Running in the heat takes A LOT out of your body—quite literally if we are talking about fluids. Often times, runners fail to take into account how much heat and humidity can affect running performance. This year’s Boston Marathon was a perfect example of how much heat can impact running and racing performance.
Last summer my coach provided us with a really cool calculator of just how much running in the heat affect’s your race pace. Consider this: if you typically run a 30:00 minute 5k at 60 degrees, simply by raising the temperature to 80 degrees, you are going to add almost a minute onto your finishing time!
What can you do to help yourself beat the heat!
- Stay hydrated! Make sure you are taking in enough fluids throughout the day, not just during exercise. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to start sipping! When you run for longer periods of time, make sure you are replacing electrolytes by drinking a sports drink like Gatorade, Nuun, or GU Brew.
- Run in the early morning hours or in the evening. Early morning is actually the best. Over the course of the day, road surfaces heat up and maintain that heat through the evening hours.
- Wear light colored clothing that is made of synthetic, wicking fabrics.
- If it’s an option, choose a route that it is shaded or partially shaded.
- Bring extra water to dump on your head or splash yourself with–I do this every time I run the Falmouth Road Race!
- If there is a heat advisory, or if the heat is just too unbearable for you, run inside on the treadmill in the air conditioning (I do this a lot in the summer here).
- Always make sure you are listening to your body. If you start to feel dizzy, nauseous, or lightheaded, STOP immediately.