Over the past couple of weeks I have run in weather that has ranged from 30F up to over 80F, from dry to very humid conditions, from sunny to cloudy to rainy, and I was reminded of the differences we need to make as the heat rolls in. Some folks in the southwest have been seeing temps in the 90s for a while, and as I was chatting with Laura about my guest post she noted that her weather (North Dakota) had jumped from ‘arctic tundra’ to ‘tropical’.
I was planning one of these ‘adjusting to summer running’ posts, but this past week two other posts specifically inspired me – Brianna from IRunHeTris guest posting on ‘beating the heat’ at Southern Running, and one on chafing from RunBlogger. Check those posts out, and let’s get to the summer tips!
OK, so everyone knows that you need to hydrate properly all year long, yeah yeah yeah. But for me where it really hits is the summer. My dehydration rate definitely accelerates as a function of temperature. So once it gets above 60F and I am running more than 10 miles, I absolutely need a nice big water bottle. I’m sure many of you are saying ‘wait, only THEN’. Yes, I know – but up to that point I find chugging plenty of water before and after works for me.
Bottom line – you never know what might happen when you are out there, so always do yourself a favor and carry water. When it is really hot, having a water bottle is a safety element just like carrying your phone.
Also – remember that it IS possible to over-do it with hydration (hyponatraemia), where your electrolyte balance gets messed up and you are essentially drowning your cells. That is where a sports drink can help.
2. Sunscreen, Sunglasses & Hats
Because skin cancer is SO not cool! 🙂
UV light is strongest during the summer months, and also between 10AM – 4PM … so if you need to go out running during those hours in particular, make sure to protect yourself.
Get yourself some ‘sport’ sunscreen (waterproof), a running hat (and yes, it DOES feel hot) and some UV filtering sunglasses to protect your eyes. It only takes a minutes to apply the sunscreen, and the benefits are really important in the long run.
3. Rules of the Road
This past weekend I saw a number of runners (8-10, which for my area is a ton) during my long airport loop run. Some of them were doing everything right, others were running on the wrong side of the road, or side by side and forcing cars to work around them, crossing dangerously with earphones on and more.
It all made me cringe.
Add to this the number of bikers, walkers, motorcycles, and more that start making appearance this time of year and being proactive about safety is even more important than ever.
So learn the rules of the road in your area, and practice active safety. Don’t assume that drivers will see you. Glare is always an issue, more people are on vacation, riding with friends, and other distractions during the summer. In our area in the last week we’ve had three accidents due to cars driving into oncoming traffic, which is a reminder of the crazy dangerous things that can happen.
There is no ‘100% safe’, but we can all work to make things as safe as possible while we are on our runs.
4. Sweat = Good
Here’s the thing, sweating is your body’s way of temperature regulation – and if your body loses control of THAT, all sorts of funky things happen, none of which are good.
The recommendation is that if the temperature is above 98.6 with humidity above 80% … do NOT run outside. Because at that point your body is no longer able to efficiently deal with the heat, so adding exercise to the equation gets dangerous.
But aside from pure temperature considerations, if it is warm you should be sweating all the time. If you are no longer sweating, or getting chills, feeling light-headed, or otherwise ‘not right’ – there is a good chance you are over-heating and dehydrated (or perhaps even over-hydrated). Get out of the sun, stop moving, call someone if you can (better to be embarrassed than in serious physical distress) and drink if you need it.
5. Ease Up on the Pace
Michele wrote about ‘slow as a feeling’ last week, and guess what? When it gets hot you SHOULD slow down. Evidently the effort required to sustain the same pace goes up non-linearly at higher temperatures and humidity.
My approach? Switch my Garmin to display just the time of day or heart rate, so I am tracking but not pushing to maintain pace. This is a definite place where ‘effort based running’ is advantageous. Naturally if you are training for a race you know will be really hot then some of your runs should push the pace in the heat – but in general, don’t feel bad easing up on the pace when it is 90 degrees outside!
Here is the reality: the worst ‘running injury’ I have sustained is bleeding nipples from chafing. TMI? Sorry, not sorry – this IS a running-related blog after all! I’ll spare you the bloody shirt pictures, but trust me that it is no fun.
Well, actually it is discovering just how badly chafed up you are as you hop into the showed that is that great moment of searing pain!
Last fall I discovered that the new band of band-aid (the real rather than generic) I was using lacked the proper adhesive to hold up to the heat and humidity of the Wineglass Marathon, and had to stop for more at an aid station! Crisis averted!
I am lucky to not have severe chafing otherwise, but trust me – Body Glide is your friend for a marathon. #mamaSalt gave a shout-out to Suz for advising her to use it for her first marathon.
Let’s put it this way – unless you are allergic, over-preparing for chafing won’t hurt.
