Six hot-weather training tips for runners

This guy will make your outdoor training a little tougher in the summer. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

Summer is rapidly approaching, and it’s a time when a lot of us are thinking about vacations, backyard cookouts and time at the pool.

But for the running crowd, it’s also an opportunity to take advantage of extra daylight hours to get in our miles.

One problem: The heat. Most places will begin seeing temperatures rise significantly within the next couple of weeks, and things really get cooking in July and August. Fun in the sun is great and all, but when you’re training, heat can wreck you. It can beat you and your workouts into submission, and if you’re not careful, cause serious health problems.

But if we only went out in perfect conditions, there is a good chance we’d achieve almost nothing. So my advice is to make peace with summer and learn a few things about hot-weather training to get by, at least until things cool off in the fall.

So here are six tips for training in the heat:

Hydrate. A lot. Before you go to bed, drink some water. When you get up, drink some more. And throughout the day, be drinking more water. Bring some with you (hand-held water bottle, hip belt or hydration pack) or be sure your route has drinking fountains available. Don’t wait till you crash to stop for a water break. Heat-related illnesses and dehydration are no joke. Is a gallon a day excessive? Not if it’s summer and you’re outside training.

Shade your face. A ball cap will help you keep a little shade on your face and direct sun off your head. If it’s a moisture-wicking cap, it will help you stay cool.

If you can, pick routes with trees. I love trail running, and many of my trails are in wooded areas. You’ll lose some of the breeze in the woods, but the shade will help keep you cooler.

Pace yourself. Your body will not be able to maintain the same intensity at 98 degrees as it does at 78 degrees or 58 degrees. But you will still be working hard, and that’s what you’re going for — putting in some hard work. Which leads me to the next point…

Watch your heart rate. Whether it’s just listening to your body or wearing a heart-rate monitor, those beats-per-minute will be very telling in terms of how hard your body is working. In the winter, you burn more calories because your body is trying hard to keep your core temperature up. But in the summer, it’s fighting — and losing — the battle to keep you cool. If your pulse is pounding in your temples at 180 bpm or more, maybe it’s time to slow down and walk a couple of blocks. No shame in that.

And finally, and this might go without saying, pick a cooler time of day to run. This means running pre-dawn or after sunset during the summer, but those hours will be cooler and easier to manage.

So there you have it. Use these ideas during the hot months. Or succumb to the treadmill. Your choice.

Bob Doucette

Summer is coming: Six tips for training in the heat

Summer is coming. (Wikipedia Commons photo)

Summer is coming. (Wikipedia Commons photo)

Don’t look now, but summer is just a little over a month away. Temperatures are already rising toward summer levels in some parts of the world. I’ve definitely noticed it on my runs, and have not acclimated yet.

Summer is a convenient time to shut it down for some people, particularly if you live in a Sunbelt state like me. It’s far easier to back off when it gets hot. But if you’re training for fall races, that’s just not possible. You’ve got to get out there and put in the work.

But higher temps hare hard on the body, and if you’re not careful bad things can happen if you push too hard. Summer will definitely push back.

So here are six tips for training in the heat:

  1. Hydrate. A lot. Before you go to bed, drink some water. When you get up, drink some more. And throughout the day running up to your workout, be drinking more water. Bring some with you (hand-held water bottle, hip belt or hydration pack) or be sure your route has drinking fountains available. Don’t wait till you crash to stop for a water break. Heat-related illnesses and dehydration are no joke. Is a gallon a day excessive? Not if it’s summer and you’re outside training.
  2. Shade your face. A ball cap will help you keep a little shade on your face and direct sun off your head. If it’s a moisture-wicking cap, it will help you stay cool.
  3. If you can, pick routes with trees. I love trail running, and many of my trails are in wooded areas. You’ll lose some of the breeze in the woods, but the shade will help keep you cooler.
  4. Pace yourself. Your body will not be able to maintain the same intensity at 98 degrees as it does at 78 degrees or 58 degrees. But you will still be working hard, and that’s what you’re going for — putting in some hard work. Which leads me to the next point…
  5. Watch your heart rate. Whether it’s just listening to your body or wearing a heart-rate monitor, those beats-per-minute will be very telling in terms of how hard your body is working. In the winter, you burn more calories because your body is trying hard to keep your core temperature up. But in the summer, it’s fighting — and losing — the battle to keep you cool. If your pulse is pounding in your temples at 180 bpm or more, maybe it’s time to slow down and walk a couple of blocks. No shame in that.
  6. And finally, and this might go without saying, pick a cooler time of day to run. This means running pre-dawn or after sunset during the summer, but those hours will be cooler and easier to manage.

So those are some ideas. Got any of your own? Feel free to share in the comments.

Bob Doucette

Summer is coming: Six tips for hot weather training and hiking

Summer is coming. (Wikipedia Commons photo)

Summer is coming. (Wikipedia Commons photo)

After what was a long and pretty cold winter, a bunch of us eagerly greeted the warmer temperatures of spring.

