Beat the Heat: Summer Training Tips

If you missed my announcement Monday about shutting down Noshing on Asphalt, please make sure to check it out. Thank you for all of the sweet comments, I promise I will respond to them soon.

Now onto today’s post. Summer is officially here in Mississippi. There’s no denying it anymore. Mother Nature has parked her big, hot hiney right on South Mississippi and I don’t think she’s planning on moving it until November. I went for a run Monday evening and it was 87* but had a heat index of 94*.

weather

Honestly, I really shouldn’t complain because those temps are mild compared to late July and August where it’s not abnormal for the heat index to soar into the 110* range. But I’m a big baby and hate heat so, doggonit, I’m going to complain! Give me temps in the 30-40* range any day.

This time last year I was freaking out preparing to start training for my first marathon. It’s hard for me to believe that I’ll be training for marathon #3 soon. (3 marathons in a year? I think I might be hooked…) This means another brutal summer full of trainings. Luckily, I learned some things last year so I don’t feel quite like the training novice.

Tips to Not Dying During Summer Training:

1.) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!! Sorry for the repetition, but I really can’t stress this enough. During hot summer sweat sessions, you can lose anywhere from 2-5lbs just from sweating. This is bad. Your body needs fluids and electrolytes to function properly.  There are plenty of hydration options out there like Camelbaks (my favorite), hand held bottles, belts, or just old fashioned water stops.

Loooooooooove my Camelbak!

Loooooooooove my Camelbak!

2.) Replenish your electrolytes. Because you sweat so much (see #1) you are also losing valuable electrolytes that help regulate your body and muscle functions. Water is great to keep yourself hydrated but it doesn’t do anything to replenish your electrolytes. For longer runs, 10+ miles plan on consuming at least one sports drink. This can be Cytomax (my fav), NUUN, gatorade, etc. A few of my friends use salt tabs during their training runs; I’ve never tried them.

It's good to have options.  I don't care that it's neither clean nor paleo. I drink it once a week and it keeps me alive.

It’s good to have options.
I don’t care that it’s neither clean nor paleo. I drink it once a week and it keeps me alive.

3.) Fuel.  Gels are a great way to make sure you’re taking care of tip #2. There’s all sorts of different gels and chews out there (my fav are Huma and Honey Stingers) so feel free to experiment with the ones that work best for you. The amount of fuel you consume is totally up to you.

Ready to Rock-n-Roll 26.2 miles fueled by ch-ch-chia!

Love this stuff!

4.) Run early.  This is the coolest (HA!) part of the day so take advantage of it. It wasn’t abnormal for me to meet my training partners last year at 4:30am. We may or may not have looked like the running dead for the first mile.

5.) Keep it loose and light.  I’m talking clothing here. It’s tempting to wear tight tanks and shorts for optimal movement but the looser fitting clothes actually keep you much better ventilated.  Light colored clothes are preferred.

download

Taken last summer. Yes I look like a dork, and yes, I’m drenched in sweat.

6.) Protect yourself.  Unless you want skin cancer when you’re 50, make sure to slather on the SPF. The higher the SPF, the better. Just make sure you get a sport version otherwise you’ll be feeling the burn from it melting off your face into your eyes. Also, wearing a visor to keep the sun directly off of your face.

7.) Slow down.  It’s ok to run slower during summer long runs. Most training plans recommend slowing your pace as much as 30 second – 1 minute per mile. It doesn’t mean that you’re turning into a turtle; it just means you’re being safe. Use your short weekday runs to do speed work.

8.) Plan your route.  Take a few minutes to plan your route before running. Try to choose shady routes, neighborhoods (hello sprinklers!)  and loops if at all possible. Loops allow you to stop at your car to refuel, stretch, etc… They can also be a godsend if you need to cut your run short because you feel off.

Which brings me to my final point:

9.) Listen to your body.  If you feel in any way ‘off’ stop immediately. It’s tempting to try to push through but you may be experiencing the first signs of heat distress. Remember, you want to get to your race alive.

So there you have it.  My tips to not dying this summer.  Don’t forget that today’s National Running Day!! I’ll be meeting my favorite running girls later tonight to log some hot and sweaty miles – what are you doing?

Question:  What tips do you have for summer training?

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20 thoughts on “Beat the Heat: Summer Training Tips

  1. Thanks for the tips- I live in South Carolina and we have the same type of heat here… hot, humid, muggy, for 4-5 months out of the year! I have not heard of cytomax but I think I may look into that and try it. My 10 miler on Saturday wiped me out for the rest of the day and normally I can run 10 miles fairly easily. Plus I’m training for a full soon, so I really needed this advice!

    • How exciting, Amy! What marathon are you training for? I love Cytomax but feel the need to give you a heads-up that one of my running girls said it tastes like soap to her. Academy sells single servings if you want to test it before buying the container.

      The other reason I like Cytomax better than NUUN during longs runs is because it has calories in it. One of my biggest headaches with marathon training/long runs was starting my day with a 2,000 calorie deficit. I found it incredibly hard to eat 4,000 {quality} calories on my long run days. Being a small framed person yourself, hopefully you understand. Good luck this summer; I can’t wait to check in on your training updates!

  2. These tips are perfect! Last summer thanks to my work schedule I had to run at the hottest part of the day. It was rough! But I definitely followed a lot of these tips!

  3. Thanks for the awesome tips! Yup it is getting unbearable down here. Last night I was running and the tops of my hands were sweaty…that is new one. You know it’s hot & humid when that happens. I seriously need to look into a camelbak!

    Thanks for stressing the listen to your body and slow down points. I look at my Garmin on my runs and I get grumpy because my pace is off my like 30 secs–I need constant reminding that I won’t be setting any PRs in this heat & humidity.

    • Sweaty fingertips was the one that surprised me. Seriously, fingertips sweat?? Apparently so.

      I definitely recommend Camelbaks but I know some people hate them. I can’t stand running with a bottle because 1) it feels like it weighs a ton, 2) I’m constantly shifting hands, and 3) I just plain dislike it. Hydration belts seem clunky and they really don’t carry enough water for us sweaty southern gals.

  4. Well its officially June gloom here on the west coast! Good bye beautiful spring sunny days and WINDY days, hello overcast and fog through August… Wanna mix the climates for perfect weather?

  5. Great tips, Gina! It will be warm in NYC, but nothing compared to the Mississippi temperatures. And I’m totally with you on the cooler temps–I’ll take 45 degrees any day!

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