Bonus: Check out this cool Nike running video from 1982!
This is a link from RunBlogger from months ago that has been sitting in one of my drafts. I always find it fun looking back at old commercials I grew up with, and while I wasn’t into running back then so this doesn’t register, it has that great ‘classic era’ feel:
What Summer Running Tips Do YOU Have? Weekend Plans?
98.6! Ha! I wouldn’t leave my house in that heat let alone run. Clearly from the whining I’ve already done on my blog, I am NOT a warm weather person! No extra advice, except hydrate throughout the day and not just during/after running in warmer weather and yes, go slow!
haha – I was definitely thinking of you and Laura and Megan (Megan was complaining about ‘too hot’ when I was still dressed in layers). Part of any running situation is NOT to just ‘tough it out’, but rather to be smart and listen to your body. If you are not a warm weather person, GO WITH THAT! Your body is trying to say something, like with everything else, we just need to listen. And what one person can handle is different from what others can do.
I had my first chafing experience this week – so not fun! I definitely understand now what people have been talking about! And, like winter, it’s been so hot here I’m running inside again! Apparently I get about a month or two in NoDak when I can run outside. Ugh
I couldn’t believe when we were emailing and it was cool here and SO HOT out there! Nuts. And chafing … yeah, sucks!
Like you said before, apparently there is a reason ‘treadmill’ is in your blog name … 🙂
I was staying at my best friend’s parents’ last weekend and showered in their guest bathroom after the half. It took every ounce of control I had not to scream bloody murder. Small spot, less than an inch long, about an inch below my collarbone had somehow chafed from a sports bra strap. No seam there, not a new piece of clothing, not somewhere than has ever bothered me before, and this was only a half, so it made no sense. I tried to imagine how embarrassed I’d be if they all broke down the bathroom door thinking I was being brutally murdered. Goodness it hurt though!
haha – funny but NOT funny … that moment the water hits, you’re right it is ‘scream bloody murder’ time!
I remember the first time wearing my old running belt it had a cord that was weirdly positioned and chafed me (cut it off after that!), same with first heart-rate monitor (Polar) … but as we discussed before, running bras complicate HRM even more for women! I am loving the new one Garmin sent – great strap with no chafing!
Thanks for all of the great tips. I think a lot of us forget how important it is to slow down in the heat. We can get so focused on paces. You just can’t do that in those summer temps!
I really hadn’t thought about that until I read about it a year or two ago, now it is something I always remember. I know I’m lucky to be having actual spring weather now, but for many who have jumped deep into the heat this is really important!
I’d have to agree with all your summer running tips especially using sun screen! I have definitely been a huge fan of it lately.
So true – I never did, but I find my face in particular was getting very tanned from just a few spring runs … dangerous!
I’ve loaded up on body glide for the summer — some in my gym bag, my carry on bag, my running backpack, my bathroom vanity. And then, of course, I forgot to out some on the other day despite my stash. I paid for it in the shower, like you mentioned. Not fun.
Sorry … not laughing, I promise … ouch!
Eh, it’s ok for you to laugh at me. I do 🙂
haha … me too! I think the sign of maturity is getting over yourself … or maybe that is the only sign I’m showing 😉
It is so important to know how to stay cool as well as to know the warning signs for heat exhaustion, heat stroke, etc. Looking back on some horse shows I did, I was an absolute idiot for competing in certain conditions, but now that I know better, I pay a lot of attention to it. And something that a lot of people don’t realize is that beyond protecting your skin from the sun, sunscreen also helps your body stay cool! Even more reason to slather the white stuff on.
Cool tips! Thanks! I remember two years ago doing a long evening run in heat and humidity after a day with a long walk and yard work where I was probably dehydrated at the start … I was in super-rough shape at the end. Now I am SO careful, and you are right that it is important to learn what happens to US when we start to dehydrate – knowing as early as possible is critical.
Thanks for the link up! I always feel terrible for people when their nipples are bleeding through their shirts. Definitely NOT TMI… a major issue that MUST be addressed!
I discovered chafed nipples on a cold rainy day in December with a slightly loose shirt that was soaked and bouncing across my chest. Showers for the next week sucked. I tried Nip Guards, they work just fine but are a bit expensive and ever so slightly visible through a tight singlet. Then I found NipEaze, inexpensive (maybe $0.15 for a pair iirc) and invisible. Any run over 45-60 minutes and I use those, including the marathon. For hairy chests, NipEaze are really good because you can choose a size that matches your own personal hairless diameter.
Yep, showers are a blast! Ugh! I use generic band-aids from Target, but that also requires me to do some shaving, especially in the humidity. But it is all well worth it because of … showers.
Pingback: Weekly Faves 6/5/14 | Running Southern