But here on the Southern Plains, it hasn’t taken long for summer to remind us of its approach. I’ve had a few runs where temperatures edged ever closer to 90 degrees. In the southwestern part of my home state, more than a few 100-degree days have been recorded.

This can make for some pretty uncomfortable hikes and downright miserable training conditions. And if you’re unprepared, high temps and strenuous activity can be dangerous.

But I also believe that training in harsh conditions can give you an extra gear of toughness that training in favorable conditions cannot.

This got me to thinking of a few things I’ve learned about training and exercising in the heat. So for what it’s worth, here goes:

1. Hydrate. A lot. Before you go to bed, drink some water. When you get up, drink some more. And throughout the day running up to your workout or big outing, be drinking more water. Bring some with you (hand-held water bottle, hip belt or hydration pack) or be sure your route has drinking fountains available. Don’t wait until you crash to stop for a water break. Heat-related illnesses and dehydration are no joke. Is a gallon a day excessive? Not if it’s summer and you’re outside working hard.

2. Shade your face. A ball cap or even a wide-rimmed hat will help you keep a little shade on your face and direct sun off your head. If it’s a moisture-wicking cap, it will help you stay cool.

3. If you can, pick routes/places with trees. I love trail running, and many of my trails are in wooded areas. You’ll lose some of the breeze in the woods, but the shade will help keep you cooler.

4. Pace yourself. Your body will not be able to maintain the same intensity at 98 degrees as it does at 78 degrees. But you will still be working hard, and that’s what you’re going for — putting in some hard work. Which leads me to the next point…

5. Watch your heart rate. Whether it’s just listening to your body or wearing a heart-rate monitor, those beats-per-minute will be very telling in terms of how hard your body is working. In the winter, you burn more calories because your body is trying hard to keep your core temperature up. But in the summer, it’s fighting — and losing — the battle to keep you cool. If your pulse is pounding in your temples at 180 bpm or more, maybe it’s time to slow down. No shame in that.

6. Take care of your skin. Got sunscreen? Use it. This is especially important on long hikes and anything near/on the water. SPF 30 or higher.

Those are a few ideas from me. What about you? Share your hot-weather training tips in the comments. I’d love to get some input.

Bob Doucette

Fitness: 5 tips for training in the heat

This guy will make your outdoor training a little tougher in the summer. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

This guy will make your outdoor training a little tougher in the summer. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

When I looked at the forecast, all I saw was “hot.”

We’ve had a pretty mild summer thus far in Oklahoma, way different from the past two years where we spent the better part of the season above 100 degrees, topping out at 114 (my hottest run was at 111). Not so much this year. Until this week.

Wednesday’s high: 102. The dog days are here, and will be for at least another 8 weeks.

From a training perspective, I look at it two ways: dread it or embrace the challenge.

I’m two weeks in to marathon training, and there is no getting away from logging more and more miles outside. I’m also a night shift worker, so those pre-dawn runs are out. That means tackling my training at, well, less than optimal times.

But I also believe that training in harsh conditions can give you an extra gear of toughness that training in favorable conditions cannot. So I planned out my post-lift run (a mere 5 miles) and looked forward to staring down the 97-degree temperature reading at the time. I will not be stopped!

The first half of the run went fine. The back half was tough. Even a little brutal. But it got done.

It did get me to thinking of a few things I’ve learned about training in the heat. So for what it’s worth, here goes:

1. Hydrate. A lot. Before you go to bed, drink some water. When you get up, drink some more. And throughout the day running up to your workout, be drinking more water. Bring some with you (hand-held water bottle, hip belt or hydration pack) or be sure your route has drinking fountains available. Don’t wait till you crash to stop for a water break. Heat-related illnesses and dehydration are no joke. Is a gallon a day excessive? Not if it’s summer and you’re outside training.

2. Shade your face. A ball cap will help you keep a little shade on your face and direct sun off your head. If it’s a moisture-wicking cap, it will help you stay cool.

3. If you can, pick routes with trees. I love trail running, and many of my trails are in wooded areas. You’ll lose the breeze in the woods, but the shade will help keep you cooler.

4. Pace yourself. Your body will not be able to maintain the same intensity at 98 degrees as it does at 78 degrees. But you will still be working hard, and that’s what you’re going for — putting in some hard work. Which leads me to the next point…

5. Watch your heart rate. Whether it’s just listening to your body or wearing a heart-rate monitor, those beats-per-minute will be very telling in terms of how hard your body is working. In the winter, you burn more calories because your body is trying hard to keep your core temperature up. But in the summer, it’s fighting — and losing — the battle to keep you cool. If your pulse is pounding in your temples at 180 bpm or more, maybe it’s time to slow down and walk a couple of blocks. No shame in that.

Those are a few ideas from me. What about you? Share your hot-weather training tips in the comments. I’d love to get some input.

Bob Doucette

On Twitter @RMHigh7088