miler coming at the end of September.  Since lots of us will be training throughout the long, hot summer, I’ll share what I’ve gleaned so far in my experimenting…
  •  Pay attention to the many experts who insist that when the mercury rises, it’s time to slow down.  They’re right.  It was wreaking havoc with my mind, slowing down a pace I’d been working so hard to speed up, but after a few runs that felt nothing less than awful, I decided to listen to the experts and have found that slowing my running speed really does help.  As an unexpected side benefit, it turns out I can run for longer stretches of time when I slow my speed down – I’m actually up to 3:00run/1:00walk intervals!
  •  Drink up.  I’m already a big water drinker; it’s my beverage of choice and I take in at least 8 glasses of 8oz. each a  day under normal conditions, so I know I’m well-hydrated to start.  Which is good.  But not good enough.  I did a little experiment last week: weighed myself before and after a run to see just how much fluid I lost in a 35-minute, hot, humid run… two pounds.  That’s a lot!  I’ve begun taking a hand-held bottle of water with me even on short runs, taking a small sip at every other walk break, which turns out to be about 4-5 ounces over 35 minutes.  Doing the weigh-in thing again, I found that 4-5 ounces in mid-run sips plus a few more ounces post-run is exactly enough to replace what I lost.
  • My SmartWool socks still rock at 90+ degrees.  Yes, they’re wool, and yes, they’re thick.  But they still wick sweat with the proficiency of a shop-vac: my feet represent the only dry skin on my body after a run.
  • No amount of technical fabric will keep you cool when the temperature is above 85, the humidity is near 100% and the sun nears Equatorial distance from your head.  Really, this should be the first rule of hot-weather running: YOU. WILL. BE. HOT.  It sounds silly, but now that I've accepted it as truth, I’m a much happier runner.  Sometimes, I get myself so mentally prepared to broil through a run, I wind up pleasantly surprised when a little cloud cover and a breeze result in a cooler-than-expected jaunt.
  • Ice, Ice, Baby.  I've become a HUGE  fan of the post-run ice bath.  I started doing this back in winter, to hasten leg recovery after a long run.  But now I’m doing it after short runs, too, just because it feels soooooo good.  Mind you, there’s no way to get water anyone would categorize as “cold” out of a Florida tap in late May, and the entire contents of my freezer’s ice maker melts in my tub within five minutes, but the resulting bath is cool enough to take the edge off, at least.
So that’s what I've learned about running hot so far.  I’m quite certain I’ll discover more along the way.  Meanwhile, let’s share – what’s your #1 hot-weather running tip?


  1. I'm from central Florida too, and my biggest tip is drinking lots of water!,

  2. Great post - I ran a 10k on Sat morning and felt like I was going to melt! I definitely need to heed some of your advice. Good luck with your summer training runs. PS come check out our giveaway. :)

  3. I have 3 tips...I do not do so well in heat so last year before my first half marathon I hit the "net" and tried every gizmo I could find. In the end here are the top 3 things I learned to beat the heat.
    1) Freeze a water bottle and drop it down into the back of your racer back bra/top. As the ice thaws you can poor it over your head or on a face cloth to tie around your neck.
    2) Hyper hydrate starting 3 days out. Drink so much water that your going to the bathroom every 2 hours and its clear/pale yellow.
    3) Nothing drops your core body temp as well as a "Slushy"!! If you can have someone mid race to hand you one great...but after finishing your run/race this will cool you down fast until you can get into your ice bath.
    I cringe at how much money I spent .. and in the end the cost of a slushy is all you really need! LOL