Tips for Hot Weather Running
It’s August. The heat and humidity will likely hang around a bit longer, yet you don’t want to stop training. So how should you cope?
One of the greatest things this sport has given me is the ability to train all over the world and in different conditions. Running at Iona was a privilege, it took me all over the U.S. and created bonds with my international teammates. My school was in New York, my family moved to South Carolina, and my body was agitated. Running in the Northeast is a polar opposite experience to the south. Granted there is still high humidity in Westchester County in the summer months, but at least it fades out before winter hits (which also presents its own challenges). Year-round in South Carolina is sticky and humid. I would go from a tank-top, shorts, and water supplements for Christmas in Charleston, back to three layers, gloves, and freezing temperatures in New York. It takes time for your body to adjust and adapt to the changes in the air and how that affects breathing and body temperature. It’s tough to work fast-twitch muscles when it’s cold and the air is dry, but also when it's thick with humid, and that is compounded when you jump back and forth between the two. You’re dressing in different materials and replenishing from different effects. If there’s one thing I’ve learned through competitively training the last 8 years, it's how to adjust to the weather I’m in. Lucky for us, the heat and humidity will be here for a while longer. So here are some quick tips to help get you through the heat of summer training.
1. Shoes Shoes Shoes: Of course a necessity, but so many people are running in shoes that might not make them the best runner they can be, making any season tougher. I’ve learned a lot through working in the retail side of this sport - there are three basic types of shoes you could go for: lightweight, neutral, or stabile, with each having additional sub-levels. If you aren’t running a lot, want to feel a little bounce, are doing quicker runs/reps, or are simply just starting out with no known foot issues, you will likely want a light shoe (God bless). Brooks Launch, New Balance Beacon, Adidas Boston, and Hoka Cavu are all fantastic options.
Neutral shoes are also great for beginners, but offer more support and cushion in the arch and heel. They are durable enough to tack on plenty of miles, multiplied further by an insert - these puppies can handle a lot. Brooks Ghost, New Balance 880, Mizuno Wave Rider, and Asics Nimbus are great examples of neutral and durable.
Stability shoes are firm to give you necessary arch and heel support, which can help with pronation, plantar fasciitis, and other conditions. The Asics Kayano, Saucony Liberty, and Adidas Solar Glide ST are all great options in this category.
2. Material Matters: The type of clothing you are wearing is super important, especially in a high-humidity setting like Washington, DC. Whatever you do, stay away from cotton. Usually things that are soft become heavy when they collect sweat, weighing you down. You’ll want to reach for performance material apparel, similar to a racing singlet. Singlets are made from breathable material to help runners stay cool and prevent sweat buildup. Here is a great example.
3. Take Every Day with a Grain of Salt: What you fuel yourself with is just as important as how you train. Adjusting your nutrition to hot and humid weather is key. Electrolytes and salt are important during and after summertime training to replace what your body loses when you sweat. Stay away from Gatorade and overly sugary drinks that can do more harm than good. Nuun tablets are great to add to your water bottle for cycling or for after a training run; they hydrate better than water and are extremely low in sugar.
If you prefer to chew your nutrition, SaltStick and Clif Shot Bloks (margarita flavor has extra sodium!) are great options for electrolyte replacement. For longer runs, GU Energy Gel (Birthday Cake is my personal favorite!) is wonderful.
Also, don’t forget to regularly supplement your diet with iron-rich foods (spinach, quinoa, red meat, raisins). Iron deficiency can look like dehydration, but with more serious effects. Luckily, when you head to Poland and Iceland, the weather will be more in your favor, yet electrolyte replacement options such as the Nuun tablets are great all year long, are easy to pack, and remain helpful in various conditions for proper recovery.
4. Mind Over Matter: You’re already a stud for getting out there in this weather to better yourself. But some days are going to be harder than others; you may not be able to run at the time of day you like or you might not feel as good as you were expecting in a certain workout. The humidity can really take a toll on your body so it’s normal to feel depleted from time to time. When those days come, I recommend just getting out there and not focusing on the intensity of your workout. By doing so, you are strengthening and conditioning your body. You are increasing your heat tolerance and reinforcing positive habits. So find a buddy, make a playlist, or join a social run/bike/swim group to overcome it with other hearty souls!
I hope these tips help strengthen your summer training! To show off your summer fitness and hard work, join our upcoming Open World Racing trip to run in Krakow’s Royal Half Marathon. You’ll cut right through the the cool autumn air, which will feel like a gift after training in the humidity. Check out our trip details page for more info. And if you’re busy this fall, subscribe to our newsletter for future trip announcements and to stay in the know on all things Open World Racing!