After nearly a decade-long relationship with running, I’ve finally signed up for my first half marathon. The training plan I’ve been sticking with isn’t so daunting (running 3-5 miles daily during the week with varying speeds, cross training, and one long run over the weekend) as I usually average 10-20 miles per week on a regular basis, but because the race is in September, I now face the obstacle of running during the end of summer, which, on the east coast, also means running in the dead heat of summer. With the onslaught of sweltering hot July and August temperatures, I’m finding even a three-mile run a daunting task, so to keep myself on track, I’ve learned a few easy tips to keep in mind when bearing the heat. Here are a few below:
1. The early bird gets the worm . . . and so does the late one. The best way to enjoy your run is to get it in before the sun knows you’re out or to trail after it, post-sunset.
2. Embrace your inner hamster. Though I wouldn’t normally condone it as I find it quite dull, hopping on the treadmill is the best way to run sans heat and in full air-conditioned glory.
3. Hydrate. Water = life. Be sure to consume plenty of water prior to your run, preferably hours before rather than five minutes before.
4. Slow and steady. In extreme heat, it’s perfectly okay to run at a slower pace than you normally would during the fall, winter, or spring. Your body needs time to adjust to the temperature and slow down heart rate, and as the temperatures begin to drop, you’ll notice you’ll be able to pick up the pace for the same distances you’d been running during the summer with no trouble.
5. Sun protection. This is obvious. Wear sunscreen.
6. The less clothing, the better (and if possible, the more moisture wicking, the better).