Running in the summer SUCKS. A lot of local runners switch to triathlons during the unbearable heat and others just drop of their running considerably. They’ll pick back up to in early fall to train for local marathons and ultras, but over the summer? They’re just keeping a 20-30 mile/week base which means a 6-10 mile long run on the weekend peppered with several 4+ mile runs during the week.
I did 43 miles last week and 50 the week before that.
I’m not doing it because I love training in hell, I’m doing it because my 50-mile training plan had me start several weeks ago. In other words? I HAVE NO CHOICE. And since I don’t…here are some of the things I’ve learned along the way.
- Hydrate EVERY DAY. Especially the day before a long run. I’m still not great at this – (Diet Coke is not the best hydration fluid.) (Neither is beer.) – but when I really try to get more (meaning SOME) water in me the day before a long run? I feel much better on that run itself.
- Salt/Electrolyte supplements. I use Endurolytes but everyone has their preference. I have some friends who use salt stick. Electrolytes will prevent cramps AND keep you from sweating out all of your water the second you take it in. I sweat SO MUCH and I’m not normally a sweater. (HEE. I’m not a cardigan either. DO YOU GET IT? HA!) This prevents you from suffering from heat exhaustion. (Signs: goose bumps, headache, dizziness, nausea/vomiting, decreased coordination, and skin that is cool, moist, and flushed.) I take 2 pills before a run and 1 or 2 every 45 minutes to an hour along the way.
- Run early. Or Late, but early is best. Early morning is the coolest time of the day. Before the sun comes up. Make this time of day your friend because your body will thank you for it. Night is better than the middle of the day, but morning is best of all.
- DO NOT STRESS OUT ABOUT YOUR PACE/SPEED. If you’ve never run in heat it will shock you how much slower you are. You will get depressed. DO NOT GET DEPRESSED. You need to slow down in the heat to keep from suffering from heat exhaustion. Everyone slows down in the heat. My “fast” pace is almost a whole minute slower in the heat and my “easy” pace is almost two minutes slower. Just don’t think about it. Run for your miles, and don’t worry about time.
- Hydrate during your run. My running group makes sure to set up aid on long runs with cold water and Gatorade. Some people put oranges in the ice-filled coolers and cold oranges on a long run? ARE THE MOST AMAZING THING EVER. If we can’t do that I run with my water pack with ice in it. You can get TOO MUCH water, believe it or not, so try to just listen to your body. Drink when you’re thirsty. Not just because you’re hot. The general rule of thumb is 6 ounces of liquid for every 15 minutes of activity. But that’s just a guideline, don’t feel like more/less will hurt you. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.
- Do NOT wear cotton! Wear actual running gear – the kind that wicks moisture away from your skin. You will soak through a cotton shirt after 10 minutes in the sun and then you’ll have to carry that thing with you THE REST OF THE TIME. WICKable clothing is your friend. LICKable clothing is not. Don’t get the two mixed up.
- Beware Chaffing. My chaffing issues have changed dramatically in the heat. I sweat more which makes my clothing wet which means I’m chaffing in many more places. The weirdest spot for me is on the underside of my upper arms where I rub my arms when I run. Running in short-sleeve shirts instead of tanks helped for the most part but last weekend I still chaffed so bad I had to wrap my arms in bandages to sleep. There was also a nice outline of my bra on my body because I wore the older bra which moves a little more since it’s aged and it rubbed an outline of raw skin over my upper-body. IT WAS AWESOME. (And Sexy!) Wear your best and most test clothing on a long run.
- Bandana/Rag to wipe your face. When I remember, I tie this around my hip-pouch. (IT’S NOT A FANNY PACK.) Or sometimes around my wrist. When I forget? I’m always miserable. Because, since wicking clothing doesn’t absorb water, it’s USELESS to wipe the sweat off your face. You’ll want something that actually absorbs water for your face. Especially if you’re taking extra electrolytes because your sweat will be SO SALTY and it will BURN YOUR EYES. I tell you this from experience. It’s really hard to keep going when your eyes are on fire. Trust me.
- Cold/Iced Rags for AFTER the run. Keep the wet/cold rags in a cooler of ice in your car. When you’re done running, put one on your head, over your face, under your bra…you get the picture. IT WILL BE AMAZING.
- Replenish! Replenish! Replenish! While you’re icing your boobs, make sure you put fluids back in your body or you’ll get a raging dehydration headache later. TRUST ME AGAIN. Let my hard-learned lessons teach YOU. You need to keep hydrating even after you’re done running.
Do you have any tips you’ve learned?
8 thoughts on “Running Through The Fires Of Hell”
Ooooh. I like your bandana idea. I will try it. And funny you mentioned heat exhaustion and goose bumps. When I ran on the weekend right near the end that happened to me. I just thought I was going crazy 🙂
Also – so with you on the early runs. My runs at are 4:40 am – we’ve been hitting record high temperature here, but super early it’s not bad at all.
Oh, this is super informative! This is the first summer I’m doing most of my runs outside instead of on a treadmill. I am definitely a major sweater, so the salt/electrolyte tabs are definitely something I should look into. Bringing a bandana to wipe sweat is a great idea… I usually just use my shirt, but after a mile or two it is so soaked that it doesn’t do much of anything.
When I ran this morning it was 82 and 90% humidity. Hot! I am so glad about the heat & pace issue. I WAS stressing and WAS depressed that my time per mile had increased by a minute or more. Today I was barely able to hang on to finish my run and Saturday I had to actually walk to finish. It was slow and it was ugly! I was thinking maybe I had done something wrong. Ran too many miles? Ha! It was a whopping 20 last week— thanks for your tweet of encouragement about that, by the way. 🙂
Yes to everything you said, Kim! I also swear by BodyGlide for the chafing. I’ve trained for fall halfs and marathons all through the swampy disgusting sticky hotness of a DC summer, and without BodyGlide, the band of my sports bra under my boobs and sometimes my arms would chafe to a bloody pulp. Some generous swipes of BodyGlide in those areas, and I never had a problem, even being out for 2-3 hours on the most humid, sticky days. I also run mostly in T-shirts, as opposed to sleeveless ones, both for more sun coverage and for chafing.
Im a newbie runner but i ran my first half marathon a few weeks ago and later in that day my legs were like cement. My friend said to try an ice bath? Have you ever done this after your long runs? Do you just take a bag of ice and dump it in cold water and sit in it? Honestly it sounds painful to me.
I got up at 5:30 to run this morning (and I am NOT a morning person!) but the alternative of running after work is just not possible when it’s a bajillon degrees here. And I never thought I was much of a sweater until I started running this summer 🙂
I totally second the BodyGlide!!! I use it on my upper arms, in the area under my bra band and inner thighs. I also coat my feet. And I’ve been there with the badly chafed upper arms and had to do the ace bandage wrap so I didn’t have to walk around with my arms sticking out away from my body. Have had success with the BG for full and half training and races. Good stuff.
The one seemingly non-running piece of equipment I swear by is my shoe dryer. I got it a few years ago when I had to train during the summer months for a fall half marathon and my shoes weren’t drying out between daily runs. I found one on Amazon for less than $50 and I swear it helps my shoes last longer.