Surviving The Heat
I've always found it tougher running in Summer and that was even when I lived in Victoria! When I arrived in Queensland 2 days after Christmas and started running..I honestly thought I was going to die..I thought I'd never be able to run past 10km's again..however..I persevered and I did, but it was hard. My second Summer wasn't so bad but I did feel it very draining trying to run long distances, especially when the humidity was high. Here are some ideas to help keep you running over Summer.
1. Decrease your distances- If you are not training for anything, and most of us are not because running events are scarce between now and next March,there is no need to be running much more than 10kms when you go for a run. You will still maintain your fitness levels running shorter distances, because you work harder in the heat and as long as you are running about 45mins that is plenty to keep your cardio fitness levels up
2. Pick your distances on the day- a couple of weeks ago a beach run in Coolum left us all pretty hot, bothered and buggered..it was a particularly warm morning..so we all decided to run together and kept our distances down to about 7 or 8km. The following weekend it had cooled off considerably so that was the ideal day to run a bit further and push a bit harder. If it is unbearably hot when you start make a desicion to run a shorter distance, only run the longer ones when the weather is more to your liking.
3. DRINK...DRINK..DRINK- I cannot go on about this enough..if is hot, we are sweating more and we need to replace fluids before we get dehydrated. The best way to do this is the day before..if you know you are doing a long run drink plenty the day before, make it a double up drink day.Do have a drink before you run but also drink plenty after you run. It is a horrible feeling to be dehydrated..so don't let yourself get to that point.
4. Sports Drinks..I had never drank a sports drink until I came to Queensland..even when I was training for marathons, I never felt I needed it. However, I felt so drained running in the humidity up here that I started having one before a long run or after, usually I watered it down and ended up drinking two bottles. It made such a difference to how I felt..if you are a real sweater like me, then you lose more than water through your skin..salts, minerals and eloctrolytes get depleted when you sweat profusely..those drinks are often a perfect balance and do replace a lot of what is lost and I really do feel they work for me. However, you do not need them any other time as they are full of sugar and can be fattening.
5. If the running in Summer is really leaving you dead, try adding in another cross training activity..why not shorten your run to 5 km and then jump in the pool or sea afterwards and swim for half an hour. You will still be doing an hours workout and reducing the heat factor as well.
6. This is definitely not for me..however, a lot of runners take their running inside over Summer, they like to run on the treadmills in air conditioned gyms or in their homes, if this is your thing, go for it.
7. Get out of the sun..I often feel like stopping my car and telling those crazy runners that are running along the Parade in the blistering midday heat to get out of the sun. Running at that time of the day is pure madness, and to make matters worse they often have no hat on and the guys have the shirts off, they are just asking for heatstroke...in Summer I go by the formula, if I haven't completed my run by 7am , then it aint gonna happen for that day. However, by 5pm the sting has gone out of the sun and that is not a bad time to run either, but definately not between about 10am and 4pm.