Tuesday, June 3, 2008

beat the heat

while this post may not be for you people who live in heaven, it has been known to even get hot there, and with summer just around the corner i thought it would be appropriate to have a discussion on how to stay cool during the summer running season.

i must admit, i am scared out of my brain to run in the south. jona keeps telling me it will make me stronger, if i don't die first! my first plan of attack will be to keep a "cool head" and fix my mind set: it's just going to be hot ... deal with it!

i've found some great runnersworlds.com articles that i thought gave some great tips on keeping cool during the hot summer months. here are a few:
  • train early in the morning
  • cross-train indoors
  • do speedwork on a treadmill
  • ease in to the heat - Do a slow, two- to three-mile walk or very easy run at the hottest part of the day two times per week for three or four weeks to acclimatize to the heat. It makes the morning run feel cool.
  • hydrate! hydrate! hydrate! this should include an electrolyte drink to keep your sodium/potassium balances in line

and some more "practical" advice:

  • put ice cubes on top of a sponge on top of your head underneath your athletic hat
  • soak a baseball cap in water and put it in the fridge overnight before a morning run
  • lay a bandanna out in a diamond shape and place a row of ice cubes in a horizontal line, just below one tip of the bandanna, then roll it up "like a burrito," and tie it around your neck

all of this information and more great articles can be found here. so i'm dying to know, how do you stay cool during the hot months?

*an important side note: it's important to listen to your body while running in the heat. heat exhaustion (which can lead to heat stroke) is a serious risk when it's hot. symptoms of heat exhaustion can be found here.


  1. i've been thinking/worrying about this as well, as it was winter when we trained for the ogden marathon, and i HATE running in the heat, it just makes things so much harder. it was really hot at the end of the ogden marathon as well, and i really wasn't used to running in the heat, so i think there is something to be said about acclimating your body to the temperature.

    for now, my solution is to wake up early, 6 am, and run. wish me luck!

  2. If I were a running superhero, heat would be my nemisis. I sometimes image my cartoon character melting away in the sun and slithering into the asphalt. What really tends to happen in reality is that I don't drink enough because I feel like I constantly have a fish bowl stomach and then my stomach starts cramping and then we all know what happens after that. I would rather run in 32 degree weather than run in 75 degree heat.

    Of all the things there are to envy about NC, I don't envy you on this one. Jona is right, if you get through 1 summer of running, you will be a heat machine. Then, WHEN you move back to CA, you will be able to withstand all temperatures!

    I love the ice under the hat trick. That sounds awesome!

  3. The cold baseball cap idea practically gave me a brain freeze. I thought I didn't mind running in the heat until the 10k in Sacramento. I've changed my opinion. Although I think if I had had plenty of water it would have been a different story.

    Just think of it like training in the altitude. You'll kick butt when you come to SF in October!

  4. Well I survived the NC heat wave last year and I'll see if I can do it again this year!

    The main thing for me was to 'up' my fluid intake. During the winter I would drink 4 oz. of water or gatorade every 20-30 minutes. But for the summer I will be drinking every 15 minutes. Of course I'm the sweatiest runner EVER...just call me sweaty betty!...so you'll need experiment with what will work for you. Don't you love it when running becomes a science experiment!

    Also....sunscreen....sunscreen! In my opinion Bull Frog is the best. It kept me a toasty brown all summer and prevented me from turning into a burnt black bean!

  5. I'm scared about this too - I get so red and sweaty and overheat anyway, I can't imagine temperature heat on top of that. One thing I know I need to do is get a good pair of sunglasses because I get instant headaches from the sun beating down on me. Any suggestions? I don't love the idea of running with glasses but I already know that running in the heat will just be compounded by the sensitivity to the brightness too.

  6. morgan: early is definitely my solution for now as well. unfortunately, cary i think will be hot ALL the time so acclimating will next on the list.

    kaylynn: i'm suddenly imagining gazelles and mountain lions or something from the triathlon a few years back. we ARE superheroes!

    molly: so how did you do in sacramento? did you find you drank a ton more?

    lisa: SUNSCREEN is genius - though i do love a good tan. when you're out for a long while, i'm certain you can probably do sunscreen and get a good tan, not burn!

    lisamarie: i have a really hard time with sunglasses. sunglasses really mess with my depth perception with the floor. i'm a hat/visor girl myself and i do find it keeps the sun out of my eyes. but man, with your heachaches you might want to find a good pair of sunglasses. click here for a good article on running sunglasses. good luck and let me know what you decide!

  7. That was the problem. I didn't bother bringing my own water since it was "just a 10k" and I knew they'd have water stops. That was SO stupid! They had 2 water stops in the first 2 miles and then nothing until after mile 5. I know it doesn't sound that far, but it was so hot that I would have prefered to be drinking a sip or water every 5 minutes or so.

  8. yes, i think we've all made that mistake. i do that on just 5ks!! :) it's amazing how much your body's hydration needs change with everything - heat, diet, humidity, etc.